People who take omega-3 supplements could be protecting themselves against skin cancer, say researchers at Manchester University.
A study of the effect of omega-3 fish oils on 79 volunteers found those taking a regular dose of fish oils boosted their skin's immunity to sunlight.
Around 100,000 people in the UK received a non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis in the UK in 2010, according to the most recent figures available from Cancer Research UK.
Participants in the Manchester study took a 4g dose of omega-3 a day – about one and a half portions of oily fish – and were then exposed to the equivalent of either eight, 15 or 30 minutes of summer midday sun in using a special light machine.
Another set of volunteers took a dummy dose before also being exposed to the light machine.
Researchers found that immunosuppression was 50 oer cent lower in people who took the omega supplement and were exposed to eight and 15 minutes of sun compared with people who took the placebo.
Professor Lesley Rhodes from Manchester's Photobiology Unit Dermatology Centre said: "This study adds to the evidence that omega-3 is a potential nutrient to protect against skin cancer.
"Although the changes we found when someone took the oil were small, they suggest that a continuous low level of chemoprevention from taking omega-3 could reduce the risk of skin cancer over an individual’s lifetime."
Posted by Edward Bartel
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