In July, a study named SELECT was published which made headlines and left many patients confused and alarmed regarding the safety of Fish Oil.
Earlier research supports the fact that Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in fish reduce the risk of heart attacks, heart failure, sudden cardiac death, and heart rhythm problems, and may even help ward off Alzheimer’s Disease.
The SELECT Trial published in 07-2013 had several major flaws. It was simply an observational study, and was not set up to be a Cause and Effect trial. We do not know how many of the men in the trial had prostate cancer BEFORE the trial was started. No supplements or dietary intake were even recorded, including no documentation regarding the intake of fish or fish oils.
In the study, men who developed prostate cancer already had multiple risk factors for the cancer. The patients with prostate cancer were also smokers (53%), regularly consumed alcohol (64%), had a first degree relative with prostate cancer (30%), and were obese (80%). These confounding variables known to impact prostate cancer were not “controlled for” in the study.
Several even larger studies report that the fatty acids in fish actually DO protect against prostate cancer.
I utilize Omega-3 Fatty acids as an often necessary component to treat vascular inflammation, plaque stabilization, and prevention of vascular events and death. There is no panacea treatment nor miracle cure for vascular disease. Whether or not Omega-3 is necessary for an individual patient should be discussed based on the nuances of that single patient’s health and overall prevention goals.