Omega-3 foods may reduce breast cancer risk in obese women

  • New research shows that a higher intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer in pre- and post-menopausal women, especially pre-menopausal women. obese postmenopausal.
  • Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of breast cancer, which is increased if they are overweight and have high cholesterol, hypertension, or both.
  • Since the body does not naturally produce n-3 PUFAs, incorporating foods high in n-3 PUFAs, also known as omega-3s, may help prevent breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, with the exception of skin cancer. It accounts for 1 in 3 female cancers every year and occurs mainly in middle-aged and older women with a median age of 62 years.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 287,850 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed and 43,250 women will die in 2022.

Although there are many factors that influence the risk of breast cancer, research suggests that diet plays a key role in the development of the disease.

According to a new study recently published in the journal Menopausethere is an inverse relationship between breast cancer risk and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) intake, particularly in obese premenopausal women.

omega-3 fatty acids are n-3 PUFAs, which are “healthy fats” known for their health benefits.

In the new study, researchers analyzed 1,589 cases of female breast cancer and 1,621 people without breast cancer. They assessed subjects with breast cancer who consumed n-3 PUFAs and compared the data to subjects without breast cancer who consumed n-3 PUFAs.

The researchers also looked at whether the relationship was affected by menopausal status, hormone receptor status, or linoleic acid intake.

The results of the study indicate that a higher intake of n-3 PUFAs was linked to a decreased risk of breast cancer. This was more important in premenopausal women and those with certain types of breast tumours.

According to a press release, overweight or obese women who increased their intake of n-3 PUFAs had a reduced risk of breast cancer. However, there was no significant association between decreased risk of breast cancer in women with a healthy weight.

The risk of breast cancer increases with age, especially after age 50.

Women with certain genetic risks are at high risk for breast cancer before menopause. Genetic factors, including a family history of breast cancer, also increase a person’s lifetime risk.

Yet, not all women in the at-risk category develop breast cancer.

“Only 7% of breast cancers occur in premenopausal women and these cancers tend to be aggressive,” said Dr. Thomas Strack, chief medical officer at Faeth Therapeutics. “In general, postmenopausal women tend to have less aggressive cancers that are more likely to respond to treatment.”

In postmenopausal women, the risk of breast cancer increases if they are overweight and have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or both.

Additionally, obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation with an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory molecules, which may also contribute to the increased risk of developing breast cancer. .

Foods rich in n-3 PUFAs – more commonly known as omega-3s – activate the body’s health defense systems, which help the body resist a wide range of diseases, explained Dr. William Li, physician, researcher, chairman and founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation President, and best-selling author of “Eat to Beat Disease.”

“Foods rich in PUFAs have many benefits due to the effects of [n-3] PUFA on your body’s health defenses. These include circulatory, anti-inflammatory, regenerative, antioxidant, and immune-supporting benefits — all demonstrated by decades of research,” Li told Healthline.

“The observed anti-cancer benefits are likely due to a combination of these benefits. Especially, [n-3] PUFA [have] been studied in the laboratory and shown to starve tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

According to Li, foods containing n-3 PUFAs may be particularly beneficial for fighting diseases related to excessive blood vessel growth, such as cancer, or vision loss due to diabetes and macular degeneration related to Alzheimer’s disease. age.

When it comes to getting more n-3 PUFAs in your diet, it’s never too early to start. Foods high in omega-3 PUFAs include:

  • fish
  • vegetable oil
  • nut
  • flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • leafy vegetables

Plant-based foods like nuts and seeds that can provide n-3 PUFAs are generally recommended for better overall health. Additionally, consuming marine foods containing n-3 PUFAs, such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and shellfish, may also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to Dr. Monisha Bhanote, FCAP, Founder and CEO of WellKula, plant-based foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as oils, nuts, seeds, and tofu, are high in alpha-3 fatty acids. linolenic acid (ALA).

Fish, on the other hand, which is also rich in omega-3s, may contain a higher amount of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have been shown to reduce inflammation.

Therefore, overweight or obese women who increase their intake of omega-3 PUFAs may have a reduced risk of breast cancer by reducing inflammation in the body, Bhanote explained.

Regarding how much omega-3 PUFA to consume, recommendations may vary depending on how well an individual metabolizes n-3 PUFA, as well as age, biological sex, and any medical conditions or illnesses concurrent chronic.

For this reason, it’s best to get a personalized recommendation for foods containing n-3 PUFAs from your healthcare professional. You can also refer to this recommendations table for daily servings of omega-3s from the National Institutes of Health.

As a general rule, however, fats, including healthy fats derived from n-3 PUFAs, should make up no more than 20% to 35% of your total daily caloric intake.

New research shows that a diet high in n-3 PUFAs may help prevent breast cancer in pre- and post-menopausal women, especially overweight or obese pre-menopausal women.

Genetic factors and a family history of breast cancer can affect a person’s risk of breast cancer, along with other factors. To assess your personal risk, it is best to speak with your doctor.

A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle play an important role in cancer prevention. This includes regular exercise and a healthy diet, but also abstaining from smoking, reducing alcohol intake, getting enough sleep and practicing stress management.

As Li told Healthline, you may not be able to control your genetics, but you can take charge of your lifestyle.

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