Ridiculous study tries to link prostate cancer and fish oil supplements

Fish oils linked to prostate cancer in new study? Rubbish!


Hardly a month goes by without CANCERactive reporting on the benefits of fish oils with colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and more. Fish oils reduce inflammation in the body, they have been shown to slow ageing, and they were used in UCLA research to reduce the negative effects of stress during cancer and aid survival times in courses on Stress Manacement. Leeds University even did Clinical Trials showing they prevented colon cancer recurrence.

But over the last month men have been asking about new research emblazoned in the media, linking taking fish oils to a higher risk of prostate cancer.

It is the usual junk science and anti-supplement propaganda!

The original research was ‘an observational study’ (and as such cannot show cause), and was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Bizarrely it claims that omega-3 fatty acids, and fish oil supplements in particular, are a cause of aggressive prostate cancer.

There also seems to be one little problem. No fish oil supplements were used in the study! Yet, despite this, one of the researchers (Dr. Alan Kirsty) incredibly said, ’We’ve shown once again that the use of nutritional supplements may be harmful’.


Pharma-driven media campaign?

The problem for Big Pharma is that fish oils have been getting so much good press, the volume consumed is rising and it could make us healthier. Cue research that looked at existing blood levels of both EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in participants. Finding them to be higher in the group with prostate cancer, no one bothered to check ‘why?’

Good research has control groups and also monitors other possible factors like overall dietary elements, weight, age, smoking etc. However, this research did not, so it is hardly surprising that reanalysis of the data showed the majority of those who developed prostate cancer turned out to be obese, smokers with high alcohol consumption.

        - 53% were smokers

        - 64 % regularly consumed alcohol

        - 80% were overweight or obese

Alcohol was shown in previous research covered in Cancer Watch to raise plasma DHA levels (red wine in particular). The mechanism is not known.

How important are these factors? In July 2013 Cancer Watch covered research from Lenore Arab, Ph.D., and his team of researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) who had studied the World Cancer Research Fund’s report that poor diet, alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity led to higher levels of aggressive prostate cancer. Their conclusions recommended consuming low-calorie foods, eating fruits and non-starchy vegetables, and unrefined grains and limiting weekly intake of red meat and salt; along with maintaining desirable ranges of body mass index (BMI) and daily physical activity.

Also, the overall lipid consumption - omega 3 from fish oils. other good fats and oils, omega 6, saturated fats, trans fats - will all affect plasma lipid levels. In other words, for example, all their fats could have been high! And no measurement was made of relativity. I want my omega 3 fats to be much higher than the bad ones. In this study, we just don’t know!


But the Media never mentioned or questioned any of this. They just blindly took the claim that fish oils were the link at face value. Maybe it’s no coincidence that a Senator in America has proposed that all supplements should be treated as ’drugs’ and restricted?

Sensible Science

In 2006 in the British Journal of Cancer, omega 6 was shown to be linked with the spread of prostate cancer but omega 3 stopped it. By 2010, (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010 Nov;92(5):1223-33), there was a meta-study of numerous fish oil research studies which concluded fish oils could lead to a decline in mortality from prostate cancer of two thirds! In 2012 the largest ever study (VITAL) was analysed and concluded fish oils could help beat cancer (CLICK HERE).

Junk Science and quackery

We have had non-stop leakages about the falsification of Pharmaceutical research results in 2012 and 2013. The World Health Organisation reported that there was fraud in the drug chain from top to bottom. We hear endlessly about the need for rigour in research. And then we get this quack study with conclusions and media hype unsupported by the study itself.  It’s just junk science at its worst.

 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/31/omega-3-fats.aspx?e_cid=20130731_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130731#_edn15)


July - Oct 2013 Cancer Watch
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