A study which has recently been published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology saw 35,000 middle-aged women taking oily fish supplements regularly over a period of six years. After analysing the data researchers found that the incidence of breast cancer was reduced by almost a third (32 per cent).
The market for fish supplements currently stands at around $2bn globally (2007) and will reach an estimated $2.5bn by 2012. If this study receives further research and confirmation that figure could see itself rocketing even higher.
Emily White, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Seattle, Washington, led the study showing a protective effect against cancer. In response to the findings she has said the protective effect may be related to the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements being higher than most people would typically achieve from their diets.
However, she warned that the findings were preliminary. “Without confirming studies specifically addressing this we should not draw any conclusions about a causal relationship.”