Fish-Derived versus Plant- Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Is There a Difference?


Results of new research reveals that fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids may be 8 times more effective in the prevention of breast cancer compared with plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids. A study conducted at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and led by David Ma, PhD, sought to compare the effects of 3 different omega-3 fatty acids on breast tumor development in mice that were bred to develop HER2-positive breast cancer. They examined 2 different fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and 1 plant-derived: a-linolenic acid (ALA). With each mouse being exposed to one of the 3 different omega-3s from before birth, evaluation of how the fatty acids impact tumor development was made possible. The results showed that mice that were exposed to EPA and DHA showed a 60% to 70% percent reduction in tumor size, as well as a 30% decrease in the number of breast tumors. Professor David Ma explained the reason is that omega-3 fatty acids can activate specific genes that enhance the immune system, inhibiting pathways that foster tumor growth. Furthermore, the doses used in this study suggest women can experience these cancer prevention rewards with 2 to 3 servings of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, or trout) per week.

To learn more about the impact of fish-derived omega-3 on cancer development, visit our on-demand webinar, Nothing Fishy About It: Increasing Appropriate Use of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation.
This activity is supported by an educational grant from Nature Made Nutritional Products.

CASE IN POINT Test your problem-solving skills!

Try to answer the question and then check your answer by participating in this online CE activity.

This activity is supported by an educational grant from Actelion Pharmaceuticals US, Inc.

A 45-year-old man with a new diagnosis of idiopathic PAH, unresponsive to vasoreactivity testing, comes into clinic with dyspnea consistent with WHO-FC II symptoms. He currently takes no medications.
Which of the following would best improve this patient’s symptoms and reduce his likelihood of being hospitalized?
A. Oral ambrisentan and tadalafil
B. Oral diltiazem
C. Intravenous epoprostenol and oral bosentan
D. Inhaled treprostinil

Answer to Case in Point is A: Oral ambrisentan and tadalafil