Omega-3 supplements linked with prostate cancer


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Fatty acids found in vegetable oils, flaxseeds and other vegetable sources – including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – did not affect prostate cancer risk, the researchers found.


Here’s a different article with more detail.

MSNBC Article


The issue with ALA is that it is only 5% efficient in converting to to DHA so the body can use it.

Okay, just read the first article. They are saying that we are pretty much OD’ing on the Omega 3’s. The issue is they don’t specify how much Omega 3 you should consume. From what I have read it is around 2 grams per day, but that is by no means definitive.

I have a feeling that if you took enough ALA to get the 2 grams of Omega 3 you would also be OD’ing on it.


They made it clear that it doesn’t apply to vegetable based Omega 3’s, just fish oil based.


I’m trying to hunt down the original study.

My point was that ALA is close to a placebo in the human body. You aren’t really getting anything out of it as it isn’t being converted to DHA or EPA which is what the body uses.

What I want to know is at what levels were these being consumed? If they were taking 5 fish oil supplements a day, then they are idiots. If they were taking one supplement a day, then there may be cause for worry.
Also the articles were talking about DHA, EPA and DPA. Those aren’t just associated with fish oil, those are also affiliated with algae oil and several other oils.

ALA eventually gets converted to DHA but supposedly it is at a rate of less than 5%. Which means you would have to intake an obscene amount of Olive Oil to hit the recommended 2 grams. Based on some quick math you would have to consume 1.5 gallons of Olive Oil a day to get that much 2 grams of Omega 3.

So the question should be, do Omega 3’s cause cancer? And if so, at what levels? Else this is just FUD.


Finally found the study, reading it now.

I am a little surprised with it’s age, and how the media is now publishing articles on it.


It would be somewhat inaccurate to say that the study links fish oil supplements to cancer. What the study showed was that there was a positive correlation between serum levels of DHA and prostate cancer. They didn’t actually have any info on the diet or supplementation habits of any of the participants. It could be that consuming too much fish oil increases your prostate cancer risk, or it could be that a separate factor increases the amount of DHA in your blood and increases your prostate cancer risk. Who knows?

On the other hand, other studies have shown correlation between Omega-3 and cancer. This is why it’s generally recommended to not consume too much of it, no more than about 3mg/day, usually around 2mg/day (the US DRI says 0.6%-1.2% of all calories should be Omega-3).

The other crazy thing in the study is they found a negative correlation between two types of trans-fatty acids and prostate cancer. Do these particular trans-fatty acids lower your risk of cancer? That’d be even more surprising.


I also like this line in the article:

Dr Kristal said: ‘As we do more and more of these studies – and I have
been involved in them most of my career – we find high doses of
supplements have no effect or increase the risk of the disease you are
trying to prevent.

‘There is not really a single example of where taking a supplement
lowers chronic disease risk.’

It’s crazy how many supplements offer crazy high mega-doses of vitamins and minerals. They aren’t good for people.


A British person would not be surprised - the Daily Mail is famous for shouting that everything either causes or cures cancer. (Chocolate, for example, appears to do both.) As they might well have said, “Gay immigrants cause cancer to avoid taxes!”


To be fair, a factor could be increase and decrease cancer risk. Sun exposure increases skin cancer risk, while the resultant Vitamin D may lower other bodily cancer risk.

It’s alarming how much junk science there is pushing supplementation, given that there is little evidence of it providing any appreciable benefit, and some evidence indicating potential harm.


This seems like a great time to re-share this link.

Interactive Snake Oil?


[quote=“andrewf, post:11, topic:4005, full:true”]
To be fair, a factor could be increase and decrease cancer risk. Sun exposure increases skin cancer risk, while the resultant Vitamin D may lower other bodily cancer risk.[/quote]
I haven’t adequately conveyed the magnitude of the Daily Mail’s problem :smile:


What’s funny is that the study only measures levels of omega-3. But if the primary source of omega 3 is fish, isnt it also likely there is a high level of mercury and other trace elements that are found in fish? Omega 3 could simply be the most obvious indicator of consumption - but not necessarily the culprit. We really need better studies.

Couple weeks ago I decided to go with algal based omegas: