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According to researchers at the University of Manchester, taking omega-3 fish oils could help protect against skin cancer.

The team has just completed the first clinical study examining the effects of fish oils on skin immunity in volunteers. Led by Professor Lesley Rhodes, Professor of Experimental Dermatology at the Dermatology Center of the University’s Photobiology Unit, the study analyzed the effects of omega-3 ingestion on 79 healthy volunteers.

The results of the study, funded by the Association for International Cancer Research (renamed Worldwide Cancer Research in 2015), found that regular consumption of fish oils boosted skin’s immunity to sunlight. In particular, it also reduced the sunlight-induced suppression of the immune system known as immunosuppression, which affects the body’s ability to fight skin cancer and infections. The results were published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Professor Rhodes, who works in the photobiology department at the university’s School of Medicine and the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said it was the first time the research had been done on humans. “Studies in mice have been done in the past in this area, but this is the first time a clinical study has been done directly in humans,” she said. “It has taken a few years to get to this stage and the results are very exciting.

“This study adds to the evidence that omega-3 is a potential nutrient for protecting against skin cancer. Although the changes we saw from taking the oil were minor, it suggests persistently low levels of chemoprevention from ingesting it Omega-3 could reduce the risk of skin cancer over the course of a person’s life. “

Patients who volunteered for the study took a 4g dose of omega-3 daily, equivalent to about one and a half servings of fatty fish, and were then exposed to a special alternator in Manchester for either 8, 15, or 30 minutes of summer Sunday. Other patients took a placebo before exposure to the alternator. Immunosuppression was 50% lower in people who took the preparation and who were exposed to the sun for 8 and 15 minutes than in those who did not take the preparation. The study showed little impact on those in the 30-minute group.

The results are important in the fight against skin cancer, as previous research has shown that sunscreens are often inadequately used and only worn during the holiday periods. However, Professor Rhodes stressed that omega-3s are not a substitute for sunscreen and physical protection and that omega-3s should be viewed as an additional small measure to protect the skin from sun damage. It has already been shown that the fish oil has many beneficial effects on health, such as: B. in cardiovascular diseases. This means that taking the supplement can lead to a number of potential health benefits. Professor Rhodes’ team is now continuing their research with additional omega-3 studies being carried out on healthy volunteers at Salford Royal. The University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK and Christie Cancer Hospital have teamed up to create a Manchester Cancer Research Center.

In the UK, around 100,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were diagnosed in 2010, according to the latest figures from Cancer Research UK, making it an extremely common cancer.

Dr. Helen Rippon, AICR’s chief scientist, said, “Skin cancer has been one of the fastest growing cancers and the number is likely to keep increasing. It’s always exciting to see what research AIRC has funded to produce such promising results, and we look forward to future developments in this area. “

Article changed April 22, 2015 to reflect the name change from AICR to Worldwide Cancer Research.

Notes for editors

Professor Rhodes is available for an interview.

The research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Click here to view a copy of the journal online.
The randomized, controlled, double-blind nutrition study was funded by the Association for International Cancer Research with nearly £ 200,000. The omega-3 oil was provided by Croda International plc and the packaging by GP Solutions.

For more information please contact:
Alison Barbuti
Representative for media relations
Faculty of Medicine and Human Sciences
The University of Manchester
Tel .: 0161 275 8383
Mobile: 07887 561 318
Email: alison.barbuti@manchester.ac.uk

About AICR
AICR does not receive any government grants and relies entirely on fundraising for its income. Unlike many UK-based charities, AICR does not limit its support to this country. It is the world’s leading charity funding cancer research.

AICR is currently funding 182 active projects: 76 in the UK and 106 overseas. That is 178 scientists in 18 countries. The cost of this research is £ 34,677,781. The AICR’s total research spending to date is £ 159,047,292 – for 1,882 projects in 32 different countries.

The 18 countries currently receiving grants are: Australia (13); Canada (2); Denmark (3); Finland (1); France (8); Germany (5); Greece (3); Israel (4); Italy (25); Netherlands (13); Portugal (1); Spain (15); Sweden (2); Switzerland (5); USA (6); Great Britain: – England (58); Scotland (15); Wales (3).

For more information about the work of AICR or to find out how the charity can be supported please call 01334 477910 or visit www.aicr.org.uk. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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