The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been well documented on this blog. In addition to bolstering brain health, these compounds – which can be derived from fish and various produce – have also been shown to enhance the immune system and even improve mood. Now, a new study from Queen Mary, University of London, has revealed yet another potential benefit of these nutritious fatty acids.
According to a university press release, scientists have discovered that omega-3s may be able to help treat and even prevent certain types of skin and oral cancer. The researchers observed that exposure to omega-3 could cause the death of both malignant and pre-malignant cancer cells.
"As the doses needed to kill the cancer cells do not affect normal cells […] there is potential for using omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of skin and oral cancers," said Dr. Zacharoula Nikolakopoulou, who led the research. "It may be that those at an increased risk of such cancers – or their recurrence – could benefit from increased omega-3 fatty acids."
This effect was discovered by administering fatty acids cell cultures grown in a laboratory. Professor Kenneth Parkinson, who was also involved with the study, noted that the demonstrated cell death was likely caused by the stimulation of a "key growth factor." Prior to this research, Parkinson said that this function of omega-3 had not been identified.
Though further research is necessary to solidify this finding, it does provide yet another reason to ensure that your diet is rich in these beneficial compounds. Click here to read more about our omega-3 supplements.