Omega-3 fights cancer

The following is a study done with cell culture, which shows that DHA, an omega-3 fat, severely messes with cancer cells. Docosahexaenoic acid attenuates breast cancer cell metabolism and the Warburg phenotype by targeting bioenergetic function

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; C22:6n−3) depresses mammary carcinoma proliferation and growth in cell culture and in animal models. The current study explored the role of interrupting bioenergetic pathways in BT-474 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines representing respiratory and glycolytic phenotypes, respectively and comparing the impacts of DHA with a non-transformed cell line, MCF-10A. Metabolic investigation revealed that DHA supplementation significantly diminished the bioenergetic profile of the malignant cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. DHA enrichment also resulted in decreases in hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1α) total protein level and transcriptional activity in the malignant cell lines but not in the non-transformed cell line. Downstream targets of HIF-1α, including glucose transporter 1 (GLUT 1) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), were decreased by DHA treatment in the BT-474 cell line, as well as decreases in LDH protein level in the MDA-MB-231 cell line. Glucose uptake, total glucose oxidation, glycolytic metabolism, and lactate production were significantly decreased in response to DHA supplementation; thereby enhancing metabolic injury and decreasing oxidative metabolism. The DHA-induced metabolic changes led to a marked decrease of intracellular ATP levels by 50% in both cancer cell lines, which mediated phosphorylation of metabolic stress marker, AMPK, at Thr172. These findings show that DHA contributes to impaired cancer cell growth and survival by altering cancer cell metabolism, increasing metabolic stress and altering HIF-1α-associated metabolism, while not affecting non-transformed MCF-10A cells. This study provides rationale for enhancement of current cancer prevention models and current therapies by combining them with dietary sources, like DHA.

Supplementing with DHA from fish oil is a good idea and may stop cancer in its tracks.


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Allan Folz says April 27, 2014

I wonder if DHA’s proclivity to oxidation has something to do with this. Cancer is metabolically greedy, so perhaps it soaks up available DHA which then poisons itself? I don’t know, just throwing a guess out there. It might be important because I think the things we want to do to prevent cancer are not necessarily the same things we want to do to treat cancer.

In broader terms, and the reason I’m writing is that DHA vs. EPA has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. DHA for ADHD treatment didn’t pan out, while later studies using EPA did. Right now DHA is the hot supplement, but I’m wondering if it’s really what we want to be taking. There are also some studies showing fish oils and heavy omega 3 supplements having some adverse consequences. Again, I wonder if that’s from the readily oxidized DHA. It could be a little DHA goes a long way and we’re better off with EPA or even ALA. I don’t know what if any research has been done trying to tease out the health differences among the omega 3 family of fatty acids.

Mangan says April 28, 2014

Hi Allan. There’s probably some significance that DHA and not EPA is incorporated into cell membranes. On the other hand, some researchers have found that EPA and not DHA is responsible for antidepressant effects of omega-3.

As I mentioned before, Dr. Perlmutter (“Grain Brain”) recommends DHA and not EPA for Alzheimer’s. Seems to me that this needs to be straightened out. I take both myself in the form of CLO.

Agree with you about possible adverse consequences. One needs to be careful with dosage.

Saw your post over at Seth’s. Very interesting and informative.

And lastly, I am genuinely shocked over Seth’s passing away. I had several interactions with him over the years. He was a kind man who was deeply interested in science and truth, and a true out-of-the-box thinker. R.I.P.

Allan Folz says April 28, 2014

Yes, very shocking. Seth was a great guy. He clearly made time for everyone and I suspect was the type of guy that was friends to everyone that had the good fortune of meeting him.

Any idea how old he was? It’s hard not to wonder if his flax habit was the cause.

His web site is offline this morning. I was fortunate to see it and left a comment for the family last night. I hope it goes back online. He had a tremendous amount of quality advice gathered on it.

joe says April 30, 2014

This is just showing how fish oils are anti-metabolic. They suppress glucose oxidation. This is the same reason fish oil *causes* cancer.

My Supplement Stack - Rogue Health and Fitness says January 25, 2017

[…] fish oil, 1 tsp., 3 days a week. I use cod liver oil. This is another supplement you don’t want to overdo. […]

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