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real maverick

Is Fish Oil The New Sunscreen?

Found this article and found it rather interesting.

I was thinking of adding fish oil back in to my diet anyway, as I've recent studies have been suggesting more and more that it helps support your immune system. This is definitely even more reason!

Researchers at Manchester University found that volunteers given omega-3 supplements were better able to ward off the potential harmful effects of sunshine, than those given a dummy pill.

The academics emphasised their study was by no means conclusive proof of a protective effect, but said it “adds to the evidence that omega-3 is a potential nutrient to protect against skin cancer”.

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Interesting study. I found the results fairly surprising, to be honest. As I understand, normally omega 3 fatty acids would suppress the immune system (since omega-3 EPA and arachidonic acid both compete for the same enzyme, COX-2, which turns AA into inflammatory prostanoids). Of course that can be a good thing, as often quite a lot of the tissue damage after an infection is caused by the immune system going berserk (too much inflammation etc) rather than the actual pathogen causing the damage. But it's good to keep in mind that overdosing on omega 3 would definitely not support the immune system, as it would downregulate the defense mechanisms against pathogens. Here is a good example of how too much omega 3 can be harmful in some cases.

I can't really explain or understand the mechanism behind the stronger immune response for those who got omega 3 in the study you linked to. I suppose things often tend to be fairly complex when it comes to the human body.

But anyway, I agree that omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for most people. I take cod liver oil on a regular basis and have found that it tends to help with inflamed acne and make me feel better in general.

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No! Fish oil and other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, can offer some sun protection, but in the studies I've seen they show moderate effect but I wouldn't trust them as sun screens. If my memory serves me right some studies showed that antioxidants can double the amount of sunshine skin can take before it burns. So they can help, but I wouldn't count them as sunscreens.

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