Newspaper article The Canadian Press

How Fish May Reduce Your Child's Breast Cancer Risk

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

How Fish May Reduce Your Child's Breast Cancer Risk

Article excerpt

How fish may reduce your child's breast cancer risk

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This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

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Authors: David W.L. Ma, Professor of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph and Jessie Burns, PhD Candidate in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph

Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in plant and seafood sources. If you don't have high enough levels of omega-3s in your diet, it's a leading risk factor for death globally, contributing to the development of chronic diseases like cancer.

A healthy diet can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer. This has led to great interest in the role of omega-3 fatty acids -- especially in the prevention of breast cancer.

In experimental studies, it has been shown that omega-3 fatty acids during early years of growth and development may play a role in reducing breast cancer risk later in life.

But not all omega-3s are created equal.

Seafood sources eight times more potent

Structurally, omega-3 fatty acids found in plants and seafood are different molecules.

Much of our research to date suggests that the benefits of omega-3 fats can be attributed to those found in seafood including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In contrast, omega-3 fatty acids in plants such as flax and canola containing alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) are thought to be less potent.

But scientists have never been sure exactly how much more potent seafood omega-3s are -- until recently, when our team at the University of Guelph helped to shed light on this question.

We conducted a study in mice that compared the impacts of ALA versus EPA+DHA on tumour development. The results show that both were beneficial in altering mammary gland development to decrease the risk of developing breast cancer. They also decreased tumour size and multiplicity following the onset of breast cancer.

The study shows EPA+DHA to be eight times more potent than ALA, however. …

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