Prostate Cancer and Fish Oil Connection

Fish oil is great source for omega-3 fatty acids, essential nutrient associated with numerous health benefits. This message is the major reason of why many people can spend lots of money to take it as supplement. But even the good thing could lead to the problem if you take it too much. A research suggests that overloaded fish oil supplement might increase the risk of prostate cancer.

The major risk factors

image_illustration262In general, age plays a key role in the risk of prostate cancer. Yap, your risk increases naturally as you age. In fact, the disease occurs more often in older men, especially older than 50. This is non-modifiable risk factor.

Other factors that may have role are ethnicity and genetic. The disease is more common in black males and less common in Asian males. And in general, it is more common in white males than in Asian males.

Males with a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer are at high risk for developing the same problem. Son, father, and brother are the first-degree relatives. Furthermore, the risk is relative higher for those with a family history of breast cancer.

Scientists are continuously observing the modifiable risk factors for the disease, too. Unfortunately, no one has been confirmed. Nevertheless, some experts believe that obesity may have a role to increase the risk.

The connection between prostate cancer and fish oil

Omega-3 fatty acid content is the major reason that makes fish oil special. Since the body cannot make this fat, you need to get it through diet.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are two key points of omega-3 fatty acids. You get these fats from fatty fish such as sardines and salmon. Another kind of omega-3s is alpha-linolenic, it can be found in some plants such as walnuts and flaxseeds. In the body, alpha-linolenic can be converted to EPA and DHA.

According to a study published in JNCI (Journal of the National Cancer Institute) in 2013, a man’s risk of having prostate cancer might increase with too much consumption of oily fish or potent fish oil supplements,

This study showed that a lot of oily fish accumulation in the body or taking fish oil supplement might cause increased risk of prostate cancer overall by about 43 %, and 71 % increased risk for the development of aggressive prostate cancer.

But according to another study published in the NCBI, the effect of diet high in fatty fish might help reduce the risk. Other studies showed no any connection. It seems that the issue of correlation between fish oil and prostate cancer is not final yet.

Everything should be OK as long as it’s taken in balance

The way of food and its complex component in affecting the health of your body is not fully understood yet, it is largely a mystery. The same goes for the use of supplements (including fish oil supplement).

In general, you need to take supplement if your body has a deficiency of specific nutrient /substance. And the effectiveness of taking any supplements for any goal other than treating the deficiency is ‘questionable’.

It is commonly thought that omega-3 fatty acids can provide some health benefits. These include:

  1. They can help fight against inflammation.
  2. Great for normal growth and development.
  3. And essential to improve the brain function.

Lack of these fats may raise the risk of numerous health conditions such as mood disorders, inflammatory disease (like some types of arthritis), cardiovascular diseases, and even some kinds of cancer.

However, all of these benefits are not a license to saturate your body with overloaded omeaga-3 fatty acids. In other words, taking high doses doesn’t interpret to better health & disease prevention!

Despite the potential risk, it is though that eating fish or other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids in moderation is safe for most people, and even can provide health advantages as mentioned before. It seems the key is in the setting of a balanced diet.

Furthermore, it can be much healthier if you restrict the use of supplements (including for fish oil supplements) – unless you do have a deficiency. Because supplements are not purposed to substitute for nutrients content you get from eating fruits, veggies, or other foods!

If now you are taking fish oil supplement, what you should do? If this is prescribed by your doctor, you can keep it! Your doctor must have a reasonable explanation why you need to take the supplement.

But if you take it on your own without prescription, it’s better to re-evaluate your strategy. If you don’t have a deficiency of omega-3s, getting these healthy fats ‘directly’ from your diet is the best option to gain the health advantages and reduce the risk of getting overloaded.

If you don’t like fatty fish, you can get your dietary omega-3s from other seafood or plant-based sources such as chia seeds, canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed, as noted before. But watch on the calories, again you need to stick with a well-balanced diet!

In addition, some studies showed that the risk of prostate cancer might increase with other dietary factors, too. These may include: