Men have been advised to be wary of taking fish oil supplements as a new research from the National Cancer Institute has linked them to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Fish oil supplements high in Omega-3 fatty acids are in high demand due to their acclaimed numerous health benefits. But the new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute notes that men with high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood are more likely to develop prostate cancer, the most common cancer affecting men.
Omega-3 fatty acids are common in fish like salmon, flaxseed oil, nuts, and certain spices. Numerous studies have found that they can be good for a person’s heart and can help lower cholesterol.
The research team, consisting of experts at leading institutions across America, studied 834 men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of them, 156 had high-grade cancer.
Researchers found that men with the highest concentrations of fish-derived Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had a 43 percent greater risk of developing cancer compared to men with the lowest concentrations.
On the flip side, they found that men with higher concentrations of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, had lower incidences of prostate cancer. Linoleic acid is found in high concentrations in Salicornia, safflower, sunflower, poppy seed, grape seed, and evening primrose oils. It’s also found in olive oil, which is similarly high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Based on this new study, researchers have stressed the need for doctors to weigh a man’s prostate cancer risk before recommending Omega-3 fatty acids in foods or supplements.