Avoid Endometriosis With Omega-3 Oils

Women who make sure to include in their diets those foodstuffs which are rich in Omega-3 oils, may be lowering their risk for developing endometriosis. Meantime, those who consume foods that are heavy in trans-fats may be raising their profile for the condition. This is according to the largest study yet to focus on the link between diet and the risk for endometriosis.

Major Finding

A finding of major importance came out of this first prospective study on diet and endometriosis: the identification of a risk factor for endometriosis that can be modified. The researchers discovered that the total amount of dietary fat did not affect the risk for endometriosis, which was found to be affected instead by the type of fat consumed.

Those women who ingested the most long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids lowered their risk for endometriosis by 22% when compared to those who ate the least amount of these oils. Those women who ate the highest amount of trans-fats increased their risk for endometriosis by 48% in comparison with those who ate the lowest amounts of these fats. 

Just Trans-Fats

The participants in this study included 70,709 American nurses who were observed over a period of 12 years. The study has been written up in the online European medical journal Human Reproduction. The study helps give support to the idea that eliminating unhealthy trans-fats from our diets rather than eliminating all dietary fats is the direction we need to take toward a better state of health. This is according to study author Dr. Stacey Missmer, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Missmer says that while more studies need to be done to confirm these findings, it seems clear that foods rich in Omega-3 fats protect women against endometriosis while trans-fats offer a significant rise in the risk for developing this painful condition.

Missmer and colleagues collected data from 1989-2001 on 70,709 women enrolled in the U.S. Nurses Health Study. The participants filled out 3 food-frequency questionnaires over a four-year period designed to offer a picture of the dietary habits of the women during the previous year. Dietary fats were divided into five levels. The information was then used to determine a link from these fats to the eventual development of endometriosis in the women.

Endometriosis was diagnosed in 1,199 of the female participants by the study's end. The researchers adjusted for outside factors that might influence the results, for example, body mass index (BMI), number of children, race, and total caloric intake.   

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