Friday, September 10, 2010

Something FIshy with Neuroblastoma

If you go back in my diary over the years you will find one recurring theme, my fascination with fish oil. In fact, at times, I have to admit it had even turned into an obsession. It all started back in 2006 with a study from the Karolinska Institute which showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in abundance in fish oil, killed neuroblastoma cells. This obsession eventually led to two major frustrations with DHA.

First, the dosages which showed activity in animal models would be excessive in humans. While I don't know whether there is a linear dosing relationship between mice and humans, the most effective dose for mice was around 1 gram per kilogram. If you compare that to the dosing of DHA found in health food stores you would be looking at swallowing a plate full of pills. In Sydney's case, she would need to swallow about 50 fish oil pills a day.

Second, I also had frustration that no one was moving the science forward quickly enough. I spent several years writing and prodding researchers to move the research forward with little luck. Even at high doses I new DHA could be delivered safely. While I truly believed in the idea behind DHA there just wasn't enough evidence (even in my mind) that DHA should be put into kids without additional compelling evidence.

Well, this year my fire has been reignited and I find myself somewhat justified that I have continued to supplement Sydney with DHA over the years. (Yes, I did that.) I want to be clear, though. I have not been giving her monstrous doses. I did it under doctor supervision. I have also been dosing her in a safe and healthy manner in an effort to balance her omega 3s and omega 6s which I will show to be very important in a disease like neuroblastoma. Regardless, more has been published about DHA use in neuroblastoma in 2010 and I thought it was worth revisiting. Over the next week, I plan to write a series of articles on this subject and make a strong argument for pushing the science forward more quickly.

Fish oil is not snake oil and I plan to use my purpose to show it.

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