Skin cancer’s scary and way too common, so we hope you’re in the habit of slapping on sunscreen and you haven’t hit a tanning bed since 1995. Those are by far the easiest and best ways to protect yourself against this deadly disease, but a new study has revealed another potential weapon: fish oil.
Ultraviolet rays suppress the immune system and hinder the body’s ability to battle inflammation, infection, and diseases like skin cancer, which prompted a team of U.K. researchers to investigate whether omega-3-rich fish oil – a well-known anti-inflammatory – could help combat the damage. The researchers had seen this happen in mice, but the treatment hadn’t yet been tested on humans. The researchers gave study participants either 5 grams of fish oil or a placebo every day for three months and then stuck them under a light machine that simulated scorching midday sun. Sure enough, using various modes to measure immune suppression, they found that fish oil cut the fake sun’s impact by about half.
This is great news, especially since fish oil, along with other solid omega-3 sources such as flaxseed oil, wild-caught salmon, and trout, also protects your heart, brain, and more. Still, you don’t want to swap the Coppertone for fish oil. Keep using sunscreen, wearing hats, and doing all the smart things to stay safe in the sun, and then load up on omega-3s for bonus protection.