Issues with the Fish Oil Study

Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC148266535

Wellness Educator

By now, most of you know how I feel about many of the “studies” performed in this country. The news coverage regarding the recent study on fish oil and prostate cancer is one more example of misinformation, indeed, that will harm many people.

First, the initial study was not even performed to evaluate the relationship between fish oil (Omega-3 EPA and DHA) and prostate cancer. The information was obtained retrospectively without knowing how many people were eating fish, flax, chia seeds, hemp seeds, or taking fish oil. For that matter, they didn’t even know if they were even eating fried fish with its known carcinogenic trans-fats. In fact, in a study published in Prostate in 2013, regular consumption of fried fish showed a 32% increase risk of prostate cancer!

Additionally, if fish or fish oil is harmful, why do China and Japan, who have the highest fish consumption in the world, have the lowest cancer rates in the world? Here in the US, meanwhile, cancer rates are off the charts!

Another thing to consider is that all fish oil supplements are not created equally. Many cheap supplements contain toxins such as PCBs, mercury, and other heavy metals and chemicals—many of which are known carcinogens.

Several other studies that were designed to evaluate the relationship between fish oil and prostate cancer showed protective benefits. As you know, I prefer foreign studies which I find to be more unbiased so I will start with one from New Zealand. Here are some examples:

  • In a very well designed study in New Zealand, a 40% reduced risk of prostate cancer was shown with higher levels of EPA and DHA. This study was published in British Journal of Cancer 1999.
  • As reported in the American Journal of Nutrition in 2008, The Physicians Health Study, which took place over a 22-year period, found that high fish consumption reduced the risk of dying form prostate cancer by 36%.
  • A 12-year study of 47,882 men conducted by Harvard revealed that eating fish more than three times a week reduced the risk of both prostate and metastatic prostate cancer. Indeed, for each additional 500 mg. of fish oil consumed, the risk of metastases decreased by 24%. This study was reported in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention.
  • All in all, don’t let this “study” scare you as I believe it was designed to do. Fish oil has many benefits for vision, brain, skin health, joints, blood pressure, lowering triglycerides, reducing arrhythmias, and yes, even cancer! I want to remain healthy so I’m still taking my fish oil every day. Learn more about the benefits of fish oil in our supplement series blog on fish oil.

Ginkgo Study Flawed

Carol B. Blair, BS, CNC, DiHo

GinkgoBilobaWeb

I have often suggested that we should be cautious when we hear about studies in this country because there are so many special interest groups, and unfortunately, most people are unable to get the full story. The recent Ginkgo study is a prime example. Ginkgo has been used for centuries to improve memory and brain function. There have been at least 44 double blind studies on Ginkgo with very few side effects. Until now!

It was recently reported that Ginkgo biloba has potential toxicity in animal studies. However, the doses used in this study were as much as 933 times higher than used for humans. A typical human dose is 120 mg. twice a day but the dose used in the mice would extrapolate to 4,400 mg. in a 155 lb. adult. And that was the low end of the scale! Apparently, they wanted to make sure it was toxic so they also used doses that would equate to 140,000 mg in humans! Let me just say right here, that everything has a toxicity level no matter how good it may be.

However, if that isn’t bad enough, the extracts provided by the Chinese manufacturers were standardized to 31% Ginkgo flavone glycosides compared to the 24% typically used in the United States. Further, the terpenes typically used here are 6% while the ones they used were standardized to 15% thereby making the potency much more powerful.

As you can see, this report by the U.S. National Toxicology Program is very flawed. Enough said. You may draw your own conclusions. As for me, I like to get my studies out of Europe whenever I can.

Oh, yes, although I don’t take Ginkgo, I certainly would if I felt the need for it, and I still highly recommend it for those who are looking for improved circulation and brain function.

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