Another study that brings more confusion and questions than answers.
I’m talking about the study published last week that indicated men who had high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in supplements, EPA, DPA and DHA was linked to a higher rate of prostate cancer. The study found an increase in the risk of high stage prostate cancer by 71%, and a 44% greater chance of developing low grade disease.
Well…this isn’t the first time that fish oils have been under attack. A study published in 2011 made a connection between high blood levels of DHA with a doubling of the risk of high grade prostate cancer. Other studies have concluded that omega-3 fatty acids do not lower stroke or heart attack risk.
On the other hand, there are also plenty of studies that promote eating fatty fish twice per week and that supplementation is safe and effective in helping reduce cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, depression, osteoporosis, ADHD, bipolar disease, cognitive decline, skin disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, macular degeneration, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and yes…even prostate cancer. Whew!! The list goes on.
Ugh!! What to believe?
Researchers have flip-flopped their view on the risks versus benefits of foods and supplements for years. As the comedian Lewis Black put it in 2000 about a controversial study about eggs, “They said they’re good, they’re bad, they’re good, the whites are good, the yolks are bad…. Make up your mind! It’s breakfast; I’ve gotta eat!”
We need to remember that using the PSA (Prostate specific antigen) for screening is not very specific at all. Only 1 out of 25 positive PSA tests (and even biopsies) will truly be a cancer that would save a man’s life. The other 24 would most likely suffer consequences of unnecessary surgeries, anxiety, and complications such as urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, bleeding and difficulty urinating. How were these men in the study diagnosed?
Research has shown that people who follow the Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop heart disease. This diet emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.
For now, I’m sticking with taking my fish oils. Of course, I don’t have a prostate, but when considering the probable flaws of the study, ie questions about the average age of the men, their overall health, other supplements and meds they were taking, the quality of the fish oils studied, how they were diagnosed, etc. I will recommend my husband stay on his fish oils and continue to eat fish twice a week.
Talk to your doctor or practitioner about your risks and whether fish oils are a good choice for you.
Source: Omega-3 fatty acids | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids#ixzz2Zby8byQE
University of Maryland Medical Center
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