New studies show more benefits of fish oil
Eat fish, avoid cancer.
It's not quite that simple, but it's pretty clear that a healthy seafood habit can help keep the disease at bay -- and a new study makes the link yet again.
In this case, researchers say data from 41 studies published since 1990 finds that people who eat the most fish have a 21 percent lower risk of rectal cancer and a 4 percent lower risk of colon cancer.
Those are very treatable cancers if caught early -- and very deadly if they're not, so if fish can help prevent them, I say put some salmon on the grill tonight.
The study didn't look at why fish lower the risk of these cancers, but it's not much of a mystery -- it's the omega-3 fatty acids. The two main fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are well-known cancer-beaters.
And back in 2002, researchers found that both fatty acids -- but especially DHA -- can stop the growth of human colon cancer cells in mice.
But let's get back to today's research, because omega-3s are making headlines for more than just their cancer-fighting powers (as if that's not enough).
Do you smoke? Know someone who does? If you do, I have two pieces of advice.
- Quit now.
- Up your fish oil intake ASAP.
Another new study finds that two grams of fish oil a day can reduce smoking-related damage to arterial elasticity and improve arterial stiffness.
Don't take this as a license to keep smoking as long as you take fish oil -- fish oil is good, but it's not that good.
Just quit -- and I'll have more on the best ways to do it later this week, so keep an eye on your in-box. And if you find the very thought of trying to give up depressing, fish oil can help there too.
Studies have found time and again that omega-3 fatty acids can lift the mood and slash the risk of depression. Now, a new study confirms it, with researchers saying that any fish oil consumption at all can slash the risk of mood problems.
In this case, the study of 10,480 adults found that EPA and DHA supplements -- and not actual fish -- lowered the risk. In fact, breaded fish can increase the risk of depression -- and I'd have to guess that it's the bread, and not the fish, behind that one. Carbs will do that to you.
Finally, one more new study on fish oil confirms what I've seen before: Fatty acids can help men produce better sperm and may even help them overcome infertility.
Researchers engineered mice to lack an enzyme that allows them to convert the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, into the DHA their bodies need.
The process is much the same in humans.
The DHA-less mice produced fewer sperm, and the ones they did create were defective -- so much so that they were essentially infertile.
That's because making sperm without DHA is like building a brick wall without bricks. It's that critical -- and when the mice were given DHA supplements, they were effectively cured.
The study was on mice, but we're not much different in that department. Not only is DHA an essential part of our sperm, but it's also critical to the acrosome -- the part of the sperm that can fertilize an egg.
That's just the new research. Other studies have found that fish oil can help your heart, brain, immune system and even your gums.
Since studies on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids often use high levels, it's a good idea to take a supplement even if you're a regular fish eater -- just to make sure you get what you need.
PS: There's one more incredible benefit to fish oil that I'm dying to tell you about, especially if you're a senior. This one's so big I don't have the space here -- but you can read all about it later this summer in my printed newsletter, Health Revelations. Don't miss out -- sign up here.