Both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids create hormones in our bodies, but omega-6 fatty acids increase inflammation, blood clotting, and cell proliferation, while those from omega-3 fatty acids decrease those functions.
Since unhealthy diets containing processed foods are high in omega-6 fatty acids, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are needed to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids are found mainly in fish, but can also be found in wheat germ, free-range beef and poultry, kidney beans, navy beans, tofu, winter and summer squash, raspberries, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, romaine lettuce, and collard greens.
But instead of obtaining omega-3 fatty acids from natural sources, which is always the best option, many people take omega-3 fish oil supplements.
Now, according to an article in Mail Online, experts are suggesting omega-3 fatty acids may raise the risk of prostate cancer by more than 70 per cent. Researchers warned against omega-3 pills, and recommended eating just one or two meals of oily fish per week.
Those with the highest levels of omega-3 in their blood were also more likely to contract the slower, less deadly form of the disease, with the overall prostate cancer risk raised by 43 per cent.
According to researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, “there is really no evidence that taking dietary supplements is beneficial to health, and there is increasing evidence that taking high doses is harmful.”
Dr Alan Kristal said the levels of omega-3 linked to the increased cancer risk would be reached by taking just one supplement a day, or three or four meals of fish such as salmon and mackerel each week.
Dr Kristal stressed that when compared to fatty acids received by eating oily fish, the amount consumed via pills was huge.
Professor Malcolm Mason of Cancer Research UK said the study is surprising, and more research is needed.
Professor Mason stressed the researchers could not be certain whether the study’s participants ate oily fish or took omega-3 supplements.
Dr Iain Frame of Prostate Cancer UK agreed that larger and more complex studies will need to take place before the risks of a diet high in omega-3 balance against its benefits are understood.