Q. Does taking omega-3 fish oil help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer?
A. Melissa Townsend, a Frances Stern Nutrition Center Dietetic Intern at Tufts Medical Center, answers: “Research has traditionally shown that omega-3 fatty acids are integral to anti-inflammatory processes that support cardiovascular health, brain health, growth, and development. Foods naturally containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, are part of a healthy and balanced diet. Currently, the research regarding the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids as protectors against prostate cancer risk is limited. Preliminary research studies have provided data to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit human prostate cancer cell proliferation in vitro (in a lab setting). However, interventional studies with fish oil supplements have concluded that supplementation does not decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In general, however, omega-3 fatty acids from foods continue to be part of a healthy diet. Consult with your physician before taking omega-3 fatty acid fish oil supplements.”