6

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Do fish oil pills cause cancer or cardiac problems?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 28, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Paul Jaminet recently discussed the link between high DHA and cancer, which complements his earlier post on the risks of fish oil pills versus eating fish.

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=3287

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=55

Reference: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110425135643.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12571649?dopt=AbstractPlus

(There are similar posts, but none that I found which directly address these specific issues; sorry in advance if I missed them.)

What does everyone think: are fish oil pills safe and effective sources of n-3? They might oxidize too easily. And they might make high doses too easy to consume.

Regarding the former concern, the common approach is to crack a pill open and smell it to see if it has turned rancid. As an aside, I wonder if the cardiac issues are caused by rancid pills that could be screened in this manner, or if their toxicity manifests in a manner that is harder to detect and preempt.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:17 PM

I actually was not swayed enough to switch to the olive oil ones, since that adds a considerable amount of omega-6. But overall, who knows which is better?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:08 PM

Thanks Kamal. Guess I'll buy them in olive oil now.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 29, 2011
at 01:12 PM

Dr. K- do you take nine grams of fish oil in addition to eating fish on a regular/semiregular basis? I'm wondering if that would put you at under one to one.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 29, 2011
at 12:31 PM

If you eat a lot of fish have insulin levels below 3 a HbA1c below 4.7 I think you're ok on you're own. Only groups of people who routinely fit that profile are old school inuits and okinoweans. You also want your TG below 40 and US-CRP as close to zero as possible. I eat extremely clean like you and I still take nine grams a day as supplement The reason? I want my biomarkers optimal because even with my diet I can't keep my omega 6/3 index at one to one

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:53 AM

Here you go...http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf970587%2B

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:51 AM

ROB- luckily, it's not a claim. I nabbed the finding from a paper on pubmed, and will try to find it again in two shakes.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:15 AM

Could you post a reference to the claim that sardines canned in spring water are more oxidized than ones canned in olive oil. I was under the impression that the ones in spring water were safer because the ones canned in olive oil could potentially have oxidized olive oil.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:33 AM

Dr. K, I do not take fish oils or supplements of any kind. I do eat salmon once a week (2 days in a row w/leftovers) and the occasional can of sardines in evo. Not to hog the original posters question but, why should I supplement?

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3 Answers

3
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:55 PM

I think that there are too many confounders to make a comprehensive statement. My workplace was actually hired seven years ago by the federal government to do the systematic review on omega-3 and health outcomes. Unfortunately, I wasn't here back then, but there are some important things I gathered:

1) Study results conflict for several legitimate reasons. For example, baseline omega-3 intakes differed depending on geography.

2) Subgroups were not adequately analyzed. In other words, subgroups were analyzed but were not large enough to attain the power to detect a potential difference between groups.

3) There is **ABSOLUTELY NO ATTENTION PAID TO OXIDATION** in most studies.

4) There is little attention paid to the balance of other fatty acids, which can be antagonistic or synergistic with omega 3.

Point number 3 is critical. Old fish oil is much worse than new fish oil. Light/air/heat have effects. Sardines canned in water are more oxidzed than sardines canned in olive oil, because of something to do with the aqueous/lipid barrier.

If you take fish oil, it might be good to take a look at where your fish oil brand rates with regards to oxidative products. Here is the most comprehensive database I've run into:

http://www.ifosprogram.com/ifos/ConsumerReport.aspx

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:15 AM

Could you post a reference to the claim that sardines canned in spring water are more oxidized than ones canned in olive oil. I was under the impression that the ones in spring water were safer because the ones canned in olive oil could potentially have oxidized olive oil.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:51 AM

ROB- luckily, it's not a claim. I nabbed the finding from a paper on pubmed, and will try to find it again in two shakes.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:08 PM

Thanks Kamal. Guess I'll buy them in olive oil now.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:17 PM

I actually was not swayed enough to switch to the olive oil ones, since that adds a considerable amount of omega-6. But overall, who knows which is better?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:53 AM

Here you go...http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf970587%2B

0
0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:16 PM

Denise Minger just weighed in on this one as a guest blog on Mark's Daily Apple:

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

While she concedes that fish oil supplementation isn't necessarily a health Mecca...

A bad diet plus fish oil is still a bad diet. And given the oxidation-prone nature of all polyunsaturated fats, a massive intake of omega-3’s – despite their brilliance in moderation – could potentially do more harm than good.

...she concludes that the study itself is flawed, however, because of confounding variables like the fact that low-fat diets also boost serum DHA levels independent of DHA consumption.

Check out this intervention study from 2001, which measured changes is serum fatty acids after feeding folks either a low fat (20% of calories) or high fat (45% of calories) diet. Although the low-fat dieters didn’t get any special omega-3 boost, the levels in their blood rose disproportionately by the end of the trial. The study concluded that “Consumption of a low fat diet alters fatty acid patterns in a manner similar to that observed with feeding of (n-3) long-chain fatty acids.” In other words, fat restriction caused blood levels of omega-3 fats to resemble that of seafood lovers.

Hmmmm.

0
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Oxidized fish oil is bad. Saying you should not take fish oil is more crazy

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 29, 2011
at 01:12 PM

Dr. K- do you take nine grams of fish oil in addition to eating fish on a regular/semiregular basis? I'm wondering if that would put you at under one to one.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:33 AM

Dr. K, I do not take fish oils or supplements of any kind. I do eat salmon once a week (2 days in a row w/leftovers) and the occasional can of sardines in evo. Not to hog the original posters question but, why should I supplement?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 29, 2011
at 12:31 PM

If you eat a lot of fish have insulin levels below 3 a HbA1c below 4.7 I think you're ok on you're own. Only groups of people who routinely fit that profile are old school inuits and okinoweans. You also want your TG below 40 and US-CRP as close to zero as possible. I eat extremely clean like you and I still take nine grams a day as supplement The reason? I want my biomarkers optimal because even with my diet I can't keep my omega 6/3 index at one to one

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