I just saw this article, “A Cure To Lung Cancer May Be In Fish Oil” (you can read it here) and just couldn’t help but share it. It’s about a study was first published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.
The full study is not available as free text online, but a quick google scholar search will get you the summary (or read it here). It raises some pretty interesting questions about the anti-cancer properties of omega-3 fish oil and definitely opens the door for more research in this field.
Here’s the basic story:
A man in his late seventies is diagnosed with lung cancer. Because of the advanced stage of his cancer and his age, his doctors gave him mere months to live.
Rather than follow the traditional treatment plan involving chemotherapy and radiation, the man (who is referred to as only “D.H.”) opted for a more natural approach. With the help of Pardini, D.H. went on a fish oil diet. He increased his omega-3 intake to 15g per day, and nearly completely cut out all vegetable oils and other foods rich in omega-6s.
According to article, D.H. was still alive 5 years later when Pardini’s report was published. In the actual study, CT scans and x-rays “revealed remarkably a slow and steady decrease in the size and number of bilateral nodules”. This is pretty exciting news as this is the first study of it’s kind.
Does This Mean Fish Oil Cures Lung Cancer?
Not exactly. This is a case study involving a single person, so that means any conclusions about the effectiveness about using omega-3s to treat lung cancer must be limited to the actual gentleman in the study.
However, we can certainly add this to the abundance of research on fish oil and lung cancer already in existence.
What Else Is Known About Fish Oil & Lung Cancer?
To date, all of the studies on fish oil and lung cancer have involve animal models because it allows scientists a more ethical way to identify and study the way cancer progresses. I will review some of the most important findings:
Recent findings published in the journal of Nutrition and Cancer found that fish oil supplements, combined with a diet low in omega-6 decreases lung tumors in mice by 80%. This effect is not seen with dietary changes alone.
There are mixed opinions on whether fish oil kills cancer in humans.
There is overwhelming research supporting fish oil’s preventative cancer effects in mice; some scientists believe any weak link seen in humans is likely because its easier to ensure mice take the supplements.
Clearly, science has not yet reached a point to state unequivocally that fish oil can cure lung cancer. But, research like Pardini’s case study certainly shows that there is potential on the horizon.
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MacLean CH, Newberry SJ, Mojica WA, Khanna P, Issa AM, Suttorp MJ, Lim YW, Traina SB, Hilton L, Garland R, Morton SC. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cancer risk: a systematic review. JAMA. 2006 Jan 25;295(4):403-15.
Mernitz H, Lian F, Smith DE, Meydani SN, Wang XD. Fish oil supplementation inhibits NNK-induced lung carcinogenesis in the A/J
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Pardini RS, Wilson D, Schiff S, Bajo SA, Pierce R. Nutritional intervention with omega-3 Fatty acids in a case of malignant fibrous histiocytoma of the lungs.Nutr Cancer. 2005;52(2):121-9.