By Mehroz Siraj
A new study conducted in the United States has established possible links between consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids and aggressive prostate cancer in men in their middle and older ages.
The basic thesis of the study maintains that consumption of more than two serves of Omega-3 supplements, or a corresponding amount of fatty fish in weekly food intakes, could increase chances of prostate cancer in men, by over 75 per cent, as reported by ABC Radio.
The study which was conducted by the Seattle based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre also added that excessive intake of Omega-3 would disproportionately affect middle and older aged men, instead of younger men and women.
The study’s lead author, professor Alan Kristol said that a robust research methodology was employed in order to derive the findings.
“This study measured the level of omega-3 fatty acids in blood, which reflects your intake, either from diet or dietary supplements,” Kristol told ABC Radio.
These new findings have shocked many researchers and nutritionists because omega-3 is renowned for its anti-inflammatory effects.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Cancer of Australia, Ian Olver echoed some of these stunned views.
“It was expected that it would be the other way around, that it should help with cancer because it’s got anti-inflammatory properties and other things,” he said.
“So the mechanism is not known, but it is the second study that has suggested that,” Olver added indicating that members of the scientific community would be keen to study these new findings further.
Analysts and researchers have been quick to suggest that these new findings required further scientific testing and analysis before they could be accepted universally.
However, they also say that previously conducted scientific studies on fish oils have correctly shown that intake of these proteins does reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases due to its anti-inflammatory affects.
Professor Peter Howe, who is the director of the Clinical Nutritional and Research Centre at the University of Newcastle, said that scientific studies done earlier this year had shown that due to its anti-inflammatory benefits, consumption of moderate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids would enable adults to live longer.
While disagreeing with the Seattle study’s new findings, Professor Howe also said that taking omega-3 supplements was not necessary in all cases.
“We are talking about levels that can indeed be achieved through the consumption of oily fish in our diet,” Professor Howe remarked.
Olver supported this view as well.
“What we should be doing is promoting healthy diets that are well-balanced, because the best way of getting all these vitamins and supplements is through your food,” he told ABC Radio.
New and ongoing studies on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids have created more divisions and frictions amongst members of the global scientific community.
Some renowned scientists and medical researchers believe that the recent study done in Seattle does not present a strong case of establishing new scientific realities for the fatty acids.
Other researchers however believe that the new revelations are rigorous enough to enable scientists to undertake more research into possible the side-effects of omega-3 consumption.
They also said that as the researchers who conducted the latest study were rigorous and methodical in their approaches; their conclusions in the study should be used to establish new scientific realities regarding the side-effects omega-3 fatty acids in the future.