News / Health

Study Links Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Prostate Cancer

Salmon is a popular source of fish oil.Salmon is a popular source of fish oil.
x
Salmon is a popular source of fish oil.
Salmon is a popular source of fish oil.
VOA News
Fish oil supplements that are high in omega-3 fatty acids have been quite popular among people who take them to help with issues such as heart health.

Past research has indicated that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, fish oil and other foods such as wild rice and walnuts, can decrease the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.

But now new research released this week indicates that too much omega-3 could put men at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, especially a deadly form of the disease. The finding confirms similar conclusions made in several earlier studies.   
While some experts have expressed skepticism about the study’s findings, men taking the supplement may find themselves weighing the benefits fish oil capsules may provide for their heart health versus the possible harm and increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

The study, conducted by researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, found that high concentrations of three anti-inflammatory and metabolically related fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid - EPA, eocosapentaenoic acid - DPA and docosahexaenoic acid – DHA that are found in fatty fish such as salmon as well as in fish-oil supplements, are linked with a 71 percent increased risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer, the kind that experts say are more likely to be fatal.

The Seattle study also revealed that too much of the fatty acids can also lead to a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade prostate cancer – which grows slowly - as well as an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all forms of prostate cancers.

Fish oil capsules are popular for heart health benefitsFish oil capsules are popular for heart health benefits
x
Fish oil capsules are popular for heart health benefits
Fish oil capsules are popular for heart health benefits
To reach their findings, the researchers studied a group of about 843 men who had prostate cancer and another group of 1,383 men who didn’t have the cancer. They found that the prostate cancer patients had higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids in their blood than those in the non-cancer group.

The researchers said that the consistency of their findings suggest that these fatty acids are connected with the development of prostate tumors. They also caution those who want to increase their dosage of omega-3 fatty acids to consider any potential risks.

The researchers said they’re unclear so far about why the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids would increase prostate cancer risk. They do point out that omega-3 fatty acids converting into compounds could damage cells and DNA, and their role in immunosuppression.  They said that they don’t know whether or not these effects can actually impact cancer risks and that further research into possible mechanisms will be needed.

These new findings, published July 11 in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, confirm those made in 2011 by the same Seattle researchers.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Omegafort SCC from: Miami, Florida
July 31, 2013 5:19 PM
This has been a perfect example of the whiplash effect created by the feeding frenzy tendencies of much of today’s hyperactive media. One paper comes out (which by the way has been proven to have numerous methodology flaws) and many in the media and blogosphere overreact (perhaps because controversy of this sort sells more papers and garners more clicks?). But it very much bears keeping in mind that science is aggregative, and any one single study cannot negate 50 years’ worth of evidence that largely validate the positive health benefits of omega-3 for a variety of diseases – such as various forms of cancer itself, even including prostate cancer.


by: Tunde from: Lagos
July 26, 2013 4:03 AM
This is a sensational finding which should have been treated more carefully by the reviewers of the Journal that published the findings! The media should tread softly and not confuse the public.


by: Dr. Lange from: ocala florida
July 20, 2013 8:54 PM
Dr. Michael Lange comments: this study is ridiculous and reckless! A retraction needs to be printed. Many people may stop taking their fish oil and suffer a hear attack, stroke or many other potentially fatal problems because they are scared into stopping their fish oil!! This study doesnt prove anything regarding taking fish oil supplements and prostate cancer, they dont even know if anyone was taking a supplement or even eating fish? Most prostate cancer patients are told by their oncologist and urologist and cardiologist and optometrist to take omega 3! So of course omega 3 levels would be higher! There is NO cause and effect! I am surprised they werent a lot higher, People think before you write, and media really needs to print a retraction! Dr. Michael Lange, OD, CNS


by: Just a Guy
July 16, 2013 12:02 PM
Did the study take into account that cancer patients are far more likely to take fish oil supplements?


by: Mark from: Connecticut
July 16, 2013 7:44 AM
On further research on this subject I came across this statement that hit home for me..."You would also expect that the countries with the lowest fish intake would have the lowest rates of prostate cancer. And yet the opposite is far closer to the truth".

Interesting right?


by: Bryan
July 15, 2013 9:12 PM
this article also only reports on the relative risk of supplementation, and not the absolute risk. If you could increase your chances of winning the lottery by 500%, you still aren't very likely at all to win.


by: Big John from: San Francisco
July 15, 2013 2:40 PM
Is Krill oil the same?


by: Verticalpharmacy from: California
July 15, 2013 6:39 AM
Go Vegan to protect your self from Cancer.


by: Teri from: California
July 14, 2013 12:52 PM
Frustrating that "how much is too much" is not reported on here. That's crucial information, IMO.


by: Anonymous
July 14, 2013 1:42 AM
how much is "too much omega 3"?

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid