When it comes to super foods, it’s likely nothing has grabbed more attention than omega 3. Found in fish oil- it’s known as a friend with benefits, notably for heart health.
“The fish oils are felt to have an anti-inflammatory benefit. They are also felt to have a blood thinning benefit as well as vasodilating properties. So they help to dilate the blood vessels and lower the blood pressure. They also favorably influence the cholesterol profile, which tends to have a beneficial effect in terms of reducing cardiovascular problems,” says Dr. Brian Taschner, interventional cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
Many doctors advise their heart patients to get more omega 3, either through diet or supplements. But new research is making people wonder whether omega 3 is friend or fad.
Recent studies are throwing cold water on fish oil- suggesting a link between omega 3 and aggressive prostate cancer. That research is being met with skepticism, because there was no definite cause and effect shown and higher cancer rates may be linked to mega high intake of fatty fish oil.
Here’s a breakdown of the findings: the journal of the national cancer institute reports men who have high levels of omega 3 in their system face a 43% increased risk of prostate cancer and a 71% increased risk of developing an aggressive form. With many open questions, experts suggest men moderate intake.
“There’s not necessarily a correlation with how much you eat and how much benefit you’re going to obtain. Some of these studies show you just need to have a little bit. Some literature suggests supplements aren’t quite as good,” says Dr. Taschner.
While this study may curb the enthusiasm for fish oil, it’s not wise to drastically change your diet or discontinue omega 3 without consulting your doctor.