I recommend omega-3 fish oil for everyone. It’s one of those nutrients that we simply don’t get enough of in the diet, and the studies in support of its health benefits outnumber any other supplement. While most of the studies in support of omega-3 are focused on heart health or brain health, the benefits of these oils reach far beyond heart and brain. Simply type “omega-3” into the search box of my blog and you will find page upon page of information about these healthy fats—and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is taking fish oil benefits to the next level. The study investigated the effect of omega-3 EPA and DHA on skin immunity to sunlight in 79 healthy people. The researchers found that people who took 5 grams of fish oil containing 3.5 grams EPA and 0.5 grams DHA for 30 days experienced 50 percent lower immune suppression when exposed to the equivalent of up to 15 minutes of sunlight on three consecutive days when compared to people who had taken only a placebo.
What that means is that the skin of people who had taken fish oil was more protected against the process of skin cancer development. The results were small, however, and it’s important to note that protection was not found when people were exposed to 30 minutes of sunlight. Most people stay out in the sun longer than 30 minutes. Also, this was a high fish oil dosage, more than the usual daily dosage of fish oil.
While the results of this study are interesting, we’ll need to see more studies to fully understand fish oil’s role in skin cancer protection. In the meantime, keep taking your omega-3 fish oil, and wear sunblock if you plan to be out in the sun for more than a few minutes. I’ll keep you posted when more studies emerge on this topic.