Men taking fish-oil supplements hoping for health benefits, may be increasing their risk for prostate cancer, particularly more aggressive forms of it.
This comes from a study published yesterday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and follows an analysis last year of 20 fish-oil studies that concluded that supplements offer no clear heart benefits.
This is the second study that the authors have done in which they found an association and conclude that men would be well-served to skip supplements. Others are already finding this study controversial, especially since the relationship between fatty acids and cancer is not well understood.
The study was not focused on supplements or fish oils specifically, it was a study that examined the blood concentration of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in 834 with prostate cancer and 1,393 men without prostate cancer. The study found an association between high levels of omega-3 fatty acid levels and the occurrence of prostate cancer.
This does not necessitate that there is a clear link between the two and the warring against men taking fish oil supplements has more to do with caution than anything else. Supplements provide higher doses of what you take them for than your body usually needs or can actually process.
ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said, “This is not proof that omega 3’s cause prostate cancer.”
If anything, Besser added, the finding should reinforce the notion that better dietary health does not necessarily come in pill form.
“If you want omega 3’s, get them from food,” Dr. Besser said. “The more we look at supplements, the more untoward consequences we find.”
It would seem that our culture, as well as parts of our industry, that would have us believe that a new pill will make us better, more attractive, healthier, etc, is finding more and more resistance from science.
If nothing else, it would seem that this study may support the balanced, whole foods kind of diet than anything else. Plants, in particular, are perfect little chemical factories. They make so many different things, in just the perfect balance, and these are what we evolved with. Our bodies are suited for whole foods and the balance of chemicals present in them.
We are finding, and will continue to find, that trying to isolate some chemical or other and saying ‘this, here, is the answer,’ is becoming not only more and more dangerous, but less and less scientifically true.