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Heart-healthy Omega-3s not good for prostate

High levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are associated with a high risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer, while raised levels of unhealthy trans-fatty acids may lower the risk.

Heart-healthy Omega-3s not good for prostate

High levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are associated with a high risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer, while raised levels of unhealthy trans-fatty acids may lower the risk.

Researchers studied data from an American study of 3,461 men, and found that those with the highest blood percentages of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer than those with the lowest DHA levels.

DHA is an inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fatty fish. In the study, the men consumed the DHA primarily from fish rather than fish oil supplements.

It was also found that the risk of aggressive prostate cancer was 50 percent lower in men with the highest blood levels of trans-fatty acids, which are abundant in processed foods and associated with inflammation and heart disease. There was no link between prostate cancer risk and omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in most vegetable oils and are thought to promote inflammation. None of the these types of fats were associated with the risk of low-grade prostate cancer.

The findings turn what we know - or rather what we think we know - about diet, inflammation and the development of prostate cancer on its head and shine a light on the complexity of studying the association between nutrition and the risk of various chronic diseases.

The researchers don't believe men who are concerned about heart disease should stop using fish oil supplements or eating salmon or other fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Overall, the beneficial effects of eating fish to prevent heart disease outweigh any harm related to prostate cancer risk. What the results show is the complexity of nutrition and its impact on disease risk.
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