The recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that linked fish oil supplements and prostate cancer has left consumers, as well as natural products retailers, bewildered. What should one do?
“The researchers were quick to blame dietary supplements, even though there is no evidence that anyone in this study consumed fish or fish oils from dietary supplements,” noted Dr. Geo Espinosa, XY Wellness co-founder and product formulator, and a recognized expert in men’s urological conditions, who cuts through the fish oil confusion in his latest blog post.
First, Espinosa explained what not to do:
• Do not consume fried fish, as regular ingestion of fried fish was associated with a 32 percent increased risk for prostate cancer.
• Do not consume fish or fish oils high in environmental chemicals that can contribute to prostate cancer such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals and other toxic chemicals.
• Do not eat fish high in mercury, including: shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish (sometimes called golden bass or golden snapper).
• Do not listen to the media for health advice.
Then understand what to do:
• Eat one to two 3-oz. servings of fatty fish a week—salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies or sardines.
• PCBs collect in the fatty parts of fish. You can take these steps to reduce PCB risks when cooking salmon, bluefish and other fatty fish:
- Trim away fatty areas such as the belly, top of the back and dark meat along the
- Remove or puncture the skin before cooking to allow fat to drain off.
- Broil or steam the fish on a rack to allow fat to drain.
- Throw away fat drippings. Don’t use them in other cooking.
- Limit consumption of farmed-raised fish.
• Wild salmon is low in mercury and PCB’s, but a little more pricey.
• Consume high quality fish oil supplements from reputable manufacturers
“It is always worth pointing out that fish oils combined with a poor diet does not improve your prognosis,” Espinosa added. “Alternatively, fish oils combined with a good plant-based diet and daily exercise will significantly help you rebuild your health and reduce your risk of all-cause mortality.”
Lastly, Espinosa stressed, “Do not be misled by faulty research and sensationalized headlines. Be smart and be choosy on which sources of information you trust (or even pay attention to these days). It can be exhausting to wade through the noise, but it is critical to your health and well-being that you do so.”