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Omega-3 Fatty Acids - are they safe?

A recent study that suggested omega-3 fatty acids were responsible for increasing the risk of prostate cancer in men, has sent alarms bells ringing. But is there really any need to be alarmed? Many Questions remain unanswered, so we did a bit of research to find out the real story. 

1. What was the source of omega -3? There is a certain amount of doubt surrounding the source of  omega-3 for some of the men during the study. It seems many of the men were not actually taking omega-3 supplements, but were instead getting omega-3 from their diet - but what else was in their diet? And, furthermore, the researchers did not account for any pollutants that may have been present.

2. The measure of evaluating the omega-3 intake was not a good gauge of long term omega-3 consumption. Plasma phospholipid levels can be influenced by a single meal. These levels can increase or decrease, based on a single meal within a 48 hour period.
3. The study did not determine the omega-3 levels that were already present in the patient  before they got cancer. It’s possible that those with prostate cancer may have been trying to eat a healthier, “anti-inflammatory” diet and, therefore, included more fish or fish oil in their diet, and so had higher levels of omega-3.

4. The study results are based on an “association”, which never proves causation. The varying levels of fatty acids could be the result of cancer rather than the cause of it; or the different cancer rates could be due to common unmeasured toxins or heavy metals found in fish from contaminated water.
5. There are over 10,000 studies that have been conducted that provide sufficient evidence to state with confidence that omega-3s are beneficial for health.

This is only a very short summary – for more information on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, pop in and see us at 
The Herbal Dispensary. Personally, I still support omega-3s daily for overall health.


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