Posted on May 13, 2011, 6 a.m.
Omega-3 fatty acids may significantly increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, however scientists stress that the many benefits outweigh the risks.
A study of more than 3,400 men suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. Dr Theodore Brasky and colleagues from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that men with the highest blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were 2.5 times more likely to develop aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer than men with the lowest blood levels of DHA. Strangely, high blood levels of trans-fatty acids, which are thought to be harmful to health, were associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of prostate cancer. The authors concluded: “Omega-3 fatty acids, considered beneficial for coronary artery disease prevention, may increase high-grade prostate cancer risk, whereas trans-fatty acids, considered harmful, may reduce high-grade prostate cancer risk.” However, Dr Brasky stressed that men who are concerned about heart disease should not stop eating omega-3 rich oily fish. “Overall, the beneficial effects of eating fish to prevent heart disease outweigh any harm related to prostate cancer risk,” he said.