If you grew up in a health-oriented home or just happen to be a health nut, odds are you’ve familiar upon a certain fatty acid group known as Omega-3. The name stems from its consisting of three fats: ALA, EPA, and DHA, usually found in oils, namely fish, krill, egg, and more. Omega 3 has a wide range of health benefits, including maintaining metabloism, improvements in behavioral and cognitive performance, cardiac health, and reducing the risk of dementia. However, like just about everything, it also functions as a double-ended sword.
In 2011, a study was conducted by the Fred Hutch Public Health Science Division of the National Cancer Institute found that high concentrations of the fatty acid DHA in the blood were associated with higher risks for prostrate cancer. Just recently the study was replicated for safe measure, and lo and behold: the original findings hold weight. In addition to the DHA, an increased combination of all three was found to lead to a 71% increase in high-risk prostrate cancer, plus a 44% increase in low-grade cancer and a 43% increase across the board. This, not surprisingly, comes a shock to the medical community given the array of benefits associated with Omega 3, especially in the cardiac domain. One detrimental effect of these fatty acids (although there’s no clear link between it and cancer that I saw) is that they tend to convert to harmful substances that can damage DNA and cells themselves; another side-effect is that of its implication in immunosuppression, which I find very surprising. However, the link between the fatty acids and prostrate cancer still remains unclear, with Ohio State University’s Theodor Brasky, PhD, remarking, “It’s important to note, however, that these results do not address the question of whether omega-3’s play a detrimental role in prostate cancer prognosis,”
Whether or not this link really exists, two things are true:
1) The data found is solid and should not be taken with a grain of salt.
2) Health substances, beneficial as they may be, aren’t a one-shot solution to everything and should have their side-effects brought to light before being prescribed or purchased (we in Lebanon don’t really believe in doctor’s prescriptions for over-the-counter pills and such).
My advice to anyone taking these pills would be to take them in careful doses or, better yet, find a more palatable alternative if possible. Reading up on the latest in nutritional and health-based literature is always a good solution, too. For the more self-conscious or paranoid types: binging on fish oil pills is not the way to maintaining a healthy and functioning body and could lead to the aforementioned cancer. As scary as it sounds nothing’s final yet, so just be careful and keep up to date with research on this matter as it develops.
Y’all take care now