Omega 3 and cancer
Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on June 7, 2010
Cancer: The Complete Recovery Guide – www.fightingcancer.com
Omega 3 and Cancer
Ralph Moss reports that DHA, the most unsaturated of fatty acids, has been found to have a curative, stabilising and protective effect against neuroblastoma. Read his report here
DHA is found most readily in fish oils. Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Flaxseed oil – the basis of the Budwig Protocol – on the other hand, is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is the parent fatty acid to DHA and EPA.
Your body converts alpha-linolenic acid rapidly into EPA, and more slowly into DHA. Roughly 11 grams of alpha-linolenic acid is needed to produce one gram of DHA and EPA. However, a diet that’s rich in trans-fatty fatty acids, for instance, will interfere with this conversion of alpha-linolenic acid into EPA and DHA. Trans-fatty acids are found in foods such as cookies, some types of margarine, chips, cakes, and popcorn. Anytime you see hydrogenated oil on the ingredients label of a food, there are probably some trans-fatty acids in there somewhere.
Certain components of dietary oils called omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, or ω-3 “UFAs” for short, have been consistently found to kill cancer cells or slow cancer growth. These effects are reported in hundreds of published medical studies, including some successful preliminary tests with patients, over the past three decades (see background and other tabs for review articles and details).
A study published in December 20093 indicated new possibilities for clinical efficacy using high doses of these agents. The study tested 22 fresh human tumor specimens of five cancer types using an advanced assay system that is highly predictive of clinical response. Tumor kill was total in each case once a critical high concentration of these agents was achieved, with no effect much below that concentration. The need for high doses of these agents has also been demonstrated in one animal study and in a set of clinical (human) studies that achieved successful anti-cancer response when agents were injected directly into tumor, but no effect with lower levels of agents obtained through oral or intravenous administration.
This UFA-based cancer treatment approach is one of many lines of investigational treatment currently being pursued, with one anomalous feature: at this preliminary stage of study, dietary administration of these agents offers best possibilities for both efficacy and safety. It is thus possible for an informed patient to independently pursue this approach (if circumstances make this a viable and preferred option). Achieving the very high blood levels of such agents over hours required to penetrate and kill cancer cells, however, is not easy. Under normal conditions, molecules of these agents are carried in blood in inert, albumin-bound form, and thus drinking even gallons of an ω-3-rich dietary oil alone would likely have no effect.
Fasting, exercise and caffeine, however, are each highly effective in mobilizing fats from inert to active, unbound form. A regimen combining ingestion of flaxseed oil, consisting of 55% of the ω-3 UFA agent alpha-linolenic acid, in quantities on the order of a pint daily, with these three other effects over a three or four day period, can yield levels of active agent exceeding the tumor kill threshold found in the December 2009 study. Furthermore, this combination regimen can yield these high levels of active agent for the cumulative several-hour period required to fully penetrate into tumor cell membranes. Ingestion of the required daily quantity of oil in a reasonably palatable blend is well tolerated by a person with normal digestion, and the exercise required, about 90 minutes at the exertion level of power walking with intermittent breaks permissible, requires active but not athletic fitness status.
A proposed mechanism of action3 of ω-3 UFA agents is disruption of the cancer cell membrane. Under normal conditions, cell membranes contain mostly saturated fatty acids, small molecules with a shape analogous to a clothespin, with only a minority of UFAs, larger molecules with shapes more akin to a shuttlecock. High blood levels of ω-3 UFAs will significantly increase the percentage composition of these larger molecules in all cell membranes, causing potential instability and permeability to harmful exogenous substances such as calcium ions. The key to the potential efficacy of this approach is the ability of normal cells to compensate for such UFA-induced membrane disruption using multifaceted mechanisms and well organized membrane-supporting structures that cancer cells appear to lack.
For further details of this approach go to