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A new study published in the journal Molecular Cancer has revealed a remarkable new mechanism behind how omega-3 fatty acids may combat the most fearsome disease known to humankind: multi-drug resistant cancer.
Titled, "Omega 3 fatty acids chemosensitize multidrug resistant colon cancer cells by down-regulating cholesterol synthesis and altering detergent resistant membranes composition,"[i] researchers sought out to study the effect of the animal-derived omega 3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in both human colon cancer cells sensitive to and resistant to multiple conventional chemotherapeutic agents.
Cancer cells use two proteins known as P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and multidrug resistance related protein 1 (MRP1) to keep chemotherapy agents from entering through its surface membranes. The activity of these two protective proteins is increased by the synthesis of higher amounts of cholesterol. The researchers theorized that since omega-3 fatty acids are effective in positively modulating cholesterol levels in what are known as 'dyslipidemic' syndromes, i.e. unhealthy cholesterol levels and ratios, they may also be of value in preventing or treating colon cancer. Given the growing prevalence of 'multidrug resistant' tumors, alternative and/or complementary solutions are gaining increased interest within the medical community.
When the researchers looked closer at the metabolic profile of multidrug resistant cancer cells they found that they exhibited 'overexpression' of both drug resistance associated proteins, Pgp and MRP1, as well as 'dysregulated' cholesterol metabolism, marked by higher cholesterol synthesis and higher cholesterol content within the cells.
When the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA were applied to the cell cultures, the metabolic profile of these multidrug resistant cells was restored to a state far closer to the non-multidrug resistant colon cancer cells. They observed that the omega 3 fatty acids were incorporated into the membranes of the cells, altering the lipid content of the cellular compartments, as well as reducing both the amount of drug resistance proteins Pgp and MRP1 and their activity. Finally, they found that the proper tumor-immune system recognition in response to chemotherapy was restored within these omega 3 fat treated multidrug resistant cells.
"Our work describes a new biochemical effect of omega 3 PUFAs, which can be useful to overcome chemoresistance in MDR colon cancer cells."
This study adds to a great wealth of accumulated research on natural 'chemosensitizing' compounds that come from common foods, spices and plant extract which help to overcome the increasingly ineffective chemotherapy standbys that have dominated cancer treatment for the past 40 years, since the war on cancer was officially declared by Richard Nixon in the early 70's.
If basic food components required in the human diet -- such as essential fatty acids -- can accomplish what no drug in the FDA-approved arsenal of the trillion dollar cancer industry's pharmacopeia can, then something is terribly wrong with this picture.
The old paradigm, which excludes natural therapies in favor of an exclusively surgery-, radiation- and chemotherapy-based approach to combating cancer is crumbling. Even the establishment's fundamental definitions of what cancer is are being called into quesiton and dramatically revised, leaving millions questioning if they were misdiagnosed and mistreated in the first place?
Shouldn't nutrition, in light of new research of this kind, be elevated back to its proper place, perhaps as a first-line treatment for cancers of all stages? When you consider that hospitals have allowed fast food franchise like McDonald's to set up shop in their cafeterias, we are still light years away from seeing this vision made reality within the conventional medical establishment. But that doesn't stop us from taking our health and our nutrition into our own hands, especially considering that the science itself is increasingly pointing to food as medicine as the answer for diseases as recalcitrant as cancer.
For additional support for this approach, take a look at our research page on natural compounds which preliminary research shows can help to overcome multidrug resistant cancer, and which includes familiar food items such as turmeric and paprika. Also, you can delve deeper into the literature on omega-3 fatty acids and their chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects on our research page, which have over 250 documented health benefits.
To learn more about this topic take my course, Cancer, Nutrition & Natural Healing.
[i] Giada Gelsomino, Paola A Corsetto, Ivana Campia, Gigliola Montorfano, Joanna Kopecka, Barbara Castella, Elena Gazzano, Dario Ghigo, Angela M Rizzo, Chiara Riganti. Omega 3 fatty acids chemosensitize multidrug resistant colon cancer cells by down-regulating cholesterol synthesis and altering detergent resistant membranes composition.