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A simple fat for all cancer patients...

Cancer prevention

A healthy fat that Reduces Cancer Growth

A new study has found that the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) has an anti-tumor function and has proven to dramatically reduce the expression of various types of cancers.

GLA is found in

  • grapeseed oil,

  • pumpkin seeds,

  • pine nuts,

  • pistachio nuts,

  • sunflower seeds (raw),

  • olive oil, olives,

  • borage oil,

  • evening primrose oil,

  • black currant seed oil &

  • chestnut oil.

GLA has been found to substantially reduced Her-2/neu protein levels on the expression of an oncogene

(An oncogene is a gene that causes the transformation of normal cells into cancerous tumor). HER-2 tissue testing is typically carried out in certain cancers (especially breast) to estimate the invasiveness of the cancer. The results of the test will dictate the most effective drugs to use. What is HER-2/neu?

HER2 stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.

It is a protein that is found on the surface of breast cells. It sends messages to the cell received from 'growth factors' outside the cell. Growth factors tell cells to grow and divide. What does it mean to be HER-2/neu positive? Everyone has the HER-2/neu protein.

But in some breast cancers, the cells produce many more of these proteins than normal.

A greater number of these proteins indicate a positive result and if few in number a negative result is indicated.

HER-2/neu positive breast cancers grow faster than HER-2/neu negative breast cancers. The more aggressive the cancer the more aggressive the treatment required.

Her-2/neu is an oncogene.

In about 20-30% of invasive breast cancers (and some other cancers, such as ovarian and bladder cancer), many more copies of the Her-2/neu gene are produced and its protein is over-expressed (an abnormally large amount of the protein is produced).

Tumors that have this over-expression tend to grow more aggressively and resist hormonal therapy and some chemotherapies, and patients generally have a poorer prognosis.

GLA treatment substantially reduced Her-2/neu protein levels in the Her-2/neu-overexpressing cell lines of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and gastrointestinal tumors.

It is highly likely a medical professional will test this marker for you. If not it can be done through lab tests online.

As I discuss with all of my patients any cancer should be managed and monitored closely. In the case of HER-2 integrating fats like GLA may be one of the keys to supporting your healing journey.

Paul Foley Nutritional Therapist Dip Nut CNM, mBANT, mCNH

Phone; 0759 793 6899 Email; Web;

This was adapted and edited with compliments from Functional Medicine University Paul is currently studying functional medicine with the university.


Menendez JA, Vellon L, Colomer R, Lupu R. Effect of gamma-linolenic acid on the transcriptional activity of the Her-2/neu (erbB-2) oncogene. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Nov 2;97(21):1611-5.

Menendez JA, Ropero S, Lupu R, Colomer R. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (18:3n-6) enhances docetaxel (Taxotere) cytotoxicity in human breast carcinoma cells: Relationship to lipid peroxidation and HER-2/neu expression. Oncol Rep. 2004 Jun;11(6):1241-52.

Menendez JA, del Mar Barbacid M, Montero S, Sevilla E, Escrich E, Solanas M, Cortes-Funes H, Colomer R. Effects of gamma-linolenic acid and oleic acid on paclitaxel cytotoxicity in human breast cancer cells. Eur J Cancer. 2001 Feb;37(3):402-13.

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