A diet rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 85 percent, suggests a new study from Japan.
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (Vol. 15, pp.1791–1798).
But one area in which the evidence is controversial is the fatty acid's role in reducing the risk of cancer.
How the study was done
The new research investigated the link between the fatty acid compositions of red blood cell membranes (erythrocytes) for 74 people with colorectal cancer (cases) and 221 healthy controls free from cancer. The controls were matched by age and sex.
The subject of a recent review
The potential protective benefits of omega-3 fatty acids against cancer was the subject of a review, published in January 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 295, pp. 403-415).
Jury still out
Indeed, commenting at the time, Josephine Querido, science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "The jury is still out as to whether eating more omega-3 fatty acids will reduce your risk of developing cancer.”
Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Vol. 97, no 12) concluded from data from 1 million participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) trial that people eating less than 14g of fish a day were 40 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those eating more than 50g per day.
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