Fish Oils May Boost Prostate Cancer Risk

Fish Oils May Boost Prostate Cancer Risk

File fish oils under the ever-changing category of good for you one day, potentially harmful for you the next. 

A new study raises a red flag when it comes to those Omega 3 fatty acids that have been touted as a heart disease reducer, because findings link the oils often found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna to a higher risk of prostate cancer. According to the study published in Time, while fish oils do indeed help fight inflammation which can have positive impact on the heart, they "may also increase oxidative damage to the DNA in cells, similar to the effects of stress, that can create fertile ground for cancers to grow." 

In recent years, fish oil has become highly sought out not just in the edible fish world, but also as a supplement due to many reports touting its ability to help combat cholesterol and other heart-related risks. A fish oil pill, depending on its potency, can contain from 30% to 60% the amount of fish oils as there would be in a serving of an oil-containing fish. Those men who took fish oil supplements were not included in the study, in the hopes of separating the difference between men who consume Omega 3s naturally in fish products versus in pill form -- and the results are alarming.

"In the trial, those with high concentrations of marine-derived omega-3s in their blood showed a 43% higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those with the lowest levels," the study states.

Statistician Andrew Vickers says that when it comes to fish oil in pill form,  "the problem comes when you take components of a diet and put it in a pill" because the ingredients in the pill may counteract the other foods you're consuming in your daily diet that might otherwise be healthy. For instance,  anti-oxidants consumed when an individual eats fruits and vegetables can counterbalance the "oxidative damage" that fish oils may cause, and lead to a bit of a dietary tie. When a fish oil supplement is consumed on top of that natural balance, it could lead to a lopsided battle within the body. 

Ultimately, doctors involved in the study suggest men cut down -- but not eliminate -- their fatty fish consumption, and consult a doctor before beginning any new supplements.