At the end of last week, NBC News ran with a story that has sent shock waves through the nutrition world. Once thought to be a pillar of the optimal diet, fish oil came under attack for raising the prospect of prostate cancer among men. As you probably know, fish oil is “a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are marketed to reduce the risk of just about everything from heart disease to Alzheimer’s.” Admitting that the findings were “startling”, NBC pointed out that the study, covered in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, demonstrated that “Men with the very highest levels had a 71 percent higher risk of high-grade prostate cancer—the kind most likely to spread and kill.” Theodore Brasky of Ohio State University Medical Center, who worked on the study with a team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle was quoted as saying, “A 70 percent increased risk in high-grade prostate cancer, given it’s the No. 1 cancer in men and fish is a commonly consumed thing and is thought to be a healthy food, I think it’d be a concern for people.” The kicker for me was that the researchers went on to say, “The difference between the group with the highest levels of omega-3s in their blood and those with the lowest works out to about what someone would get by eating salmon twice a week.” So much for moderation!
Fortunately, for those of you who follow this blog and heeded the advice given in “Omega-3’s: The Best Source“, these findings have no impact on you whatsoever. Even the NBC report made it clear that the cancer-producing effects came only from “the kinds found in fish, but not in vegetable sources“. The researchers point out that, “Fatty acids found in vegetable oils, flaxseeds and other vegetable sources—including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)–did not affect prostate cancer risk”.
We humans don’t make our own omega-3 fatty acids, nor do fish! If you want the benefits that come with getting the appropriate amount of these essential nutritional ingredients, cut out fish as the dangerous middleman and go directly to the same safe and effective source they do, as explained in “Omega-3’s: The Best Source“.
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