What The Media Reported
In an NBC News Health article, Dr. Brasky is quoted as stepping somewhat beyond the bounds of the conclusion in the 2013 journal article, suggesting that for some men, taking mega, mega doses of fish oil supplements is probably a little bit dangerous.
The NBC article also notes that whereas the American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice weekly and perhaps taking fish oil capsules for those with heart disease, recent studies have shown that taking extra omega-3 fatty acids has little effect on heart disease. The article also mentions that the researchers did not consider fatty acids in vegetable oils to be related to prostate cancer risk.
In a study reported in the May 2013 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, among 12,000 patients with heart disease but without a history of a heart attack, 1 g daily of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation did not reduce morbidity or mortality rates. Therefore, for men hesitant to change course, given that heart disease is much more common than prostate cancer, the shadow of doubt cast on the omega-3s cardioprotective effects might be a decisive factor.
For William Harris, PhD, Professor of Medicine at University of South Dakota School of Medicine in Vermillion, and a senior scientist at Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc., in Richmond, Virginia, decisions triggered by such reports are a real concern. He said in an interview:
Results Are Completely Inconsistent With The Known Biology Pathophysiology And Biochemistry Of Prostate Cancer
A fundamental aspect of quality research is consistency, and repeatability.
Stated another way, for a medical finding to be considered valid, the results should not contradict well-established facts involving known biology, physiology, biochemistry, etc. Furthermore, the finding should be repeatable by other scientists.
The report attacking omega-3s is inconsistent with a variety of aspects of the well-established scientific and medical literature.
For example, upon close inspection of the data , non-smokers had more aggressive prostate cancer, and non-drinkers had higher risk of prostate cancer, and prostate cancer case subjects were less likely to report a history of diabetes than controls.
Based upon these results, the implication is that men who wish to avoid prostate cancer should consume excess calories and develop diabetes, drink alcohol heavily, and abuse tobacco.
This is completely inconsistent with well-established science, and utter nonsense.
In fact, numerous scientific studies show fish oil omega-3 fatty acids offer significant protective benefit for prostate health.
Also Check: Bone Lesions In Prostate Cancer
Does Fish Oil Increase Your Risk Of Prostate Cancer
When we hear the word Omega 3, oily fish, and healthy fats spring to mind.
They promote a range of fantastic health benefits that have us filling our plates with tuna and salmon.
However, a recent study has suggested that it may increase the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, a customer wrote to me recently worried by this news, and he wanted to know if he should stop fish oil supplementation.
As you know, I not only want to help you fight against prostate cancer and the uncomfortable symptoms of BPH but provide educative and helpful answers to your questions.
Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate. It is the second most common cancer found in men after skin cancer.
In the United States, approximately 1 of 7 men is diagnosed with prostate cancer. Many factors can increase your risk but is fish oil one of them? Lets find whether or not this study stands up to scrutiny.
You May Like: What Is Perineural Invasion In Prostate Cancer
Does Fish Oil Cause Prostate Cancer
I was very upset to read about the study showing that fish oil raises the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Ive been taking omega-3 supplements for heart health but stopped when I heard the news about its effect on prostate cancer. Whats your take on the study?
Andrew Weil, M.D. | July 26, 2013
I know of no reason why you shouldnt resume taking your fish oil supplements. The study in question, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., made headlines and snagged lots of sound bites, but much of the news coverage including that in medical publications did not accurately reflect the findings. Aside from the sensationalist way it was reported, the study itself has serious shortcomings.
As reported, the study found that men who had high concentrations of omega-3s in their blood had a risk of developing prostate cancer that was 43 percent higher than men who had the lowest blood levels of these fatty acids. Even more alarming was the finding that men with the highest blood levels of omega-3s had a 71 percent higher risk of aggressive, possibly fatal prostate cancer than those with the lowest levels. The study was published online on July 10, 2013, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
The Truth About Fish Oil And Prostate Cancer
Should you stop taking fish oil? A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that men with the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had a 71 percent greater risk for developing a deadly type of prostate cancer.
While a stat like that may sound worrisome, a closer look at the research shows there’s no reason to toss your fish oil supplement, or take mackerel off the menu.
The most important thing to know is that this is not a definitive finding, says Men’s Health‘s urology advisor, Larry Lipshultz, M.D., of Baylor College of Medicine. This type of study shows a correlation, but it does not prove causation. In other words, it wasn’t a controlled clinical trial in which some men swallowed fish oil and others didnt.
Instead, researchers looked at levels of certain omega-3 fatty acids in participants blood and watched who developed prostate cancer and who didnt over timebut the method the researchers used wasn’t great, says Chris Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., The Belly Off! Club nutritionist.
The guys in the study had their blood drawn once a year. Its a small snapshot of what was in their blood at those times instead of a clear picture of their long-term chronic intake of omega-3 fatty acids, Mohr says. If you just had a salmon dinner the night before, your levels would be way higher than whats actually average for you.
