I had a client come up to me today and tell me her doctor recommended she stop fish oil because of a “new” study that was released that showed there is a 43% increase in the risk of prostate cancer if you take fish oil.
Briefly, I want to say.
DON’T EVER GET HEALTH ADVICE FROM THE MEDIA.
In fact, slap yourself a couple times if you saw this on TV and believed it. I bet there are now hundreds of doctors across the globe that are now taking their patients off of fish oil because they saw a news show, briefly looked up the study and got freaked out.
So what does the study say? You can check out the study in question by clicking here. It was published in early 2013 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and concludes that “This study confirms previous reports of increased prostate cancer risk among men with high blood concentrations of (Omega 3 fatty acids).”
Flaw #1: What previous reports?
It was the second of two studies performed by the same group of researchers. The first 2011 study was called the SELECT Trial, in which the group studied the relationship between selenium, Vitamin E and cancer prevention. In the second study (the one that’s getting all the press), the researchers simply re-examined the data from a single blood-draw done in the SELECT trial and made conclusions.
FLAW #2: The study wasn’t designed to test fish oil consumption… meaning that nobody was recorded to have been taking or not taking fish oil as a supplement and they certainly didn’t administer it as part of the test…because the original gathering of data tested selenium and Vitamin E
The study doesn’t examine mortality. Other studies like this one were better designed to show the relationship of fish oil and prostate cancer. That study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that fish oil had no effect on prostate cancer but was associated with a 63% decrease in risk of mortality from it.
FLAW #3 Our study in question is saying fish oil increase your risk of prostate cancer..but decreases your risk of dying from it? Doesn’t make sense.
Looking to observational study for answers is confusing because the answer you come up with can be subjective. Our study in question observed that men with prostate cancer tended to have higher blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA). Again, keep in mind that it was ONE blood draw and Omega 3 fatty acid blood levels can fluctuate pending feeding times, etc. So I can agree with the study’s claim that Omega 3 fatty acids cause prostate cancer, or prostate cancer causes higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. How is this possible? Lets take a quick peak at what Web MD has to say about prostate cancer. According to the site, individuals with prostate cancer would be asked to consume a diet that’s high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Namely, adding more fish. See a relationship?
FLAW # 4 Physicians are telling clients who have major issues like prostate cancer to consume more omega 3 fatty acids or putting them on fish oil. Logically, every person who has prostate cancer will have higher blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids because of their diet.
In summary, I’m not buying it. I can’t believe that any group of people can believe so heartily in some of these nasty medications that screw up our bodies and be so anti- natural God-given things like fish.
Cut out everything man-made, eat everything the way God made it and you’ll weather these silly whims.