Vitamins and Minerals

Omega-3 (Fish Oil) For Cancer

Science Center

What science says about Omega-3 (Fish Oil) For Cancer

Scientists and medical experts have different opinions on the benefits of omega-3 in preventing or treating different types of cancers.

On one hand, some experts believe that omega-3 is important because it helps inhibit the growth of cancer cells and regulates gene expression in breast, colon, and liver cancers. Omega-3 also helps improve cancer-related symptoms such as pain and muscle loss due to chemotherapy treatments. Several studies conducted on omega-3 and cancer symptoms help support these claims.

On the other hand, other experts believe that omega-3 does not treat or reduce the incidence of cancer. Recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses of different studies and trials indicate that omega-3 did not help cancer patients improve in any way.

Thus, the use of omega-3 supplements to treat cancer remains highly debatable. Scientists are conducting more research to better understand how omega-3 works to reduce or prevent cancer before they can recommend it as a treatment option.


Opinion in favor of taking omega-3 to prevent cancer and fight tumor growth:

Supporters of omega-3 consumption for cancer believe that omega-3 plays an important role in preventing and treating cancer.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-cancer effects. They kill and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. They also regulate gene expression and prevent the formation of tumors.

EPA and DHA also have anti-inflammatory effects and decrease inflammation in the body that might trigger cancer development or cause cancer to spread to other tissues. Omega-3 fatty acids also help increase the efficacy of chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may have therapeutic potential for cancer treatment. For instance, the review, “Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and treatment of cancer” showed that DHA and EPA prevented tumors from migrating and spreading to other tissues.

Other studies also show that omega fatty acids can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy to improve cancer patients’ quality of life. For example, the review, “Protective Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Cancer-Related Complications” indicated that omega-3 fatty acids are metabolized into other anti-inflammatory substances that help reduce cancer-related pain and other side effects like muscle loss.

Opinion against taking omega-3 to prevent cancer and fight tumor growth:

Most experts agree that omega fatty acids are beneficial for overall health when people take them in small, balanced amounts. However, opponents of omega fatty acid consumption believe that there is not enough evidence to support the claims about omega fatty acids’ ability to treat or prevent cancer.

Recently, several studies indicated that omega-3 supplementation does not affect cancer development. For instance, the study, “Marine n-3 Fatty Acids and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer,” found that omega-3 supplements did not reduce the risk of cancer compared to the placebo. Thus, it has no effect on cancer development. Plus, other reviews of the scientific literature suggest that the link between omega-3 fatty acids and the prevention of certain types of cancer is “weak.

Furthermore, some studies on omega-3 even found that omega-3 can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. For example, the study, “Plasma phospholipid fatty acids and prostate cancer risk in the SELECT trial,” found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements increased the risk of prostate cancer development.

However, Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist and pharmacist, argues that omega-3 fatty acids are not linked to increased prostate cancer risk. He points to a study showing that “they inhibit prostate cancer cell growth.” Plus, Dr. DiNicolantonio also found this study incompatible with other studies showing that omega-3 consumption reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Therefore, since the exact mechanism of how the fatty acids work is still not properly understood, many scientists do not recommend omega-3 fatty acids for cancer treatment or prevention at this time. They call for more research on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in order to better understand how they work to treat cancer.

Published: December 2020

Discussion forum

Please remain authentic and respectful. Aposbook does not endorse any comment and is not responsible for any wrong information provided by users.