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Omega-3's and Prostate Cancer

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  • Omega-3's and Prostate Cancer

    I wanted to post this up and possibly get some clarification from Homonunculus and his thoughts on the studies that are stating that Omega-3 fatty acids increase the risk of prostate cancer.

    Here is the link:

    Too Much Fish Oil Hikes Prostate Cancer Risk: Study
    Thursday, July 11, 2013 07:38 AM

    Eating a lot of oily fish or taking potent fish oil supplements may increase a man's risk of developing prostate cancer, new research suggests.

    Moreover, marine sources of omega-3 fatty acids may also raise the risk for aggressive prostate cancer, according to the study by scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

    "These anti-inflammatory omega-3s were associated with a 43 percent increased risk for prostate cancer overall, and a 71 percent increased risk in aggressive prostate cancer," said study lead author Theodore Brasky, a research assistant professor at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, who was at Hutchinson at the time of the study.

    Aggressive prostate cancer is often fatal, he added.

    Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon, trout and fresh tuna and in fish oil capsules, are widely reputed to have health benefits because of their anti-inflammatory properties.

    But this new research, published online July 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, confirms damaging evidence reported in two prior studies.

    Just why are these omega-3 fatty acids associated with prostate cancer? "That's the million dollar question," Brasky said.

    Omega-3 fatty acids may have properties that aren't well understood and in high doses could cause oxidative stress, which can lead to DNA damage, possibly increasing the risk for prostate cancer, he speculated.

    Oxidative stress plays a role in other cancers, Brasky said.

    Although omega-3 fatty acids have been touted as beneficial to heart patients, results of a study published May 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine found they didn't live up to the claims.

    In that study, Italian researchers reported that omega-3 fatty acid supplements did not reduce death from heart disease, heart attacks or strokes in people with risk factors for heart disease.

    "These fatty acids have been promoted as a blanket anti-chronic disease fatty acid," Brasky noted. "But nutrition is more nuanced, as is disease occurrence. It's about time we stop talking about foods as good or bad and no gray area," he said.

    Based on these and other findings, Brasky thinks men should probably moderate their intake of fatty fish and fish oil supplements.

    "We are getting to the point where we don't see a lot of benefit for heart disease. Some of the enthusiasm for these fats has been premature," he added.

    One expert cautions that these new findings don't show a cause-and-effect relationship between prostate cancer and omega-3 fatty acids.

    "All of these studies on associations, which is what this is, are hypothesis-generating because they are looking back in time," said Dr. Anthony D'Amico, chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "It's not a cause and effect."

    The study would have to account for other risk factors for prostate cancer before it could be considered definitive, he said. These include family history, age and race, among others, D'Amico explained.

    For the study, researchers used data from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, which found no benefit from either of these nutrients but an increase for prostate cancer for vitamin E.

    The researchers compared blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in more than 800 men later diagnosed with prostate cancer with blood samples from nearly 1,400 men who did not develop the disease.

    The difference in blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids between the lowest- and highest-risk groups was about 2.5 percent (3.2 percent versus 5.7 percent) -- a gap larger than achieved by eating salmon twice a week, the researchers noted.

    The investigators found that men eating the most fatty fish and taking the most fish oil supplements had an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all prostate cancer, compared with men eating the least fish or taking the fewest supplements. The risk for aggressive prostate cancer was 71 percent higher; for non-aggressive prostate cancer, the risk was 44 percent greater.
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  • #2
    Posted this on Promuscle:

    If you read in Star magazine that your wife is cheating on you with your neighbor, would you believe it?...

    (This is how I perceive most lay press-related info.)

    This is the study, as far as I can tell:

    Interestingly, the researchers of the above initially hypothesized the opposite of what they found, ala:

    [Non-fasting Blood values were used for the analysis. My initial thought was that if sample acquisition were not controlled, especially in men who are enrolled in a cancer prevention program and aware of prostate cancer warning signs - their subjects - that you've got a nice psychological set-up for (rightfully) worrisome subjects to consume fatty acid / fish oil supplements, shown previously to impede prostate cancer development (see above) thus elevating levels, just before taking a blood draw.

    I only skimmed the study, but did not see this mentioned as a weakness. Imagine taking bloodwork to confirm diabetes risk without controlling for food intake in a sample of subjects who know that high blood glucose suggests diabetes. Those perhaps rightfully worried will go in fasted and those not, will eat just before if no one tells them different. The conclusion would be that elevated blood glucose is associated withe reduced risk of diabetes mellitus... ]

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    • #3
      21 yrs. old
      NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
      Precision Nutrition Certified


      • #4
        Great point Scott. People are going nuts over this study without asking questions like this. My hat goes off to Mental for posting this.
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        • #5
          Thanks Scott, I appreciate that. I figured there had to be something going on that would lead to their findings and if anyone knows about good and bad research it is you...hence why i asked.

          You going to post another update on your conditioning? Showtime is getting close!!!
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          • #6
            Thanks for the info guys.
            ...playing Bingo at the Senior Center :shocked: