Consuming high levels of fish oils from omega supplements could be putting men at an increased risk of prostate cancer, new research suggests.
Fish oils are promoted as health supplements
Scientists believe that men with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood concentration levels were 71% more likely to develop high-grade prostate cancer.
The research was conducted by scientists led by Alan Kristal from the Fred Hutch Public Health Sciences Division. The study was published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute.
There was a 43% increased risk for any kind of prostate cancer if blood concentration levels contained high levels of EPA, DHA and DPA – all forms of omega-3 acids.
Scientists were concerned that omega-3 supplements promoted to support a healthy heart can have such a strong association with aggressive prostate cancer.
There were 40,975 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and more than 80% of adult prostate cancer patients survive for more than five years, according to Cancer Research UK.
The journal’s authors stated: “These fatty acids are involved in prostate tumorigenesis and recommendations to increase long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake, in particular through supplementation, should consider its potential risks."
A previous study from 2011 found that high levels of DHA made its user more than twice as likely to develop high-grade prostate cancer.
The study assessed the omega-3 content in blood concentration levels of more than 800 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and almost 1,400 men from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).
Despite omega-3 being marketed as providing the user with a number of positive health benefits, this study suggests that high levels could be a factor in some prostate cancer cases.
It remains unknown why or how the omega-3 may be contributing to an increased risk in prostate cancer but one theory is that the fatty acids convert into compounds that damage cells and DNA.
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