Virtually No Difference In Omega
When reading the frantic news reports, you would have thought the omega-3 difference in men with up to 71% increased risk of prostate cancer must have been huge.
At Life Extension, our very first reaction was that the researchers were comparing cardiac patients who gobbled down huge amounts of fish oil supplements to normal individuals who consume relatively little omega-3s. Our initial assumption was that since heart disease patients have higher prostate cancer rates, then that would explain why higher omega-3could be mistakenly associated with increased prostate cancer risk, since heart disease patients are known to consistently take high-potencies of omega-3s through diet and supplements. How wrong our early conjecture was!
It turns out that the differences in omega-3 plasma phospholipid levels between groups were slight. In fact they were so close that we at Life Extension would classify them all as being too narrow to extrapolate meaningful data.
Our goal is to get the red blood cell omega-3 index values in Life Extension members to 8%-11% as this level was shown to offer the greatest protection against sudden myocardial infarction, yet the average quartile for plasma long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the prostate cancer cases in the report associating fish oil with prostate cancer was only 4.66%.
Could Fish Oil Help Prevent Or Treat Prostate Cancer
Many researchers pointed out that these overblown findings contradicted numerous other studies, most of which had found that omega-3s help reduce the risk of developing cancer. An Australian review on omega-3 and cancer published earlier that year found that a daily dose of up to 3 grams of EPA/DHA per day had positive outcomes as an anti-cancer treatment, and worked as an effective adjunct to chemotherapy.
Furthermore, epidemiological data did not support the idea that omega-3s caused prostate cancer. Many people were quick to point out that Japanese men, who consume vast amounts of omega-3s from fish and fish oil supplements, also have among the lowest rates of prostate cancer in the world.
Since 2013, scientists have continued to explore the issue.
Numerous studies, particularly animal and in vitro cell studies, find that omega-3s help inhibit carcinogenesis and reduce prostate cancer risk. In addition, studies on patients with prostate cancer have found that increased omega-3 intake helps reduce the risk of cancer metastasis and the risk of dying from the disease.
But when it comes to observational studies on people, the results have been inconsistent in assessing whether omega-3s increase or decrease ones risk of developing prostate cancer.
What Is In The Study
The study was conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. They used data from previous studies, which were conducted in 2011, called SELECT . Out of the 35,000 men who participated in the trial, they compared 834 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 1,393 men randomly. They found that men who had the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids had a 43% greater risk of developing prostate cancer, and a 71% higher chance of developing a fatal level of prostate cancer. The higher level of polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically EPA, DHA, and DPA in the blood plasma was associated with the higher risk. This would imply that omega-3 from any source, including fish or fish oil, may also increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
If we take a closer look at the study, there are some important loopholes that can be found.
- The original data of this study was taken from past analysis.
- All the men were 50 years and above.
- SELECT study had a different objective and goal from this study.
- The study did not mention which source of omega-3 should be the suspect fish oil, fish, supplements, or any other source.
- The study did not have any records of their heath status before they started the analysis.
- Only one sample was taken for analysis.
- The study lacked data whether the men who were examined started using fish oil after they were diagnosed with prostate cancer, or if they were using it since before.
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Additional Studies Indicate Substantial Benefit With Increased Intake Of Omega
The report attacking omega-3s conflicts with prior studies demonstrating that increased intake of omega-3 fats has been shown to reduce prostate cancer risk and diets high in omega-6 fats are associated with greater risk. The analysis also suggests a relationship between increased omega-6 fatty acid levels and decreased risk of prostate cancer, which is, again, utterly inconsistent with the known pro-inflammatory effects of omega-6 fatty acids.
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Should You Take Omega
Fish oil has both EPA and DHA. Algae oil has DHA and may be a good option for people who don’t eat fish.
Talk to your doctor about taking a supplement first. They may have specific recommendations or warnings, depending on your health and the other medicines you take.
There are also omega-3 prescriptions available. Epanova, Lovaza, Omtryg, and Vascepa contain DHA/EPA and are recommended for adults with triglycerides 500 mg/dL or above. Unlike fish oil supplements, these medications are approved and monitored for quality and safety by the FDA for specific use.
Some people with heart disease may be advised to take 1 gram daily of a combination DHA/EPA from fish oil.
People with other health conditions may take doses of up to 4 grams a day.
