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Eating fish helps kill cancer cells

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Eating fish reduces your risk of cancer—and could even help fight the disease because of its tumour-killing properties.

Fish are rich in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an Omega-3 fatty acid, and this has cancer-fighting qualities, even at low doses.  Just 100 mg of DHA every day—less than half the recommended daily allowance of 250 mg—is killing cancer cells.

Researchers from the University of Louvain have discovered that the fatty acid interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells.  In a major advance in the understanding of how cancer spreads, the researchers have found that cancer cells thrive in acidic environment and replace glucose—the normal energy source for cells—with lipids, or fats.

But eating fish, or taking DHA supplements, overwhelms the cells, and eventually kills them; in other words, they suddenly have too much fat to feed off. The greater the amount of unsaturated fatty acids in the cell, the greater the risk of oxidation, or cell transformation, they found.  In laboratory tests on cancer cells, the researchers discovered the cells were dying in just a couple of weeks.

“We soon found that certain fatty acids stimulated the tumour cells while others killed them,” the team said.  In short, the DHA was poisoning the cancer cells.

(Source: Cell Metabolism, 2021; doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2021.05.016)

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