Infographic for PCN Post Chemo Nutrition blog post titled Fatty Acids & Cancer

Fatty Acids and Cancer

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly  

Do you wonder the answers to these fatty acids and cancer questions?  Let's dive in!

What kind of fatty acids are good and safe to eat after going through Radiation or Chemotherapy?

Did you know that there are GOOD FATS that are CRITICAL for optimal health and cancer prevention?

What kind of fats are best for cancer prevention?

Did you know that there are BAD FATS that can contribute to cancer and Inflammation?

Avocado cut in half on cutting board with knife

First of all, there are huge differences in the quality of fats and fat sources.

Some fats are very toxic, dangerous and Cancer causing, while others are critical for optimal health, hormone production, preventing and possibly even reversing cancer.

Above all, healthy fats play a critical role in reducing inflammation and cancer, by protecting our DNA and heart, making hormones, providing energy for our brain and so much more.

BACKGROUND ON FATS:

There are about 600 different types of lipids / fats that are relevant to our health.

Our bodies make most of these fatty acids from healthy foods that we eat.

EXCEPT

There are two fatty acids that our bodies can’t make, these are called Essential Fatty Acids7.  Being essential for life, it is imperative to incorporate these 2 types of fats into our diets.

These 2 Essential Fatty Acids consist of an Omega 3 (Linolenic) and Omega 6 (Linoleic). These EFAs require a specific balance or ratio for optimal health, reduced inflammation and cancer prevention.

Therefore, the correct omega-6/omega-3 ratio should be about 3 to 1 (1).  This basically means we should have a little more omega 6s than 3s in our diet.  However, most people eat a Standard American Diet (SAD) consisting of way more omega 6s than 3s.  In fact, most people tested have a ratio
closer to 30 to 1 for omega 6s to omega 3s. This is the perfect recipe for chronic inflammation and disease!

Too many omega 6s in the diet have been found to be a huge contributing factor towards:

  • Inflammation
  • Chronic Diseases
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity & Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Poor Immune System
  • Poor Metabolism
  • Joint Pains
  • Brain Fog
  • Muscle & Joint Pains
Healthy woman in a sundress riding a bicycle through a park

THE GOOD

Furthermore, healthy fats are required and necessary to help you get or stay healthy as well as overcome and prevent different types of cancer, inflammation, and diseases.

Good fats aid in reducing inflammation, balance hormones, boost your immune system, reduce pain, increase metabolisms, and assist with optimal brain function.

There are 5 rules to follow to help you find the best and most appropriate fats for consumption whether you are dealing with, or merely trying to prevent cancer.

The 5 Rules of Fat for Cancer and Better Health

Rule #1: Eat Animal Fats

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2010 (9), published a meta-analysis of 350,000 people over a 5 to 23 year period of time; the analysis found no association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease.  It has been scientifically proven over and over that sugar, not fat, is the real problem with cardiovascular disease and cancer. (2)

  • Grass-Fed Beef contains 2 to 5 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef
  • Diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids lead to homeostasis and weight loss. (1)
  • EPA and DHA are Omega 3 Fats found ONLY in fatty fish and provide amazing benefits:
  • Anti-Inflammatory and Blocks Inflammation (1)
  • Vasodilating
  • Blood Thinning
  • Reduces Cachexia (muscle wasting from cancer)
  • Inhibits Metastasis (spreading of cancer)
  • Promotes Apoptosis (death of cancerous cells)
  • Modifies cell signaling (better cell communication and repair)
  • Increases Immune System
  • Inhibits Tumor Angiogenesis (no new blood flow to tumor)
  • DHA restores insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle
  • EPA and DHA regulate glucose utilization and insulin sensitivity (diabetes). (1)
  • Block COX Enzymes helping reduce pain, inflammation, cancer and more.

Side note:

For clarity purposes, I have seen many research papers done showing animal fats are bad for us, however these studies are done using traditional confined, hormone injected and antibiotic induced animals, which have a much different composition than the free range  cows that are only fed grass (as nature and God intended).

Rule #2: Eat a Balanced Array of Fats

1/3 Saturated: Butter, Ghee, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Beef Tallow

1/3 Monounsaturated: Avocados, Olive Oil, Almonds, Macadamia Nuts

1/3 Polyunsaturated: Fatty Fish, Flaxseeds, Walnuts, Pine Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds

Rule #3: Eat Quality Fats

  • Choose organic, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.  Known to protect against cancer of the breast, colon and skin.
  • Choose organic, raw, (ideally soaked and sprouted if possible) and or dehydrated plant seeds and nuts, milks, butters, oils and flours:  (No peanuts or cashews = legumes)
    • Brazil Nuts
    • Almonds
    • Chia seeds
    • Flax seeds
    • Hazelnut
    • Macadamia
    • Pecan
    • Pine nut
    • Pistachio
    • Pumpkin
    • Sesame and Oil
    • Sunflower
    • Walnuts
    • Coconut – shredded, creams, milks, oils, flour and aminos
    • Avocado and Oil
    • Duck fat
    • MCT oil
Jar of healthy fat almonds
  • Organic Full-fat pasture raised, grass fed and fermented dairy products
  • Full fat cheeses
    • Pastured butter
    • Ghee
    • Sour cream
    • Cream cheese
    • Ricotta cheese
    • Plain full fat yogurt
    • Whey protein powder
  • Healthy Wild Caught Fish
    • Mackerel
    • Salmon
    • Cod Liver Oil
    • Herring
    • Oysters
    • Sardines
    • Anchovies
    • Caviar

Rule #4: Cook with Correct Temperature

NEVER cook an oil past its “smoke point”.  High heat will turn a healthy fat into a very toxic, rancid fat releasing cancer causing free radicals.

  • NEVER cook with Olive, Flax or Hemp oil
  • Best High Heat Cooking Oils:
  • Butter 350° F
  • Ghee 485° F
  • Coconut Oil or Red Palm Oil 350° F
  • Beef Tallow 420° F
  • Avocado Oil 520° F.

Side Note: My favorite cooking oil is Avocado Oil

Rule #5: Use High-Fat Diets as a Therapeutic Approach:

Ketogenic Diets help weaken and starve cancerous cells, reset hormones, repair cells, reduce angiogenesis, reduces tumor size and helps treatments while reducing side effects (5,6).

  • High Fats (75%): Avocados, Coconut Oil, Butter, Raw Seeds and Nuts, Olive Oil, Eggs.
    • Low Carbohydrates (5%): Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Celery, Collard Greens, Kale, Spinach.
    • Low Protein (20%): Wild Fish and Seafood, Organic Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Pastured Poultry, Wild Game, Fermented Dairy and Organic Grass-Fed Raw Full Fat Dairy.

THE BAD

Bad fats are the most affordable and have the longest shelf life of all fats. Thus, they are the most common form of fats found in our diets…especially if we eat out!

  • Avoid ALL pro-inflammatory polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils:  Margarine, Vegetable Shortening, Soybean, Canola, Grapeseed, Cottonseed, Safflower and Corn Oils.
  • Steer clear of ALL trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats brands like Earth balance, Crisco, Smart Balance, Country Crock and I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter.
  • Avoid Partially Hydrogenated Fats: Margarine, most commercial baked foods, most fast food, most processed foods such as crackers, imitation cheese products, potato chips, french fries, vegetable shortening, commercial peanut butter and instant foods such as microwave popcorn, cake and biscuit mixes.
  • Stay away from animal meat fed corn.  Grain-fed beef is higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which triggers the inflammatory pathway (4).
  • Eating more omega 6 rich foods with wrong ratio of 6:3 has been found to cause as much as 40 times increased level of DNA damage and has been found to be a major cause for the significant increase in the prevalence of being overweight and obesity. (1,3)
  • High fat diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to increase the risk of leptin resistance, diabetes, and  obesity in humans and rodents (1).
  • High Omega 6 Levels has been found to decrease mitochondrial function.
  • A diet high in omega-6 has been found to Increase (1):
    • Leptin and Insulin resistance (1).
    • Triglycerides
    • Hepatic Steatosis
    • Fatty Acid Oxidation
  • COX 2 Enzymes increase with high o6 levels triggering cancer promoting inflammation.
  • High levels of COX-2 also cause patients to become resistant to Chemotherapy and Radiation. So, if you have to go through those again, you stand a better chance of it working the 2nd time around.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids block the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) which helps reduce pain levels.

