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Omega-3s May Provide Added Protection Against Skin Cancer

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun suppresses the skin's immune response, and adversely affects the body's ability to fight skin cancer and infection. Omega-3s have been shown to protect mice against immunosuppression caused by ultraviolet radiation, but until now no study had been conducted involving humans.

Researchers at the University of Manchester recently examined the effects of omega-3 supplements on immunosuppression in humans. They found that omega-3s reduced immunosuppression by 50%, suggesting omega-3’s may provide added protection against skin cancer.

The study included 79 healthy adults who were given either a placebo or 5 grams of omega-3s consisting of 70% EPA and 10% DHA for a period of three months. The researchers then exposed them to a light machine that imitated summer midday sun for eight, 15, and 30 minutes.

At eight minutes and 15 minutes, immunosuppression was 50% lower in the omega-3 group. There was no notable difference at 30 minutes. Further study is needed to determine if taking omega-3s on a regular basis could give added protection against skin cancer.

The study was published in the March 2013 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Omega-3s have also been shown to improve inflammation, mood, joint mobility, age related macular degeneration, and the immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s. If you don’t like fish or you’re worried about the high mercury levels found in some fish, consider taking a high quality supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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