But a startling study shows men who have the highest levels of these compounds – the kinds found in fish but not in vegetable sources -- have a higher risk of prostate cancer. Men with the very highest levels had a 71 percent higher risk of high-grade prostate cancer – the kind most likely to spread and kill, they report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
It might be a sign that popping a pill is not only possibly a waste of money – it might be downright dangerous. And eating fish too often might be, also.
“These fish oil supplements in which some men getting mega, mega doses…in our opinion that is probably a little bit dangerous,” said Theodore Brasky of Ohio State University Medical Center, who worked on the study with a team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.Even worse, the article goes on to report that even the supposed benefits for heart disease may turn out to be overrated:
But the researchers point out that recent studies have shown taking extra omega-3 has little effect on heart disease – including a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May.That article is pretty interesting -- it describes a study where people at high risk for heart disease, but who were being aggressively treated:
They had not suffered a heart attack but were at high risk of having one because of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity or other conditions. Most already were taking cholesterol-lowering statins, aspirin and other medicines to lower their chances of heart problems.And yet the fish oil supplements were no more effective than placebos in reducing hospitalization for heart disease. And fish oil supplement makers paid for this study. (I bet they wish that they hadn't.) What is fascinating to me is that the article quotes an expert who essentially argues that people who eat high fish diets are probably more focused on good health anyway, and that supplements aren't effective alternatives to healthy eating:
"People who choose to eat more fish are more likely to eat heart healthier diets and engage in more physical activity," and studies testing the benefit of supplements may not be able to completely adjust for differences like these, said Alice Lichtenstein, director of the cardiovascular nutrition lab at Tufts University in Boston.I have a brother-in-law who is skinny, backpacks, bicycles, eats a diet that seems positively hippie compared to me -- and just had surgery for prostate cancer, which appeared quite unexpectedly in his late 50s. I have read that people who are skinny are more prone to cancers, and those who are overweight are more prone to heart disease. Perhaps all we are doing is picking different poisons?