Fish oil, made from the tissue of oily fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, trout, and sardines, has long been used to reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Also known as an omega-3 fatty acid, fish oil has a range of other benefits, including fighting depression and reducing inflammation, which has helped to increase the popularity of fish oil supplements. However, new research shows a link between fish oil supplements and an increased risk of prostate disease.
Research offered in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported a 71 percent higher risk for dangerous high-grade prostate cancer among men who ate fatty fish or took fish-oil supplements. While researchers are not quite sure why omega-3s are linked to a greater risk of prostate cancer, findings suggest that they are involved in tumor formation. A large study in Europe also found similar evidence of omega-3 fatty acids and a link to prostate cancer risk.
Consistent findings indicate that men may want to be conservative with their intake of fatty fish and fish oil supplements. Increased risk could be seen at the equivalent blood concentrations of omega-3s from eating salmon just twice a week. According to the research, the risk of prostate cancer was roughly 43 percent higher in men with elevated fatty acid levels. Similarly, supplementation with vitamin E was found to raise prostate cancer risk in a trial known as SELECT, the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial.
As with any supplementation, individuals should talk about supplement plans with their doctors and carefully weigh all of the proposed benefits and risks associated with supplementing their diets.