Omega 3 study flawed
Men who eat a lot of seafood or take fish oil supplements can relax – the recent study linking omega 3 and prostate cancer is as good as a fish out of water.
An Ohio State University study published last month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute claimed that omega 3 fatty acids in oily fish increased the risk of prostate cancer in men.
The study has since been condemned as having methodological flaws. For instance, it was not designed to investigate the role of omega 3 intake and prostate cancer, but the effects of selenium and vitamin E on prostate cancer.
There was no evidence that anyone in the study took fish oil supplements, or how their omega 3 intake was achieved.
Finally, if the study was accurate, prostate cancer would be rampant in any country with high seafood consumption, such as Scandinavia and Japan, and it is not.
In fact, a 2010 large-scale metaanalysis of 31 studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found high levels of fish consumption not only did not increase the risk of prostate cancer diagnosis, four of those studies found a 63 per cent decrease in risk of death from prostate cancer for high fish consumption.
Natural Products New Zealand executive director Alison Quesnel, says Ohio’s prostate study was irresponsible and ignored the great body – including 10,000 scientific studies – of evidence collected over many decades showing the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.
‘‘Multiple benefits of this essential nutrient include supporting cardiovascular health, brain development and function, mental health and inflammatory conditions,’’ Ms Quesnel says.
‘‘This [study] is nothing more than scaremongering. The authors of the study have jumped to a bold conclusion, but experts comment that it cannot show any sort of cause-andeffect relationship. The fact that the study was not designed to evaluate the question the researchers sought to confirm, highlights its lack of robustness and fails to show any significant data.
‘‘Omega 3 is an essential nutrient which provides many health benefits and people, particularly men, should not stop eating fish or taking omega 3 supplements based on this study.’’
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