But if you have cardiovascular disease and high levels of triglycerides, omega-3 supplements might raise your risk of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of faulty heart rhythm .
Thatâs why itâs so important to check with your doctor before you take omega-3 supplements, especially if you take other medications or you have health issues.
The most common side effects from fish oil are indigestion and gas. Getting a supplement with a coating might help.
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Health Benefits Of Omega
Depression. Some researchers have found that cultures that eat foods with high levels of omega-3s have lower levels of depression. The effects of fish oil supplements on depression has been mixed. More research is needed to see if it can make a difference.
Baby development. DHA appears to be important for visual and neurological development in infants.
Asthma. A diet high in omega-3s lowers inflammation, a key component in asthma. But more studies are needed to show if fish oil supplements improve lung function or cut the amount of medication a person needs to control the condition.
ADHD. Some studies show that fish oil can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in some children and improve their mental skills, like thinking, remembering, and learning. But more research is needed in this area, and omega-3 supplements should not be used as a primary treatment.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Some research suggests that omega-3s may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and have a positive effect on gradual memory loss linked to aging. But that’s not certain yet.
Link Between High Blood Levels Of Omega
SEATTLE â July 10, 2013 â A second large, prospective study by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has confirmed the link between high blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Published in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the latest findings indicate that high concentrations of EPA, DPA and DHA â the three anti-inflammatory and metabolically related fatty acids derived from fatty fish and fish-oil supplements â are associated with a 71 percent increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. The study also found a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade prostate cancer and an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all prostate cancers.
The increase in risk for high-grade prostate cancer is important because those tumors are more likely to be fatal.
The findings confirm a 2011 study published by the same Fred Hutch scientific team that reported a similar link between high blood concentrations of DHA and a more than doubling of the risk for developing high-grade prostate cancer. The latest study also confirms results from a large European study.
âThe consistency of these findings suggests that these fatty acids are involved in prostate tumorigenesis and recommendations to increase long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake, in particular through supplementation, should consider its potential risks,â the authors wrote.
Q: Hey Jim You Recommend Fish Oil In All Of Your Bodybuildingcom Trainers Now I Hear It Might Cause Prostate Cancer What’s Up
I’ve been getting bombarded the last few days on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by people who want to know whether or not omega-3 fats cause prostate cancer. This is due to a brand new study that suggestsor “confirms,” depending on which headline you readthat they do.
Here’s my take: This “study” is completely bogus. I’ll get into the details in a second, but I wanted to be sure to call B.S. as quickly and clearly as possible. Sorry to be blunt, but it angers me when scientists publish weak statistical correlations that cause the media to get the public in a tizzy over the fake dangers of supplements.
Now that I have gotten that off my chest, let’s take a closer look at what makes this phony news story stink to high heaven.
Behind The Headlines: Omega
A recent study suggesting a link between omega-3 intake and the incidence of prostate cancer made headlines worldwide. But just how valid are the findings? HFG senior nutritionist Rose Carr investigates.
A study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Research Institute on 11 July created headlines around the world. If you were a man watching the news that night, you could be forgiven for immediately swearing off your omega-3 supplements. The story reported that taking omega-3 capsules was linked to a 71 per cent higher risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer.
Unfortunately, after the initial sensational headlines, the research was widely criticised. However, the analysis from other scientists highlighting the weaknesses of the research was ignored by most media around the world.
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If You Dont Like Fish
Of course, not everyone is wild about fish. In this case, they may consider taking fish oil supplements. You might be amazed to learn the variety of conditions for which people take capsules of fish oil. The most well-known include
- Reduce triglycerides
- Lessen risk of heart attack and stroke
- Slow down development of plaque in arteries
- Reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm
Clearly, fish oils strong suit is promoting cardiovascular health. But theres more. People also use fish oil for certain kidney ailments and kidney disease, eye problems like glaucoma and macular degeneration, gastrointestinal problems such as Crohns disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome, athletic performance improvement and muscle soreness after exercise, and many more conditions. With all those benefits, you may wonder, what about fish oil and prostate health?
Not Really A Fish Oil Study
The acronym SELECT in this study referred to the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial. The SELECT study wasnt originally a study of fish oil, or omega-3 essential fatty acids, at all.
Only after the fact researchers noted some peculiarities in the risk of developing prostate cancer in men who had the highest bloodstream concentrations of omega-3 essential fatty acids.
