Natural Products New Zealand condemns study trying to link Omega-3 with prostate cancer.


“Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the Select Trial” – published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The study suggests men with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood might have a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Natural Products New Zealand’s Executive Director, Alison Quesnel, says the study is irresponsible and ignores the great body of scientific evidence, collected over many decades, that shows the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

“Multiple benefits of this essential nutrient include supporting cardiovascular health, brain development and function, mental health and inflammatory conditions.

“This US study was not designed to investigate the role of Omega-3 intake and prostate cancer but rather to test the effects of Selenium and Vitamin E on cancer prevention and hence no firm conclusions can be drawn, says Ms Quesnel.”

The researchers were quick to blame dietary supplements even though there is no evidence that anybody in this study took fish oil dietary supplements.

The timing of consuming fish oil can dramatically affect the measurement of fatty acids and influence the outcome. The study did not include any information about how the omega-3 intake was achieved.

“The findings are in stark contrast to previous epidemiologic studies and if this study was accurate then prostate cancer would be rampant in any country with high seafood consumption, such as Scandinavia and Japan, and this is clearly not the case.”

In 2010, a large-scale meta-analysis of 31 studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high levels of fish consumption did not increase the risk of prostate cancer diagnosis. In fact, in the same meta-analysis, data from four studies found a 63% decrease in risk of death from prostate cancer for high fish consumption, showing a protective effect of Omega-3 fish oil against prostate cancer.

“This is nothing more than scaremongering. The authors of the study have jumped to a bold conclusion but experts comment that it cannot show any sort of cause and effect relationship. The fact that the study was not designed to evaluate the question the researchers sought to confirm highlights its lack of robustness and fails to show any significant data”, says Ms Quesnel.

“Omega-3 is an essential nutrient which provides many health benefits and people, particularly men, should not stop eating fish or taking Omega-3 supplements based on this study.”


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