Side Note

Myth: Eggs and Cholesterol rich foods increase cholesterol.

Truth: your body makes cholesterol and most of it comes from carbohydrates and sugars processed by your liver, not the foods you eat. Therefore, avoiding processed sugary foods will almost always lower bad cholesterol levels.

THE UGLY

There is a lot of confusing information presented to us by our doctors and the media.  How do we know what is true, misleading, good or bad?  Unfortunately, you have to be a research geek doctor like me to really weed through these studies, sponsors and accuracy.  For me, my extensive research, experience, belief in God and common sense has led me to the conclusion that most of this misleading information about saturated fats and animal fats being bad for us are not really true due to the fact that most studies we hear or read about use confined feeding animals.

These confined animals consist of higher levels of these bad omega 6 fats, which are bad and inflammatory to our bodies.

The History

Then we have the history of the sugar industry looking for a scapegoat to take the burden from sugar being bad for us to fats being bad by paying for result driven studies and buying off politicians.

Since the 70’s we have been falsely misled by the sugar industry and media to villainize fats as the culprit for many health ailments.  However, in 2016 it was confirmed and published in the JAMA Internal Medicine that The Sugar Association, in the 70s, paid 3 Harvard scientist a lot of money to falsely make fat look like the cause of heart disease and not sugar.  Many false misleading studies have been done since then, fortunately good research has caught up and found that this is not the case.

CONCLUSION:

We all get to decide what is best for us, what makes us feel best and what we prefer. Ultimately for me, if you want to be healthy, prevent or even help fight cancer, then a properly balanced healthy fat and ketogenic diet is ideal.

For those of you that prefer to not eat meats, that is definitely ok.  Just remember, you have to really focus on getting in your plant or fish-based omega 3s from the list above.

Side Note:

You can only get in the brain boosting DHA omega 3 from fish sources, so if you don’t eat fish then you better take a high quality, non-toxic, clean, high DHA fish oil supplement like OmegaBrain (coming soon).

Side Note 2:

B12 is a critical nutrient for many bodily functions and it is mostly found in meats, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy products.  So, if you don’t eat any of
those foods regularly, then you should supplement with a B12 supplement like our PCN Advanced B12 Lozenge or get B12 injections (of course it is
always ideal to get your B12 blood levels tested).

There is a saying, “we are what we eat”.  If we are to eat too many omega 6 inflammatory causing foods through our standard American Diet (SAD) simply by choosing what is the most affordable or convenient, then we have only ourselves to blame for the outcome of having an inflamed body with a poor immune system.

If we rely on trusting the companies that make a ton of money from us by selling us these toxic and cheap foods, the doctors who have little to no training in health and nutrition, or believe that the government is here to protect us and would never allow bad foods to be sold to us (like GMOs, pesticides, alcohol, cigarettes, asbestos, foods banned in other countries, recalled medications and toxic vegetable oils), then we are all in a world of hurt.  We must rely on our own common sense and judgment if we want to get or stay healthy.

Please check out our other great resources:

Cachexia, Weight Loss and Cancer

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Sources and References
  1. Nutrients. 2016 Mar; 8(3): 128. Published online 2016 Mar 2. doi: 10.3390/nu8030128 An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity
  2. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carbs-against-cardio/
  3. “omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and dna adducts,”  food and chemical toxicology 35, no. 10-11 (October/November 1997): 1131, doi:10.1016 / s0278-6915(97)90098-3.
  4. The Nutrition Journal, March 10, 2010 (5), published: “A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef.”
  5. “Does Sugar Feed Cancer?” University of Utah Health Sciences; August 18, 2009
  6. “Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer?” Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011; 8: 75. Published online 2011 Oct 26. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-75
  7. J Diet Suppl. 2009;6(2):143-61. doi: 10.1080/19390210902861841. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22435414/

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