A recent study has come to a surprising conclusion about the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids in the role of prostate cancer development. Omega-3 is considered to be a healthy type of fat found in fish such as salmon and herring. It’s long been known that high levels of Omega-3 in your diet has a beneficial effect on the heart, and was also believed to have a cancer fighting effect as well. However, a new study shows that this may not be the case.
The conclusion of the study came from data collected over the course of seven years, looking at a total of around 19,000 men, all of which were over the age of 55. During that time 1,668 of the men (8.8%) developed prostate cancer. This included both slow and aggressive forms of the disease. Of those men, 125 (7.5%) of them developed an aggressive form of the disease. Throughout the study the participants received regular blood tests, and levels of the Omega-3 fatty acid called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) were recorded. At the end of the study these values were compared against the participants and it was found that those with high values of DHA were two and a half times more likely to have developed aggressive prostate cancer. The results run counter to what has been believed of Omega-3 and its overall health benefit.
So what exactly does this mean? Should men stop eating fish? Should they stop taking a multivitamin with Omega-3? The answer is a clear, “no”. Studies such as this one are interesting. They help to shed new light on old information, and at times they break common held beliefs about our health. The reality, however, is that Omega-3 plays a very important role in heart health. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America, killing over 600,000 people per year according to the CDC. Knowing that Omega-3 fatty acids can play a large role in promoting a healthy heart it would be a poor choice to eliminate these good fats from your diet entirely.
What should be done is moderation. This is something I discuss often when it comes to exercise, healthy diet, and healthy living. You can have too much of a good thing, and when that happens, it becomes a bad thing. Regulate your intake of fish, combine it with a sensible diet of vegetables and fibers, and enjoy recommended portion sizes. If you eat well, which includes a variety of healthy foods, and take care of your body, you will reduce your risk of cancer in the long term.