Omega-3s and Prostate Cancer Fact Check: What’s a Guy to Do?

The media is abuzz in the wake of a surprising new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linking omega-3s to a higher risk of prostate cancer. But should men give up eating their salmon?SuppsInFishShape

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are generally acclaimed for their link to reduced inflammation and overall health promotion, especially heart health. Omega-3s are found in salmon and other fatty fish as well as in supplements. Fish oil capsules containing the omega-3s EPA and DHA are among the most popular supplements.

The study measured the percent of three omega-3s most commonly found in fish and supplements – DHA, EPA and DPA – in the blood of 834 men with prostate cancer matched to 1,393 men without cancer. Men with the highest percentage of omega-3s in their blood had a 43% increased risk of prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest concentration. No increase in risk was found in the men in the two middle quartiles – in other words, those with moderate levels.

What’s a guy to do? For now, follow AICR’s evidence-based recommendations for prostate cancer. Men can include plenty of foods rich in the antioxidants lycopene (tomatoes are a great source) and selenium (found in sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts) and rest easy knowing they’re helping reduce their risk of not only cancer but other chronic Continue reading

Major Study: Multivitamins for Cancer Prevention (in Men)?

New results published online today from the Physicians’ Health Study II (PHS II), showed that participants who took a daily multivitamin for 11 years had 8 percent fewer cancers compared to participants who took a daily placebo. The study is a large randomized controlled trial involving over 14,600 male physicians aged 50 and over.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Though the reduction in incidence is relatively small, it is significant, and the PHS II is a large, rigorous and well-respected double-blinded randomized trial. (In the study, one group took a multivitamin and one group took a placebo; neither the subjects nor the doctors knew which was which.) Continue reading

Supplements Lowering Cancer Risk: Insufficient Evidence & Guidelines

If AICR Blog readers represent the US population, almost half of you will reach for a nutritional supplement at some point today. But if you’re taking that supplement to reduce cancer risk, be aware the evidence just doesn’t support that link. And you should have more guidance from government regulators telling you that, argues a commentary published yesterday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In the commentary, the authors reviewed the evidence linking cancer risk to several popular supplements, including vitamin D, beta-carotene and folic acid.

As the authors point out, AICR is among an impressive list of health organization who have reached the same conclusion: there is not yet enough evidence to say that nutritional or phytochemical supplements prevent against cancer.

You can read the abstract of the commentary here.

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