Research shows fish oil supplements boost the effectiveness of cancer treatments
04/08/2022 // Zoey Sky // Views

Taking fish oil supplements regularly can help boost your overall well-being, including your heart health and mental health. New research also suggests that fish oil supplements can improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments.

Fish oil supplements, omega-3 and cancer cures

Data from the study suggest that taking fish oil pills, which are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, could boost the ability of immunotherapy drugs to attack tumors.

In the study, researchers experimented with mice and found that the combination of fish oil supplementation and immunotherapy reduced cancer spread through the body by two-thirds.

Abigail Kelly, lead author and a research assistant at Harvard University, believes the results are "very promising."

In a media release, Kelly explained that dietary interventions "can be powerful tools because they are relatively simple and inexpensive to implement." The study results also revealed that supplementing with omega-3 can potentially improve immunotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs in the clinical setting.

This isn't a new finding because medications that stimulate the body's own immune system have revolutionized cancer treatment. But they don't work for everyone.

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements usually come in three forms:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

If you want to boost your intake of healthy fatty acids via food, try eating more chia seeds, flaxseeds, oily fish, walnuts and related oils. Foods such as eggs and milk are often fortified with these omega-3 fatty acids. (Related: Looking to boost your physical performance? This supplement can do more than just alleviate fatigue.)


According to research, consuming these foods can help lower cancer risk. They're also readily available as over-the-counter (OTC) supplements.

Other studies have also shown that fish oil offers the following health benefits:

  • Fish oil can help boost heart health by improving cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure.
  • Fish oil can help treat mental conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Taking supplements can also help reduce the chances of psychotic disorders in people who are at risk.
  • According to older studies, individuals with major depression may have lower blood levels of omega-3s. Other research suggests that oils rich in EPA help reduce depressive symptoms more than DHA.
  • Fish oil can help support eye health by improving vision in people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Fish oil can help treat chronic inflammation and symptoms of diseases such as depression, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
  • Fish oil can also help promote skin health and offer benefits to people with skin disorders like dermatitis and psoriasis.

Effects of omega-3 and omega-6 on cancer

The study suggests that omega-3 increases the effectiveness of immunotherapy and anti-inflammatory cancer drugs.

Findings showed that aggressive tumors in treated animal subjects shrunk by 67 percent when the scientists added omega-3 acids into the rats' standard diets. The researchers think the fatty acids and anti-cancer drugs worked together, which helped make the combined effect greater than the sum of its parts.

However, mice consuming omega-6 or fatty acids from meat and eggs saw negative results.

The study is the first of its kind to show that "the combination of immunotherapy and anti-inflammatory treatment was more effective when mice were fed diets enriched with omega-3 fatty acids," explained Kelly. "This is very promising because dietary supplementation is easy to implement for cancer patients and can be added for patients already on immunotherapy."

Now, the research team is examining the mechanism behind the anti-tumor activity of omega-3 supplementation. They will continue their research by examining human cancer tissues and cells, human immune cells and animal models. The discovery could unveil potential new treatments for patients with cancer.

Earlier studies have also found that fish oil supplements can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.

Watch the video below to know more about the health benefits of omega-3.

This video is from the Holistic Herbalist channel on

More related stories:

Antioxidant supplements and their synergistic effects on immune function, energy levels and physical performance.

Study: Supplementing with fish oil daily linked to a reduced risk of CVD-related death.

Supplementing with fish oil can boost the benefits of resistance training for patients with sarcopenia.

Researchers: Eating fatty fish can boost omega-3 levels and reduce heart disease risk.

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