Study: Bigger Brains with Omega-3s

What About the 2013 Study that Found Omega-3’s Increased the Risk of Prostate Cancer?

The study raising all this hoopla was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on July 10, 2013. This study examined associations between omega-3 levels in blood and prostate cancer risk among participants in the “Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial.”

The researchers concluded that men with higher blood concentrations of animal-based (marine-derived) omega-3s had a 44 percent increased risk of developing low-grade prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest levels. However, those involved in the study were not tracked as to their diets and did not take omega-3 supplements, had only one blood sample in the years that the study ran, and 80% of the subjects were obese. This is hardly the stuff that makes for a valid study. Dr. Joseph Mercola called the study “absurd”. Dr. James Chestnut comments, “This study uses an invalid study design, uses an invalid methodology, and makes invalid conclusions. They make statements about high levels of omega-3 fatty acids causing an increased risk of prostate cancer in subjects with low levels of omega-3… this is so ridiculous it is hard to imagine it got published.” Dr. Julian Whitaker writes, “Do not eliminate fish from your diet or throw out your fish oil supplements based on this one study and the news reports that jumped to unsubstantiated conclusions.

What Does This New 2014 Omega-3 Study Say?

303-fish-oil-hookResearchers studied over 1,000 postmenopausal women, looking at their levels of 2 fatty acids found in fish, called EPA) and DHA. They found that women with significantly higher levels of the two fatty acids in their red blood cells also tended to have larger brains, and larger hippocampuses, the part of the brain associated with forming memories. Studies have shown that in older adults, the brain generally shrinks with aging. “If achieving a certain red blood cell level of the two major fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids could prevent or delay dementia, that would have huge mental health benefits, especially since levels can be safely and inexpensively raised through diet and supplementation,” said one study researcher.

Journal of Neurology, January 22, 2014

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