Though omega-3 fatty acids may promote a healthy heart, new studies suggest that consuming too much of the oil may lead to increased risk of prostate cancer.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon, trout, and tuna have recently been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and Alzheimers. Sales of fatty fish and fish oil supplements have skyrocketed since the 2010 revisions to dietary guidelines for Americans, which recommended that consumers substitute high-fat protein sources with more seafood.
A new study in the Journal of National Cancer Institute, however, has shown thatomega-3 fatty acid may not be as good for other organs as they are for the heart. In a trial, participants with high concentrations of omega-3s in their blood showed a 43 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those with lower levels.
Researchers state that while the nutrients commonly found in fish can fight potentially damaging inflammation associated with heart disease, they can also increase oxidative damage to the DNA in cells that can create fertile ground for cancer growth.
Doctor Theodore Brasky, head author of the study and a research assistant professor at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, denounced the tendency to categorize foods as being either good or bad, claiming that this new study does not place omega-3 fatty acids strictly in either category.
Rather, Brasky argues that we need to begin looking at omega-3s in a different way, and that men with a family history of prostate cancer should discuss their daily fish oil intake with their doctor.
Despite the study’s results, most health experts still recommend omega-3s as part of a healthy, balanced diet and urge people to choose fatty fish over fish oil supplements as their source of consumption. Try making one of these easy salmon recipes at home to get your fix of omega-3.