Big News: Fish oil increases your risk of prostate cancer
Did you hear the news that came out last week? A new study found that the more long-chain omega-3 oils you have in your body, the higher your risk for prostate cancer.
If you’ve been reading my newsletter or my email alerts, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I was the first to warn you about the dangers of taking too many omega-3s in marine oil. This study confirms everything I’ve told you!
The researchers published their study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The authors are a divergent group of researchers from major universities and cancer centers. Funding came from the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine! It was a report from the ongoing major study called the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, also known as the SELECT Trial.
Notice from the title of the study that the authors weren’t looking for negative results from fish oil. In fact, their findings came as a surprise to them. Recent large prospective studies (the best kind) have found increased risk of prostate cancer among men with high blood concentrations of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), the kind found in marine oils. The reason they were surprised is that the prevailing dogma is that marine oils reduce inflammation. So you would expect them to reduce the risk of cancer.
This report studied 834 men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of these, 156 were high grade. The researchers compared them against 1,393 men they randomly selected but matched to age and race. Here are the startling findings: Men in the highest quartile of LCPUFAs had a 44% increased risk of low-grade prostate cancer, a 71% increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer, and a 43% overall increased risk for any prostate cancer. The association held among all the LCPUFAs, including the famous EPA, and especially with DHA – the most reactive and easily oxidized (immediately rancid) major component of marine oils.
The researchers also were surprised that higher levels of parent omega-6, linoleic acid (LA), reduced a man’s risk of prostate cancer. For years omega 6 has received a bad rap regarding heart disease and other chronic degenerative diseases. I’ve debunked this over and over.
I about came out of my chair when I saw the news about this study and couldn’t wait to see the whole study. I was particularly interested to see if they broke down their omega-3 analysis to include alphalinolenic acid (ALA – the parent omega-3 found in plants). THEY DID! And, there was NO increase in risk with higher ALA. And what will come as a shock to many, there was no increased risk seen with arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 derivative believed by many to be a really bad actor in inciting inflammation. I am NOT surprised by these findings. They were predictable. A 77% rise in high-grade lesions in the most common cause of cancer in men is a nightmare.
I am not suggesting that you limit your fish intake, as long as they come from clean, unpolluted, and non-GMO sources. I ate lots of salmon when I was not fully vegetarian in Alaska. My PSA is a low 0.5 presently, though I have not eaten salmon or taken fish oil in over 12 years. I’ll need to see lots more data on what I currently feel is a very low risk of overdosing on omega-3 LCPUFAs from food as fish before suggesting otherwise.
Yours for better health and medical freedom,
ROBERT ROWEN, M.D.
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