Omega-3 fatty acids may be good for you heart, but could they possibly promote prostate cancer? To the shock of the cancer researchers that published a recent study, the answer was yes. According to the press release sent out yesterday, “analyzing data from a nationwide study involving more than 3,400 men, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that men with the highest blood percentages of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, an inflammation-lowering omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fatty fish, have two-and-a-half-times the risk of developing aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest DHA levels.”
However, other research also published this year found that fish consumption actually helped slow the spread of prostate cancer. That research showed that men with a higher intake of fish had a slower spread of prostate cancer and a lower risk of death compared to those who didn’t eat as much fish.
This is not the first time fish oil, the wonder supplement, has gotten some flack recently. Indeed, other research found the fatty acid may not be helpful in preventing or slowing down Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s prevention is of paramount importance, especially since baby boomers started to turn 65 earlier this year. A number of epidemiological studies have found that higher consumption of Docosaehexanoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fat found in fatty fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, whitefish and seaweed, is associated with reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. So researchers were hopeful it might also serve as a treatment for the cognitive decline characteristic of the disease among people who already have it. However, a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that DHA supplementation did not reduce cognitive decline in those with Alzheimer’s.
So while omega-3s may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it does have a place in a heart-healthy, low-fat diet. As with so many things diet related, all good things in moderation.