People with bowel cancer may improve their survival chances by eating a lot of omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish like tuna and salmon, a study suggested Wednesday.
Analysis of data from more than 170,000 people in the United States revealed that among 1,659 who developed bowel cancer, there was a strong correlation between higher omega 3 intake and lower risk of death, it said.
“Compared with patients who consumed less than 0.1 grammes (0.004 ounces) of omega 3 fatty acids daily, those who consumed at least 0.3 grammes daily after their diagnosis, had a 41 percent lower risk of dying from their disease,” said a statement on the findings published in the British journal Gut.
“If the findings can be reproduced in other studies, patients with bowel cancer might benefit from boosting their oily fish intake to help prolong their survival.”
Further research was needed to prove the link was not coincidental, and that omega 3 actively lowered death risk, said the team.
Yet, the findings “provide the first line of population-based evidence for the potentially positive impact of oily fish omega 3 fatty acids on bowel cancer survival”.
Omega 3s play a crucial role in growth and healthy brain function, but cannot be manufactured by the human body.
They are ingested through so-called “fatty” fish and other seafoods, some plants, and certain nut oils.