Does eating fish or taking fish oil protect people with heart disease? That has been a slippery question over the past several years. A year ago, the VITAL study results suggested that people fare no better when they are taking fish oil than on placebo. Just last month, however, an analysis of multiple studies concluded that omega-3 fats (aka fish oil) can reduce the risk of heart disease.
A New Study on People Taking Fish Oil:
At the recent (Nov. 17, 2019) annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Philadelphia, scientists presented new data. Research from the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute measured blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids among nearly 900 people undergoing angiography. Nearly 40 percent of these people were found to have severe coronary artery disease. Approximately 10 percent had blockage in three arteries.
The investigators then followed up on whether people had heart attacks, strokes or heart failure afterwards. They also noted whether people died during followup. Those who had the highest levels of omega-3 metabolites were less likely to have bad outcomes than those with very low levels. In summary, people taking fish oil did better regardless of how blocked their coronary arteries were.
Does Taking Fish Oil Promote Prostate Cancer?
The same research team conducted a separate study on 87 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. They measured omega-3 levels in these individuals. Investigators then compared those to the levels in a control group of 149 men without prostate cancer. A previous study had suggested that high levels of omega-3 fats might be linked to prostate cancer risk (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Aug. 7, 2013). Fortunately, this study found no connection between taking fish oil and developing prostate cancer.
One of the researchers, Viet T. Le, PA, remarked:
“If I’m recommending omega-3 for my patients to save their hearts, I want to make sure I’m not putting them at risk for prostate cancer.”