CancerOmega-3 Fatty AcidsOmega-6 Fatty Acids

Intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids and the risk of bowel cancer

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina evaluated the relationship between distal large bowel cancer and omega-3 intake in Caucasians and African Americans.

First, the details.

  • The medical records of 1,872 Caucasians and African Americans were evaluated.
  • Increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with reduced risk of distal large bowel cancer in Caucasians.
  • Greater intake of 2 types of omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acids and docosahexaenoic acids — was related to a lower risk of distal large bowel cancer risk.
  • The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a significantly increased risk of distal large bowel cancer in whites, but not among African Americans.

The bottom line?

It’s possible the smaller number of African Americans (369) included in the study population might have influenced the results.

The authors concluded, “Whether or not the possible benefit of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids varies by race warrants further evaluation.”

5/19/10 19:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.