And because the scientists measured omega-3s such as DHA and EPA in the bloodstream, they did not have any way of knowing whether those essential fatty acids got into the bloodstream as the result of taking fish oil supplements or not.
After all, Seattle is famous for its seafood, especially salmon. Maybe men in the study just happened to eat a lot of salmon.
Or maybe they didnt. The scientists did not collect data Or maybe the real problem is some ocean-borne contamination, such as mercury or other heavy metals, that has found its way into fish eaten in Seattle.
The scientists did not collect data. Or maybe the findings could be explained by smoking, obesity, stress or genetics.
Again, the scientists did not make an effort to find out. They just found that higher levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids were associated with higher risk of prostate cancer in this particular group of men.
Could there be another explanation?
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What About The Prostate Gland
In 2013, a paper published by Brasky, et al. threatened to tarnish the good name of fish oil supplements. Using data from the SELECT Trial, the Brasky team found a correlation between higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and greater risk of prostate cancer . In fact, they calculated a 44% higher risk of low-grade PCa and a 71% increased risk of high-grade PCa. This startling association was picked up by the media, creating confusion among doctors and their patients, especially men at risk of PCa or currently diagnosed with it.
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.
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Further Clarification Is Needed
Papers published since the Brasky study question the message promoted by media. First, correlation does not necessarily mean cause-and-effect. Second, omega-3 fatty acids have 3 components: eicosapentaenoic acid , docosapentaenoic acid , and docosahexaenoic acid if analyzed separately, there seems to be a greater correlation with DHA than the other two. Many have pointed out that more research is needed on whether the source makes a difference. Others have demonstrated a lower risk of PCa among men with higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. More research is needed to ultimately clarify whether fish oil supplements pose a PCa protection or hazard.
Proven Health Benefits Of Fish Oil Supplements
1. Reduces anxiety: A study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience revealed that fish oil reversed depression and anxiety-like behavior in rats researchers also discovered that omega-3 fatty acids help regulate the flow of hormones and other chemical messengers, which can affect our moods.
2. Treats arthritis: Research shows that taking fish oil combined with borage seed oil can lead to reductions in rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Reduces ADHD symptoms: Fish oil has the potential to reduce common symptoms of ADHD, based on the effect it has on the brain. Sixty percent of the brain consists of composed fats with the most important being polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
4. Reduces cancer risk: Docosahexaenoic and Eicosapentaenoic acid can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. They have also been found to help kill colon and breast cancer cells as well.
5. Slows cognitive decline: The fatty acids found in fish oil can slow down cognitive decline and help prevent brain atrophy in older adults. The oils help protect the hippocampus cells from being destroyed, which also reduces the risk of diabetics developing a cognitive disorder.
7. Immune power: If you combine the antioxidant astaxanthin with fish oil, you will multiply its immune boosting power.
Aside from the common health benefits of fish oil, there are additional benefits that you can get from fish oil, which include the following:
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What Is The Relation Between Fish Oil And Prostate Cancer
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute checked the omega-3s levels in blood among men participating in the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial , which was a trial looking at whether selenium or/and vitamin E would lower prostate cancer risks. The study showed that high levels fish oil in blood increased the risk of prostate cancer by 43%, and the risk for aggressive prostate cancer by 71%. However, this study did not take the participants diets into consideration, so its unclear whether the high levels of fish oil were due to food or supplements.
But why is fish oil and prostate cancer related?
Its still not fully understood. One possible explanation would be that some unknown properties of omega-3s, when in excessive levels, may result in oxidative stress, causing DNA damage.
Just like other supplements, moderation is key. Its always a better idea to get what your body needs from foods. Keep a balanced diet and that wouldnt be a big issue. If you really need to take fish oil, discuss it with your doctor to weigh the benefits and risks and determine the acceptable amount that would be safe for your body.
How Did The Researchers Interpret The Results
The researchers say their study confirms previous reports of increased prostate cancer risk among men with high blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. They say the consistency of these findings suggests that these fatty acids are involved in the growth of prostate tumours.
Recommendations to increase omega-3 intake should consider its potential risk, they argue.
They also say that the findings are surprising, given that omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, pointing out that inflammation plays a role in the development of many cancers. Further research is needed into the possible mechanisms, they say.
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