The truth about fish oil

By now you have probably heard the media hype linking fish oil to an increased risk of prostate cancer. As fish oil is a supplement we recommend at our practice, I wanted to take the time to assure you that there is no cause for alarm.

If you missed it, a report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last month showed a potential link between omega-3 fatty acids and the risk of developing prostate cancer.

However, before you throw away the fish oil, it is important to examine the facts behind the apparent association.

The problems I have with the trial are as follows:

  • The original focus of the study was not to examine the link between omega-3 and prostate cancer. The results may have been influenced by the original intent of the study, which was to examine the use of selenium and vitamin E in cancer prevention.
  • Researchers did not collect information on the men’s diets before, during or after the study. Therefore, it is unclear whether the omega-3 fatty acids in their blood came from food or supplements.
  • Omega-3 intake was measured was through plasma phospholipid levels, which can be influenced significantly by a single meal or even the timing of a fish oil dose.
  • The ‘high’ range of omega-3 levels described in the study are within the range attainable in a typical Australian diet.
  • There is an absence of other trials that can demonstrate a causal relationship between increased omega-3s and prostate cancer.
  • There have been over 10,000 studies on the health benefits of omega-3s

For more information on why the media hype shouldn’t be taken at face value, you can read an analysis University of Newcastle nutritionist Peter Howe here.

Fish oil has been repeatedly proven to promote cardiovascular health and improve cognitive function, as well as counteracting inflammatory conditions. At this stage, without a proven direct relationship between fish oil and prostate cancer, I believe it would be unwise to forego the established benefits of fish oil.

I hope this has put your mind at ease and that you continue to reap the benefits of fish oil. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section below.

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Metapure EPA/DHA - 60 caps

Price: 36.10

Information: Highly Purified and Concentrated Fish Oil.

Size: 60 Capsules

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