Fish-oil enriched keto diet tied to lower lung cancer risk in mice

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
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A fish oil-enriched keto diet appeared to help prevent lung cancer nodules in a mouse study. Image credit: Marcel/Getty Images.
  • Ketogenic diets are being studied for their potential role in cancer prevention.
  • New research in mice suggests the types of fat consumed can significantly impact the effectiveness of a diet associated with a lower risk of cancer.
  • Experts recommend following established dietary guidelines for lowering cancer risk.

The ketogenic (keto) diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that aims to trigger ketosis, a metabolic state where the body uses fat for energy instead of glucose.

This diet has been studied for its potential benefits in managing Health">epilepsy, Health">diabetes, and Health">obesity.

Researchers are also investigating the possible advantages of carbohydrate restriction in treating other chronic conditions, like cancer, as it may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

A recent study by BC Cancer and the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute in British Columbia, Canada, which appears in Scientific Reports, has provided new evidence that may supports the anti-cancer effects of keto diets.

The study, conducted in mice, emphasizes the importance of selecting healthy fats, as the type of fats consumed in a keto diet could significantly impact cancer prevention outcomes.

The fish oil-enriched keto diet was found to be the most effective in protecting mice against NNK-induced lung cancer nodules as compared to other fat-enriched keto diets.

Though the exact mechanism is not well understood, experts believe that fish oil’s success can be attributed to its potential to enhance ketosis and regulate cell cycles.

According to Dr. Alexandra Filingeri, a registered dietitian and doctor of clinical nutrition who was not involved in the study, the keto diet supplemented with fish oil resulted in a significant increase in ketosis among the mice as compared to the other groups. This was evidenced by a rise in beta-hydroxybutyrate levels and lowered blood glucose levels.

These effects, combined with reduced fatty acid synthase (FAS) expression, may help to stop the formation of lung tumor nodules.

Although the exact pathophysiology is currently unknown, Dr. Landau said that fish oil has also been shown to affect cell cycle arrest and induce programmed cell death — called “apoptosis” — in lung cancer cell lines.

“So, supplements or therapies that can shift the balance of cell cycle growth could theoretically augment the control of cancers,” he concluded.

This new study highlights the potential benefits of keto diets and omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil in cancer prevention strategies, emphasizing the importance of consuming healthier types of fat for optimal health outcomes.

According to Dr. Filingeri, the types of fat consumed in keto diets matter, but preventing cancer through diet is a complex issue that involves multiple factors such as physical activity, lifestyle, genetic predisposition, and more.

To reduce cancer risk related to diet and lifestyle, individuals should adopt multiple health-promoting behaviors, she explained.

Dr. Filingeri recommended discussing the keto diet with a medical doctor or registered dietitian before making any dietary changes.

Regarding the keto diet, Campbell concluded:

“There are much better dietary recommendations available that are more satisfying, more sustainable, and most importantly more evidence-based for cancer prevention [such as] plant-based and Mediterranean dietary patterns.”

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