Friday, July 26, 2013

Can Fish Oil Boost Cancer Risks?

MyAchingKnees comment: A friend of mine brought to my attention. There were actually several recent articles concerning prostate cancer. One article on a new laser technique to remove any suspect spots on the prostate therefore bypassing side effects; another article that stated PSA blood level testing was inconclusive in determining prostate cancer or risk of prostate cancer in men. Then this latest article about Omega 3's increasing prostate cancer risk. 

About 10 years my PSA level hit 3.9 where 4.0 was the warning call for a visit to the urologist. Since I have been on high quality, pharmaceutical grade supplements, my PSA levels have been 0.7 and 0.6, so low that I now ony get them checked every 3 years. All this while also taking an Omega 3 supplement. I do not think that Omega 3's that helped lower my PSA level,.....I think a optimal dose of daily nutrients did that, I do think that Omega 3's have helped my cognitive function and my joint pain, which is minimal if at all. 

While there is little to no proof, or belief, in the mainstream Medical Community that nutritional supplements can help with any degenerative disease, I also fail to find any literature in medical journals that jamming a sharp stick in your eye is bad for you. 

Me? I will continue to take my Omega 3 supplement daily. And I say proof's in the pudding.

Here is the article, titled "Can Your Fish Oil Habit Boost Cancer Risks?" by Samantha Cassetty, M.S., R.D., and posted on Good Housekeeping|Healthy Living

New headlines about omega 3s and cancer risk are generating buzz -- no surprise given the startling conclusions that fish oil raises the risk of prostate cancer by a frightening 44% among men with the highest levels of these fats in their blood. Even more alarming: The study found that compared to those with the lowest blood levels of these fats, men with the highest amounts are at a whopping 71% greater risk of the disease. Scary!

What the headlines don't say is that the study, while important in advancing our knowledge of omega 3s and their impact on the development of cancer, wasn't designed to determine cause. Meaning, it's unclear if the fish oil is at play or if there's something else about fish-oil-eating men that raises their risk. (Maybe men who have high levels of fish fats in their blood also favor another food or supplement that's the real culprit. Or maybe these guys took supplements to make up for a crummy diet.) And since the study didn't consider participants' eating habits, researchers can't put the blame on fish or pills, though they caution against supplements since they're such a concentrated source of the nutrient.

Most health authorities suggest eating two servings of seafood each week -- an amount that protects against heart disease, the leading cause of death among men and women. It's reassuring to me that in the recent study, the difference in blood levels between those with the lowest and highest figures exceeds the amount you'd get from eating salmon twice a week (a notable source of the nutrient).

As a nutritionist, I always favor food forms of nutrients to pill versions. From what I've seen, I still think it's safe, and even wise, to aim for two servings of seafood per week. A number of studies link fish fats to healthy outcomes, like a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, skin cancer, mood disorders, and more. But bear in mind that when it comes to nutrients, more is not necessarily better. Eat fish a couple of times a week and on other nights, have chicken, turkey, or a vegetarian meal that takes advantage of the season's fresh produce. If you're a supplement taker, you may want to talk to your doctor or dietitian about the pros and cons based on your diet and history.

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