Fish Oil Might Be a New Hero in the Fight Against Leukemia

Every year, leukemia develops in an estimated 43,000 people, making it the most common form of cancer among children. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society states that people between the ages of 1 and 19 account for 27 percent of all cases. Recently, an exciting breakthrough has been made by scientists from Penn State, who discovered that a natural substance found in fish oil may be the key to a cure for this disease.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid and its Cancer-Fighting Compound

The researchers discovered that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid present in fish and fish oil, can be used to create a compound that effectively fights leukemia cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their numerous health benefits, such as their positive impact on the cardiovascular system, but this new revelation has the potential to change the way leukemia is treated.

According to researcher Sandeep Prabhu, the most important finding was that the cancer disappeared in the mice and did not relapse. In the future, the scientists plan to develop this compound to treat end-stage leukemia, also known as Blast Crisis, for which there is currently no treatment or cure.

Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in your Diet

Incorporating more omega-3 fatty acids into your daily diet not only provides the aforementioned benefits for heart health and brain development in infants, but also has positive effects on mental health, weight management, and eye health, among other advantages.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times a week for a healthy diet, particularly fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna. These types of fish have high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, which support optimal health.

Natural Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish and fish oil are not the only sources of omega-3 fatty acids; other natural ingredients with this beneficial nutrient include:

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans

Incorporating these and other rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fortified eggs, can lead to healthier meals and a more balanced intake of key nutrients.

Adding Omega-3 Fatty Acids to your Diet

It’s important to remember that while supplements are a convenient way to add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, it’s always best to obtain nutrients through natural foods sources. Here are a few simple ways to add more omega-3 fats to your diet:

  • Snack on walnuts or add a handful to your favorite recipes, like oatmeal, yogurt, or salads.
  • Replace vegetable oil with flaxseed oil when cooking, or simply sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto your favorite dishes.
  • Try using chia seeds as an egg substitute in baking recipes or blend them into your morning smoothie for a nutritional boost.

Proceed with Caution

As exciting as the potential cancer-fighting properties of omega-3 fatty acids are, it’s important to remember that excessive consumption can lead to increased risk for bleeding, higher levels of blood sugar, and even a weakened immune response. Fish is also susceptible to environmental pollutants like mercury, which can cause significant health problems when ingested in large amounts. Be sure to consult a healthcare professional before increasing your omega-3 intake drastically.


The breakthrough discovery that a compound derived from omega-3 fatty acids can be used to fight leukemia is promising, not only for the future development of effective treatments for this devastating disease but also as another reason to boost the intake of these essential fats. Thanks to their multiple health benefits, including the new potential for cancer fighting, it has never been more important to ensure a sufficient daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids.