Omega-3s may be good for heart, bad for prostate

As with many things in life, there may be a trade-off when it comes to doing what's right for your heart and for your prostate. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, in what's billed as the largest study ever to examine the association of dietary fats to prostate cancer risk, found that a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acid in the blood have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those with the lowest DHA levels. The men in the study ate the DHA primarily from fish rather than fish oil supplements.

The study also found that the risk of aggressive prostate cancer was 50 percent lower in men with the highest blood levels of trans-fatty acids. That's the bad stuff found in processed foods and are associated with inflammation and heart disease.

"We were stunned to see these results and we spent a lot of time making sure the analyses were correct," researcher Theodore M. Brasky said in a news release. "Our findings turn what we know--or rather what we think we know--about diet, inflammation and the development of prostate cancer on its head and shine a light on the complexity of studying the association between nutrition and the risk of various chronic diseases."

But, the researchers warn, don't throw away your grilled salmon or fish oil supplements out of fear of developing prostate cancer. There's likely more to it than a simple trade-off.

"Overall, the beneficial effects of eating fish to prevent heart disease outweigh any harm related to prostate cancer risk," Brasky said in the release "What this study shows is the complexity of nutrition and its impact on disease risk, and that we should study such associations rigorously rather than make assumptions," Brasky said.

- read the release from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- and a report from HealthDay News