If you liked this story, you’ll love these:
Don’t Miss: What Happens After Chemo For Prostate Cancer
Media Madness: Fish Oil Supplements Cause Prostate Cancer
Reviewing the new study that’s been widely reported as showing fish oil supplements increase the risk of prostate cancer puts me in mind of a recent review of a Kenny G. album:
“There’s a lot to criticize in the music of Kenny G. For example, everything.”
I found that pretty amusing.
This study? Not so much.
There’s nothing amusing about this study, and what the media has done with it is — to paraphrase Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction — “very -ing far from funny.”
Before we get to the study itself — and we will — let’s talk about the media, whose reporting here is disgraceful, incompetent, and scientifically illiterate. Here’s an example of some of the headlines, the idiocy of which will become clear in just a moment.
“Omega-3 supplements linked to prostate cancer”
“Omega-3 supplements could raise prostate risk”
“Fish oil supplements linked to prostate cancer”
“Men who take omega-3 supplements at 71 percent higher risk of prostate cancer”
“Omega-3 supplements may trigger prostate cancer”
“Hold the salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids linked to higher risk of cancer”
So, reading this, you might well think that researchers divided a population of men into two groups, gave one group fish oil supplements and the other a placebo, and found that the ones who took the fish oil supplements got way more prostate cancer than the ones who didn’t. Right?
So let’s be clear. Supplements weren’t a part of the study and weren’t given to the participants. Period.
Purpose Of This Summary
This PDQ cancer information summary has current information about the use of nutrition and dietary supplements for reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer or for treating prostate cancer. It is meant to inform and help patients, families, and caregivers. It does not give formal guidelines or recommendations for making decisions about health care.
Recommended Reading: Is Zinc Good For Prostate
Fish And Prostate Cancer Risk: Fact Or Fiction
Several scientific studies have found a reduction in prostate cancer associated with increased omega-3intake.1-11A recent report purportedly showed the opposite.12
This report was based on a single blood test of plasma fatty acids in a group of 834 men who were followed up to six years to assess prostate cancer risk . A smaller group of 75 men was followed up to nine years to assess only high-grade prostate cancer risk.
The results showed that slightly higher omega-3 plasma percentages from this single blood test were associated with a greater risk of low-grade and high-grade prostate cancers over the multi-year follow-up.
This report was turned into news stories with headlines blaring Omega-3 fatty acids may raise prostate cancer risk.
Omitted from the media frenzy was the fact that this study was not about fish oil supplement users. The authors admitted they did not know how the study participants achieved what turned out to be very low omega-3 plasma percentages in all groups.
In fact, omega-3 plasma levels were only about 40% of what would be expected in health conscious people taking the proper dose of fish oil.12,13 The insufficient levels of plasma omega-3s in all the study subjects were overlooked by the media. Had these very low plasma levels of omega-3s been recognized, it would have been apparent that this report had no meaning for those who boost their omega-3 consumption through diet and supplements.
Prostate Cancer Risk And Omega
It is generally reassuring when we read health advice that contains a clear message, especially when the advice involves something pleasurable. For instance, eat dark chocolate, and wash it down with red wine . But confusion and consternation abound when research produces a mixed message that seems contrary to previous advice. After years of hearing that eating fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements was good for the heart, the eyes, and even mood, the public was puzzled this summer by a study that suggested a risk of prostate cancer in men with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids obtained from these sources.
Although conclusions in research are subject to change, in this instance, investigators not connected to the fish oil study complained that the headline-hungry media did not cover all of the facts. They also charged that the headlines were potentially harmful and that the findings were tainted by overreach. A closer look at the study is warranted.
Don’t Miss: Is Zinc Good For Prostate
Fish Oil Supplements Offer ‘little Or No Benefit’ Against Cancer
Taking omega-3 supplements offers “little to no” benefit against cancer, say experts.
Consumption of fish oil supplements is promoted as having a wide range of positive impacts on health.
These are purported to include lowering the risk of strokes, as well as diseases such as cancer and dementia.
But researchers at University of Anglia found taking daily supplements will likely have no significant impact on a person’s health.
The research relates specifically to supplements, rather than omega-3 derived from eating fish, with experts still suggesting the latter is good for the heart, as well as general health.
More than 100,000 participants were randomised to either consume more omega-3 fats in supplement form, or maintain their usual intake, for at least a year.
Researchers found that if 1000 people took supplements for approximately four years, the actual effects on their health, both positively or negatively, would be minimal at best.
Benefit Clearly Outweighs Risk For Fish Oil Supplementation Among Men
Overwhelming evidence currently available strongly favors fish oil supplementation for most aging humans.
