Seattle, WA—Many studies have focused on the benefits of fish oil, which has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Now a new study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention in July, found that it can also reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington asked 35,016 postmenopausal women with no history of breast cancer about their use of non-vitamin, non-mineral “specialty” supplements. Six years later, 880 cases of breast cancer were identified. Researchers found that women who regularly took fish oil supplements were 32% less likely to develop breast cancer. This reduction in risk “appeared to be restricted to invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type of the disease,” according to a press statement from the center. This is the first study to find a link between fish oil supplements and reduced breast cancer risk.

“For years, research has been revealing the cardiovascular benefits of taking supplemental omega 3’s,” stated Kirsten Carlson, marketing manager at Carlson Laboratories, in reaction to this new study. “We are thrilled to see that research is uncovering more and more amazing benefits every day. It is exciting to see new studies regarding fish oil and women’s health.”

With respect to heart health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a qualified health claim, one of only two for conventional food, stating there is enough scientific data finding that omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, like salmon, lake trout, tuna and herring, can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. FDA recommends taking three grams of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids a day, with no more than two grams per day from supplements.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine September 2010 (published ahead of print on July 27, 2010)