Recently a study was released that got a lot of time in the press. It drew a connection between fish oil consumption and an increased risk of prostate cancer in men. The article summarized a research study that followed a group of men and discovered this correlation.
As someone who recommends fish oils to most of my patients as a healthy lifestyle choice – part of leading a chiropractic lifestyle. So, this study was concerning. Especially when considering the implications of taking fish oils – many people immediately wonder, “Could this actually be harmful?”
I often hear frustration from patients when it comes to nutrition that it seems complicated. One day something is good for you – the next, it’s bad.
And it can be frustrating.
Specifically when it comes to fish oils and this study – there has to be more to the story. I recommend fish oils because from my earliest nutrition class I heard study after study touting its benefits. It’s been shown to be protective against heart disease, helpful with arthritis, good for eye health and yes, even preventative when it comes to some cancers.
So what’s with this study?
Well, the study was epidemiological, meaning that it was conducted by following a group of men and observing certain characteristics. This is different from an interventional study. This means that while you can draw correlations you cannot make statements of causation.
Stated differently, this study did not say, “Eating fish oils causes prostate cancer.”
With any study, this one has its limitations. It is difficult to account for all the variables and state with certainty which one or combination of factors “caused” the incidence of cancer.
Not only that, but there are countless other studies that show fish oils benefits in preventing disease even prostate cancer.
Below is a short video by Dr. Jeff Bland, Phd discussing this study as well as the message we should take from it. Watch the short video and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!