Terrible news out of the medical world today as a new study has shown that fish oil, once touted for its many health benefits, may cause prostate cancer in men. The Seattle Times reports that the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found a link between fish oil and an increased risk of prostate cancer. The study also showed that even eating an abundance of fatty fish could also cause the same link to be observed.
For many years, we have been hearing about the benefits of ingesting fish oil. The supplement has been claimed to cure depression, reduce anxiety, protect heart health and be an excellent anti-inflammatory. Given its anti-inflammatory effects, many assumed, and some studies have even shown, that it could actually be preventative in cancer, but now scientists have found that the exact opposite may be true.
The Seattle Times Reports:
The study analyzed levels of omega-3 fatty acids — the type of oil found in some fish — in the blood of 834 men who developed prostate cancer race- and age-matched with 1,393 men who did not. Men who had the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids had a 43 percent increase in risk for prostate cancer and 71 percent increase in risk for the high-grade prostate cancer that is the most likely to be fatal.
While scientists are uncertain about exactly why the link exists, researcher Alan Kristal points out the possible dangers of taking large amounts of any vitamin, supplement or over the counter pill. “Humans are designed for a certain level of micronutrients, and huge doses may not be good. More micronutrients does not mean better health and sometimes means worse,” he said.
Indeed, even over the counter supplements, which are generally considered to be safe, can pose major risks when taken in over-abundant doses. Tumeric, for example, is a spice that is widely and commonly used in Indian cooking and taken as a supplement for its alleged anti-inflammatory properties. However, when taken in very large doses for an extended period of time, it can raise the liver enzymes to a dangerous level. In some patients, this can result in the need for invasive further testing such as a biopsy, which, in turn, brings its own risks to the table.
When supplement makers say “check with your doctor,” that advice should be taken very seriously. And even if a physician approves a certain supplement, the dosage instructions on the bottle should be followed very closely. In addition, all medications, vitamins and over the counter supplements should be cross-checked against each other to determine if there are possible drug interactions.
The results of this newest study have been published in a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. While the results of the study showing a definite link between fish oil and prostate cancer are somewhat confusing to researchers since other studies have shown conflicting information, Kristal is still advising that men stay away from fish oil for now, until more studies can be completed.
By: Rebecca Savastio
Source: The Seattle Times