Many women are concerned with breast health. If you are among them, there are some basic lifestyle changes you can make to protect your breasts, such as maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and breastfeeding if possible. Now, there’s a new step to put on the list, according to a review of studies published in the British Medical Journal, and it’s a relatively easy one — taking a daily omega-3 supplement.
By pooling data from more than two dozen clinical studies, the researchers concluded that increasing intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as EPA and DHA from fish and other marine sources could support breast health.*[i]
A team of Chinese researchers analyzed data from 26 studies from the United States, Europe, and Asia which together enrolled a total of over 800,000 participants. They found women with the highest intake of marine omega-3 PUFAs enjoyed better breast health than those who consumed the least.*
The results were dose dependent, which means the more omega-3s women consumed, the better their odds were of having good breast health.* That doesn’t mean you have to go overboard, though. For people taking blood thinners, high amounts of omega-3 could increase the risk of bleeding. In fact, the study noted that a little goes a long way: an increase of as little as 100 mg a day was associated with a positive effect.*
That’s not much if you’re eating a lot of foods that have a high concentration of omega-3s. For instance, a serving of salmon contains a little over 2,000 mg of DHA/EPA. You can also easily get that amount through supplementation, as the average regular-strength fish oil supplement provides between 300-600 mg per day.
For the most part, cold-water fish are the best sources of DHA and EPA. Vegetarian? Flax oil contains ALA, which can be partially converted by the body into DHA and EPA. Additionally, a 1-ounce serving of seaweed or kelp can contain anywhere from 4 to 134 mg.[ii] And fortified milk and eggs can add to your total as well.
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.
[i] Zheng J, et al. BMJ. 2013 Jun 27;346:f3706.
[ii] Paturel A. What is omega-3 and what are good food sources of omega-3 fatty acids? Eating Well. http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/what_is_omega_3_and_what_are_good_food_sources_of_omega_3_fatty_acids