Breast cancer and oxygen deficiency – a hypothesis

In the 1950s, Dr. Otto Warburg discovered that inadequate levels of oxygen in tissue cells increased their risk of becoming cancerous. Extensive research by Brian Peskin (including Otto’s work) suggested that:

  • Reduced oxygenation of cells and their mitochondrial organelles may occur when insufficient levels of the two triply essential fatty acids (TEFAs – linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid) are present in the cell and mitochondrial membranes, making it more difficult for oxygen to diffuse back and forth between the bloodstream into the interiors of the cell and its mitochondria
  • These insufficient levels are probably caused by inadequate levels of triply essential fatty acids in the diet
  • Insufficient levels of the two triply essential fatty acids in the diet may explain the current epidemic of breast cancer

Breast fat tissue cells are more likely to become cancerous than many other cells:

  • Several areas of the breasts consist of (and need to maintain) exceptionally high levels of fatty tissue (80-95%), nearly double those found in muscle (50%)
  • To be healthy, breast fat tissue cell membranes need very high TEFA concentrations, whereas muscle fat tissue cell membranes, for instance, only need ~30% concentration

Because …

  • organs like the brain, heart, lungs and kidneys take priority when it comes to the body’s use of the two triply essential fatty acids (TEFAs)
  • the average diet in more industrially developed countries delivers so little

… there will often not be enough left over TEFAs to maintain the membranes of the breast tissue cells and mitochondria. According to this hypothesis, if the membranes of breast tissue cells and their mitochondria are frequently deprived of sufficient TEFAs, breast tissue cell and mitochondria oxygen deficiency might become very significant, and breast cancer might become one of the top cancer sites in women worldwide (which it is).


A study comparing the intakes of the omega-6 TEFA linoleic acid) and breast cancer levels supports Brian’s hypothesis. Involving over 80,000 nurses, it found that the group which had had the lowest intakes of linoleic acid had experienced the highest incidences of breast cancer. (1)


1 Willet,WC et al. New England Journal of Medicine 1987;316(1):22-28

(17621)  Nick Anderson. Green Health Watch 54 22.12.2018

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