Many Americans take fish oil supplements to increase their daily intake and combat deficiencies of important omega-3 fatty acids. Conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure can see improvement with a daily dose of fish oil.
This sounds positive, but there may be a downside to these supplements too, according to a new study.
ABC News reports a study’s findings that there may be a correlation between increased levels of those omega-3 fatty acids and an increased chance of developing prostate cancer—as much as 43% increased risk.
Researchers discovered this by analyzing the blood concentrations of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in men with prostate cancer and men without. They found higher levels of omega-3s in the men with prostate cancer.
However, ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser warns against cutting omega-3s out of your diet because the study does not prove that the fatty acids are what caused the prostate cancer.
Instead, he suggests that you aim to get omega-3s from food, rather than dietary supplements, and to weigh the pros and cons of using a fish oil supplement with your physician.
Meanwhile, these small capsules could lend a hand in protecting women’s health. ABC News reports a Chinese study that links fish oil—not necessarily the fish itself—with a 14 percent decreased risk of breast cancer.
If substantiated through further research, this would be huge news for women’s health, since breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as the most deadly types of cancer for women.
Yet, many scientists agree that more research is necessary to prove the direct link between fish oil and reduced breast cancer risk. These scientists advise that consuming the fish itself is superior to using supplements, but that the supplements would be beneficial for those who dislike fish.