Scientists at Texas A&M University have gained new insight into how diet affects colon cancer. Eating mostly corn oil or fish oil can affect the fatty acid composition of cell membranes, which in turn can affect whether a cell will become cancerous. The study was performed on rats, which were injected with a carcinogen known to induce colon cancer (azoxymethane). The scientists then looked at individual cells of the colons of the rats fed either fish oil or corn oil diet.
The researchers, led by Joanne R. Lupton, a professor who holds appointments in animal science, food science and technology, nutritional sciences and veterinary anatomy and public health and holder of the William W. Allen Endowed Chair in Nutrition, and Raymond J. Carroll, Distinguished Professor of Statistics, Nutrition and Toxicology says, "Fish oil seems to protect against colon cancer while corn oil not only does not protect against it but appears to promote it."
Lupton stated that when the fatty acid composition of the cell membranes in the colon is changed, it sets up a different fate for the cell. A signal can go from the cellular membrane to the nucleus of the cell and tell it either to divide and become a tumor or give up the ghost and undergo programmed cell death. The fish oil favors a better cell membrane, which is cancer protective. Fish oil and corn oil diets might create different chemical environments in the colon. BIO-MEGA 3 from Biotics Research is a very pure source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is obtained from small fish in the Southern Hemisphere, free of dioxins and mercury. Biotics extensively tests its products for purity and quality.