So-called “good fatty acids” are essential for human health.
Among the Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is crucial to brain function, vision and the regulation of inflammatory phenomena.
In addition, DHA is also associated with a reduction in the incidence of cancer.
In a new study from the University of Louvain, researchers found the mechanism that allows DHA and other related fatty acids to slow the development of tumors.
In several experiments, the team found that certain fatty acids stimulated the tumor cells while others killed them. A well-known Omega-3 (DHA, found mainly in fish) literally poisons them.
They showed 3D tumors disintegrated within a few days thanks to the action of DHA.
The team says hungry for fatty acids, tumor cells in acidosis gorge themselves on DHA but are unable to store it correctly and literally poison themselves. This leads to tumor death.
The poison acts on tumor cells via a phenomenon called ferroptosis, a type of cell death linked to the peroxidation of certain fatty acids.
The greater the amount of unsaturated fatty acids in the cell, the greater the risk of their oxidation.
Normally, in the acidic compartment within tumors, cells store these fatty acids in lipid droplets, a kind of bundle in which fatty acids are protected from oxidation.
But in the presence of a large amount of DHA, the tumor cell is overwhelmed and cannot store the DHA, which oxidizes and leads to cell death.
By using a lipid metabolism inhibitor that prevents the formation of lipid droplets, researchers were able to observe that this phenomenon is further amplified, which confirms the identified mechanism and opens the door to combined treatment possibilities.
The results support the value of DHA in fighting cancer. For an adult, it’s recommended to consume at least 250 mg of DHA per day.
But studies show that a common daily diet provides on average only 50 to 100 mg per day. This is well below the minimum recommended intake.
If you care about omega-3 and your health, please read studies about vitamin D3, omega-3 fatty acids cannot prevent blinding eye disease in older people and findings of omega-3 info that may surprise you.
For more information about omega-3 and wellness, please see recent studies about food high in omega-3 fats can improve recovery after heart attack and results showing that why omega-3 fats could protect you from chronic inflammation.
The study is published in Cell Metabolism. One author of the study is Olivier Feron.
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