(NaturalNews) Researchers from Lund University in Malmo, Sweden, have discovered a connection between a higher intake of omega-6 fatty acids and an increased risk of breast cancer, in a study published in the International Journal of Cancer.
"[A diet] very high in omega-6 ... may promote breast cancer development," they wrote.
The researchers were investigating the connection between breast cancer, omega-6s, and chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HAs), which form in animal flesh that is cooked at high temperatures. Previous research has implicated HAs as carcinogens, and rats consuming HAs as part of a diet that is also high in omega-6s have been found to have an even higher or risk of breast cancer than rats eating HAs alone.
In the current study, researchers evaluated the diets of 11,699 women over the age of 49 who were taking part in the Malmo Diet and Cancer Study, then followed those women for ten years. Contrary to expectations, women who consumed the highest levels of HAs did not have a breast cancer risk significantly different than women who consumed the lowest levels. Women who had both a low HA consumption and a high intake of omega-6s, however, did demonstrate a significantly elevated breast cancer risk.
"The interaction in the present study between omega-6 PUFAs and HAs is not easily explained, and points toward the importance of examining the impact of food patterns rather than the influence of single dietary factors," the researchers wrote.
The researchers suggested that one explanation for the findings might come from the fact that women with a high consumption of low-fiber bread products also had elevated levels of blood fats and insulin, both of which are risk factors for breast cancer. In the current analysis, low intake of HAs was correlated with a higher intake of bread, cakes and cookies, suggesting that some factor other than HA intake itself might have led to the increased vulnerability to omega-6s.