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Fish Oil Bad For Prostate?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 21, 2011 at 6:53 PM

What is the Paleo take on this study:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/heart/articles/2011/04/25/heart-healthy-omega-3s-not-healthy-for-prostate-study

It argues that Fish Oil (in the study of 3,400 Americans, they ate fish - not supplements), although good for the heart, is bad for the prostate.

Thoughts?

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 24, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Based on current research, either option seems okay for you: 1 tsp of cod liver oil or salmon. As for someone already with cancer, I would not advise any fish oil. I would also not advise any sugar. And I would look into following a ketogenic diet that flatlines insulin. For example: google, ketogenic diet and cancer.

B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on May 22, 2011
at 01:17 AM

Hi, Jim. Thanks!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 21, 2011
at 09:15 PM

Hi, Angelo. Big fan of your podcast... thanks for your efforts.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 21, 2011
at 08:03 PM

plus 100 if i could give it to you

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 21, 2011
at 08:03 PM

real bad study......I would not use it at all.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on May 21, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Thanks - though I might just have to steal your metaphor. ;) Do I have permission to use it?

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 21, 2011
at 07:14 PM

Once again, nothing to add here. Farmed fish are stuffed with known carcinogens. That's like doing a study on dipping towels in buckets of water. p<0.01, we conclude that there is statistical significance in the data to show that water is indeed wet.

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5 Answers

6
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on May 21, 2011
at 08:00 PM

This isn't a particularly good study because it is also more or less a drug study with the drug making a large impact on risk. Paul Jaminet comments here:

"Is the DHA-cancer connection drug-driven?: Via Dennis Mangan, I???m informed of a helpful comment on the Brasky study by commenter Karl at FuturePundit. Key points: Half of the subjects in the study were on the drug finasteride (Propecia, Proscar). The finasteride arm had 78% more high-grade cancers than the placebo arm.

While tissue DHA levels were strongly associated with high-grade cancer, EPA levels weren???t. On the one hand this is consistent with our idea that high tissue DHA drives cancer via the DHA-angiogenesis mechanism we???ve been discussing: only DHA, not EPA, produces high-grade cancer.

However, normally tissue DHA and EPA are obtained from food and levels go up or down together. Few people in the study supplemented DHA alone; so DHA and EPA levels should have been high or lower together and both should have shown the association.

A plausible explanation would be that the drug was raising DHA levels artificially, and triggering high-grade cancers.

Unfortunately the study doesn???t report the level-response relationship between DHA and high-grade cancers separately in the finasteride and placebo arms ??? only in the two groups combined. I see this as a failure of the reviewers and an embarrassment to the authors.

Taking Propecia for an enlarged prostate may be much more dangerous than eating salmon.

This plausible hypothesis makes me more comfortable maintaining our recommendation to eat a pound of cold-water marine fish per week."

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=3338

By the entire body of literature I can conclude 4 things.

  1. Trans fats kill you dead.

  2. Too much linoleic acid is a causative factor in all cancers.

  3. Inflammation is a causative factor in all cancers, and a certain amount of DHA is necessary for optimal levels of inflammation.

  4. Too much DHA IS bad, but whether or not it will cause cancer in healthy people is highly debatable. Fish-consuming populations tend to have very low rates of cancer. What constitutes "too much" is also highly debatable.

So indeed even if it wasn't a bad study it would still be at odds with the literature. Like here for example http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10584888

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 21, 2011
at 08:03 PM

plus 100 if i could give it to you

1
B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on May 21, 2011
at 08:52 PM

Denise Minger picked this study apart in a guest-column written for Mark's Daily Apple. It's worth reading:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/fish-oil-prostate-cancer/

First things first: Can we really conclude that the men with high DHA levels were eating more fish (or fish oil) than the rest of the gang?

The answer is a resounding ???nope??? ??? and this is why the current fish-condemning media coverage is a load of hooey. Although consuming more DHA can definitely boost your serum levels, the reverse isn???t always true: elevated DHA doesn???t automatically mean you???re a sushi fiend or loyal fish-oil guzzler. Guess what else can increase omega-3 fats in your blood? You???ll get a hoot from this one: low-fat diets.

I also talked about this and Denise's response on Latest in Paleo, Episode 14: http://www.latestinpaleo.com/paleo-podcast/2011/5/2/episode-14-bacon-saves-manhood.html

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 21, 2011
at 09:15 PM

Hi, Angelo. Big fan of your podcast... thanks for your efforts.

B294438548c32ed878905baf6cd1b332

on May 22, 2011
at 01:17 AM

Hi, Jim. Thanks!

1
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on May 21, 2011
at 07:11 PM

I wonder how much information is available on:

a) The species of oily fish consumed e.g. apex predators like tuna or small fry like sardines/anchovies.

b) The quality of the fish e.g. farmed vs wild caught.

For example, mercury, which is present in greater concentrations the higher up the food chain you go, is also a factor in prostate cancer. Equally, farmed fish are as polluted as their "toxic soup" environments/diets, so I imagine that the hefty dose of PCBs/heavy metals along for the ride with the O3s would cancel out some of the latter's benefits from a cancer-prevention view.

Edit: a quick Google search reveals a rather graphic insight into the exact ingredients of this "toxic soup".

http://www.dietmindspirit.org/2008/01/30/why-you-shouldnt-eat-this-fish-pangas-pangasius-vietnamese-river-cobbler-white-catfish-gray-sole/

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 21, 2011
at 07:14 PM

Once again, nothing to add here. Farmed fish are stuffed with known carcinogens. That's like doing a study on dipping towels in buckets of water. p<0.01, we conclude that there is statistical significance in the data to show that water is indeed wet.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on May 21, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Thanks - though I might just have to steal your metaphor. ;) Do I have permission to use it?

0
D5096ff5baffc0ba5d20b21346414a7a

(1112)

on May 23, 2011
at 11:31 AM

Rather than ask my question, I am posting on this thread.

As an older woman eating grain free, sugar free, seed oil free and low carb, do I take 1 tsp. Carlson Cod liver oil to help omega 3s since I can't eat grass fed beef (Kurt Harris), do I eat no more than 1 lb. salmon a week (Paul Jaminet), and what about my friend with bone cancer...no fish oil?

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 24, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Based on current research, either option seems okay for you: 1 tsp of cod liver oil or salmon. As for someone already with cancer, I would not advise any fish oil. I would also not advise any sugar. And I would look into following a ketogenic diet that flatlines insulin. For example: google, ketogenic diet and cancer.

0
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on May 22, 2011
at 03:28 AM

I would be much more cautious when you administer DHA to those susceptible to developing prostate cancer (as the study was).

Consider:

1 tbsp of fish oil per day is equivalent to 4.8g of n-3 and about 1.5g of DHA. Do you realize how much fish consumption that is: ~1,800g of fish per day. The Japanese only consume around 60g of fish per day or 150mg of n-3. Not even those Inuits or Eskimos could consume that much fish in a day. I think the math is correct here. Somebody point out if it's not. ~1/3 of DHA per n-3. That's what we're talking about. Even a teaspoon of fish oil is equilvanet to eating 600g of fatty fish from the North Sea.

The fish oil is a very concentrated form of DHA, EPA and other n-3 acids. Presumably, it is necessary if you eat a SAD where n-6 trumps n-3. But a tablespoon or more each day for something that only accrues benefit through this "balancing act"? Maybe the Inuits and Eskimos don't get cancer because they never get to consume 1,800g+ of fish.

That's the point that gets missed. The difference between what works and what doesn't is the dose: At a low dose, fish oil seems to work. At 1 tbsp? I'm not so sure.

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