Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Fish Prevent Colon Polyps in Women

Consumption of omega 3 fatty acids from fish has been associated with a reduced risk for one kind of colon polyp in women only, according to a recent study.

Previous animal studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids may have anti-cancer effects, although in human epidemiological studies the results are inconclusive.  Researchers recruited 5,307 colonoscopy patients at two hospitals in Tennessee, 60 percent of the patients were men.  This case-control study spanned a seven year period ending in April 2010, and was published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

There were 2,141 people with polyps and 3,166 polyp-free controls. Interviews were conducted regarding the patient’s diet, health habits and medical history.  After controlling for age, race, body mass index, smoking and other factors, researchers found that women who consumed three or more servings of fish a week were 33 percent less likely to have adenomatous polyps (a type likely to become cancerous) than women who ate fish less frequently.

Unfortunately, the researchers found no polyp protective effects in men.  The lead author of this study was quoted in an article in the New York Times as saying,

“This is more evidence to suggest that omega-3s are beneficial and may have anti-inflammatory action helpful in reducing cancer risk,” said Dr. Harvey J. Murff, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt and the lead author of the study.

At Boulder Natural Health, we recommend eating 3 or more servings of fish each week and supplementing with a high quality, PCB tested (mercury free) fish oil or cod liver oil that has added vitamin D and vitamin A.  The anti-inflammatory effects will keep your heart and your colon healthy.

Source: Prevention: Fish Helps Reduce Risk of Polyps in Women by Nicholas Bakalar.