Monday, July 15, 2013

Why The Fish Oil and Prostate News Does Not Hold Water

It sure sounded fishy...
like an attack on the natural supplement industry.

By now you may have heard about a study that claims to link fish oil supplements to an increase in prostate cancer. High fatty acid levels in patients that had prostate cancer led to some pretty scary sounding "conclusions" .

Well now, what did the lead researcher conclude:

"Dr  Alan Kristal said the levels of omega-3 linked to the increased cancer risk would be reached by taking just one supplement a day, or three or four meals of fish such as salmon and mackerel each week."

Make sure you don't tell those in the Mediterranean or the Orient who consume fish as a staple and have a low incidence of prostate cancer!

How can that be? Let's look at the study. I think that you will agree that the researchers had no grounds to make these .statements

Okay, first,(surprise!) this was not a study designed to find if fish oil in fact causes prostate cancer. Nope. The study looked at 2,227 men, 834 of whom had prostate cancer. Doesn't say how they were selected, but if 1/3 of them had prostate cancer, it's already biased.


Next, the researchers were quick to blame dietary supplements, but the study did not contain any information on how the omega 3 levels were achieved, through supplements or diet. 
Read that again: They did not include an analysis of what the men ate or even if - and what type- of supplements they took. Perhaps the men who had high fatty acid levels ate fish and/or took cheaper fish oil supplements that contained mercury, and that is the real cause of the increased risk. (?)

So, we don't know IF the study participants even took took any fish oil supplements.

To be fair, the media should also report on the multiple studies that WERE designed to find out the effect that epa/dha has on prostate, with beneficial results. For the adventerous readers here are a few examples here which show epa/dha has a positive effect on prostate.

The real risk is jumping to conclusions before knowing all the facts.



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