Fish oil may raise prostate cancer risk, according to a study reported by the National Cancer Institute. The research also points to an increased risk for men who consume large amounts of fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are plentiful in fish oil, have been touted as a medical wonder. Fish oil has been recommended for lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of Alzheimer's, and preventing heart disease.
As reported by NBC News, Dr. Theodore Brasky, of the Ohio State University Medical Center, explains that omega-3 fatty acids in general are not harmful. However, excessive amounts may lead to medical concerns:
"These fish oil supplements in which some men getting mega, mega doses … in our opinion that is probably a little bit dangerous."
The study focused on omega-3 fatty acids specifically found in fish oil. Prostate cancer patients were placed into four groups, depending on the level of omega-3 fatty acids found their blood.
The research revealed that patients with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood were 71 percent more likely to suffer from high-grade prostate cancer. The severity of the cancer was directly related to the fatty acid levels in each group.
Additionally, the research revealed that fatty acids derived from vegetable sources did not carry the same risk.
Dr. Brasky discusses the results of the study:
"A 70 percent increased risk in high-grade prostate cancer, given it's the No. 1 cancer in men and fish is a commonly consumed thing and is thought to be a healthy food, I think it'd be a concern for people."
Not everyone agrees with the findings. As reported by ABC News, some experts would like to see more research before concluding that fish oil causes prostate cancer.
Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor, explains his point of view:
"This is not proof that omega 3′s cause prostate cancer... If anything, the finding should reinforce the notion that better dietary health does not necessarily come in a pill form."
Fish oil and prostate cancer may have a link, but the reason is still unclear. Most doctors and other experts agree, moderation is essential.
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