Fish oils to boost skin health

Jan 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have launched a pioneering study to discover whether fatty acids found in oily fish could improve skin immunity, so reducing the risk of skin cancer.

The University of Manchester research, funded by leading cancer charity AICR (Association for International Cancer Research), will test whether dietary omega-3 can protect against the disease by boosting the body’s immune system.

More than 60 healthy women with nickel allergy - skin reactions to metal - will be sought to work with Professor Lesley Rhodes and her team in the Photobiology Unit at the University’s School of Medicine and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Hospital to see whether successful lab test results can be replicated in people.

Official figures record more than 67,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in the UK every year, making it the most common type of cancer, with over-exposure to sunlight being the principal cause.

Professor Rhodes, an internationally-recognised expert on skin cancer research, said: “The ultraviolet radiation present in sunlight is a complete carcinogen, both initiating and promoting cancer development.

“The UV radiation promotes cancer development through its ability to suppress the immune system in the skin. The immune system protects against skin cancer, probably by killing off cancerous cells before they can develop into a tumour.

“This research will explore whether dietary omega-3 fatty acids, as found in oily fish, can protect human skin from the immune suppression caused by UV light and hence reduce the risk of skin cancer.

“In animal studies, nutritional supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids protects against both UVR-induced immune suppression and skin cancer. This study will determine whether the same effect occurs in humans.”

Dr Mark Matfield, AICR’s scientific adviser believes this safe, dietary intervention could have considerable clinical benefit. He said: “Skin cancer is one of the fastest growing types of cancer, and the number of people diagnosed with the disease is expected to rise for at least the next 15 years. Even a modest degree of protection could have a substantial influence in reducing its impact at a population level.”

Norman Barrett, AICR's Chief Executive, says the grant, worth almost £175,000, is given in line with the charity's policy of funding the most exciting and novel approaches to research worldwide. He said: "It is important to fund work that pushes the boundaries and Professor Rhodes and her team are pursuing research which could in future change the lives of thousands of people in the UK and many more across the world.”

Provided by University of Manchester

Explore further: How pornography influences and harms sexual behavior

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exercising pets helps avoid fat cat and pudgy pooch

Jan 06, 2015

This time of year, busy schedules and frequently frigid weather make it harder to stick with healthy habits, such as taking the dog for a walk. Yet finding ways to exercise your dog and cat during the winter can benefit the ...

Activating hair growth with a little help from the skin

Dec 23, 2014

Restoring hair loss is a task undertaken not only by beauty practitioners. Previous studies have identified signals from the skin that help prompt new phases of hair growth. However, how different types of ...

Recommended for you

Vitamin D important for more than just bones

1 hour ago

Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin and the key to healthy bones. While these are true attributes, they only tell part of the story. In fact, most people do not get enough vitamin D from the sun, ...

Sugary drinks linked to earlier onset of menstrual periods

12 hours ago

Girls who frequently consume sugary drinks tend to start their menstrual periods earlier than girls who do not, according to new research published online today (Wednesday) in Human Reproduction, one of the world's leadin ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.