Fish oil and greater marine omega-3 intake have repeatedly and consistently been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk across multiple types of studies. For example:
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial found 1,800mg of combined EPA plus DHA was associated with a 10% lower rate of cardiac events, 12% lower rate of non-fatal infarctions, and an almost 11% lower rate of cardiac deaths.47
In a large intervention study, 18,000 patients were randomized to receive either a statin medication alone or a statin plus 1,800mg of EPA-fish oil daily. After five years, those with a history of coronary artery disease had a 19% lower rate of major coronary events in the statin-plus EPA-fish oil group compared to the statin-only group.48
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with chronic hemodialysis patients found that 1,700mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily was associated with a 70% reduction in the relative risk of myocardial infarction.49
A randomized, controlled trial using 3,300mg of EPA and DHA found a trend toward lower cardiovascular event occurrence with fish oil supplementation. Seven cardiovascular events occurred in the placebo group while only two cardiovascular events occurred in the fish oil-supplemented group during the study.50
A 2008 meta-analysis found a significant reduction in death from cardiac causes with fish oil supplementation.58
Questions And Answers About Pomegranate
The pomegranate is made up of the following:
Pomegranate fruit and juice may be taken as food, drink, or a dietary supplement.
See the Laboratory/Animal/Preclinical Studies section of the health professional version of Prostate Cancer, Nutrition, and Dietary Supplements for information on laboratory and animal studies done using pomegranate.
In a 2015 study, 183 men with recurrentprostate cancer were randomly assigned to receive either pomegranate juice, pomegranate extract, or a placebo. The study found no difference in how fast the prostate-specific antigen level rose between the 3 groups. There is not enough evidence to know whether pomegranate can prevent or treat prostate cancer.
No serious side effects have been reported from the use of pomegranate.
The Problem With The Study In Question
First up, correlation does not equal causation.
Studies which look for correlation should never be trusted, as theyre merely looking to connect the dots to arrive at a predetermined conclusion.
For example, lets say I absolutely hate Facebook.
Last year, 60% of people who died had the Facebook app installed on their phones. This correlates that installing Facebook on your mobile greatly increases your risk of death, when in reality all it increases is your chance of eye rolling at annoying work colleagues who post motivational quotes they definitely dont live by.
If using fish oil supplements DID indeed boost the risk of developing prostate cancer by a whopping 70%, we wouldnt even need a study to tell us about it.
Countries likes Albania, Algeria, Berundi, Cambodia, and Cameroon would also be the countries with the highest rate of prostate cancer, and theyre not.
Heck, this is just the first hole poked through this paper-thin study.
Jim, who received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut, goes on:
Jim isnt alone in his damning report.
Several top research authorities have rubbished the claims, with some questioning why the Journal of the National Cancer Institute agreed to publish in the first place.
Because, bizarrely, the Omega-3 claims were only the tip of the iceberg in this clusterf**k of a research paper.
Its hard for me to say this with a striaght face, but it gets even worse
Also Check: Do Girls Have Prostate
Are Blood Levels Of Omega
Wednesday, Jun 02, 2021
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in U.S. men, with annual mortality of approximately 32,000. Nearly 175,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. per year.
Inflammation plays a role in many types of cancer, including prostate cancer. A number of variables such as obesity and diet have been shown to be related to inflammation. For example, long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects. These fatty acids, otherwise known as fish oils, are found mostly in fatty fish and dietary supplements and have also been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health. While most studies have not shown an association between fish oils and prostate cancer, there was one large study published in 2013 that did show an increased risk of prostate cancer, particularly more aggressive cancer, with increased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Thus, the goal of the current study was to examine the relationship between baseline levels of omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer development in a sample of healthy men. A secondary goal of this study was to add our findings to an existing meta-analysis of similar studies.
Our main findings were as follows:
Sign up for The Cooper Institute E-News to get the latest updates.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
There are cases where, at excessive intakes, beneficial nutrient supplements, such as antioxidants, may have detrimental effects.
But that doesnt explain the present finding. The levels of omega-3 that the prostate cancer study authors refer to are not extreme they can be achieved through consumption of fish alone, without popping capsules.
The range of omega-3 levels from low risk to high risk as described in the study are within the range attainable by variations in the amount of omega-3 consumed in typical Australian diets.
While this observation raises concern, theres a lot more we need to understand before we can properly balance the risk-versus-benefit equation for omega-3 consumption.
In the absence of trials that can demonstrate a causal relationship, we need to have a clearer understanding of possible underlying mechanisms. Its known, for example, that omega-3 oils can influence certain male reproductive mechanisms, such as sperm production and motility, but there is currently no hypothesis to explain how they might influence prostate cancer risk.
At the same time, evidence is mounting for protective effects of omega-3 consumption in breast and other cancers
You May Like: Does Tamsulosin Affect Ejaculation