Omega-3 oils help protect against skin cancer

By Siski Green, Friday 1 March 2013

Just when you thought you’d heard enough about omega-3 it’s back in the health news again, this time in relation to cancer.
Fish oil capsulesThe research found that omega-3 is a useful addition to other methods of preventing skin cancer

Researchers from the University of Manchester, UK, have found that it has protective effects for the skin, potentially helping to prevent infection and cancer.

The research was funded by the Association for International Cancer Research and involved a clinical trial whereby 79 volunteer patients were either given a daily 4g dose of omega-3 (the equivalent to one and a half portions of oily fish) or a placebo.

All patients were then exposed to a light machine which gave them the equivalent of 8, 15 or 30 minutes sun exposure, with the intensity of midday sun. Sunlight at that intensity causes immunosuppression, which in turn affects the body’s ability to prevent cancer or infections.

But, for the patients who took the omega-3, immunosuppression was 50% lower. This was only true for groups who were exposed to 8 or 15 minutes of sun-equivalent – the groups of omega-3 takers and placebo-takers who had 30 minutes of sunlight did not show a significant difference.

This, say the study authors, shows that omega-3 is a useful addition to other methods of preventing skin cancer such as using sunscreen and other physical protective behaviours such as wearing long-sleeved tops and trousers, sticking to the shade, wearing a hat and so on.

Immunosuppression via sunlight is caused by both UVA and UVB rays, so wearing a sunscreen can dramatically reduce your risk. But, to protect against both, the sunscreen must be of a SPF factor of 15 or above, and should state it is broad- or multi-spectrum, indicating it covers both UVA and UVB rays.

Subscribe to our fortnightly health newsletter for more fascinating health news and features.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

Related

  • Woman relaxing on beach

    Modern human skin isn't adapted to our lifestyle

    Sun exposure might be the last thing on your mind right now, but actually it's a time when it should be.

    Read on

  • Sun screen

    Supersun creams

    Creams no longer just stop the burn, they now claim to benefit ageing, sensitive and damaged skin... and with melanomas on the rise they are more important than ever.

    Read on

  • Sun hat

    Don't take risks with the sun

    We all know too much sun can cause cancer, but still we love a tan. How can we enjoy the sun safely? Lesley Dobson finds out more

    Read on

  • Women smiling in the sun

    Sunshine - now the good news

    Most of us love feeling the warmth of the sun on our backs, but it has real health benefits too.

    Read on

  • Health Club

    Health Club

    Free membership and free online assessment to see how healthy you could be.

    MORE DETAILS

  • Saga Health Insurance

    Health insurance

    A comprehensive range of competitively priced HealthPlans.

    MORE DETAILS


COMMENTS

Type your comment here


 characters remaining.

Saga Magazine

For more fascinating stories and insightful articles, why not try Saga Magazine for just £1 for 3 issues.

Saga Magazine e-newsletter

Sign up to our free newsletter today

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for all the latest recipes, gardening tips, prize draws, interviews and more delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Saga Magazine app

You can now read your Saga Magazine on a huge range of mobile devices - from the Kindle Fire to an iPhone or iPad.

Offer: 20 free tulip bulbs

Free with selected products

Get a complimentary pack of 20 fully double peony-flowered tulip bulbs worth over £12. 10 each of Angélique and Blue Diamond. Simply enter SGFL at the checkout.