Omega-3s Protect Babies From Future Breast Cancer

If you have any doubts at all about the beneficial effect of omega-3s, a new study has found women who eat foods rich with these fatty acids during their pregnancies and while nursing can reduce breast cancer risks of their daughters by as much as 40 percent. Diets rich in omega-3s also provided the same amount of protection to female children after they stopped breastfeeding too.

In fact, according to the lead researcher, eating foods or supplements rich in omega-3s at any point in a woman's life can significantly reduce their risk of breast cancer. The study also reinforced a fact proven long ago that eating omega-6 fats could increase one's chances of breast cancer (likely from the typical and harmful imbalance of omega-6 fats versus omega-3 found in most Western diets).

In research done on mice, scientists found all of the mouse pups exposed only to omega-6 fatty acids in the uterus, while nursing and after weaning developed mammary gland tumors by six months after birth. Conversely, less than 60 percent of the female offspring with diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids either in the uterus or after weaning developed mammary tumors in eight months.

How do omega-3 fatty acids protect women and their babies from breast cancer? Scientists believe omega-3 fatty acids reduce the amount of estrogen, which is important in mammary gland development.

Unfortunately, when recommending good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, the study points to all the usual suspects, meaning fish, canola oil and soybeans that aren't good for you at all. An excellent source of omega-3s can be found in fish and, especially, cod liver oil rich in vitamin A. The trick, however, is finding a high-quality source and you'll need to some homework.

Luckily, I have plenty of resources available on my Web site to help you do just that.

Yahoo News April 20, 2005

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