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Omega-3s and cancer

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

"Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids is unlikely to prevent cancer," Catherine MacLean, MD/PhD, RAND Health, et al., conclude in the Jan. 25 Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors analyzed 38 articles in 20 different cohorts identified through a database search. Among the 65 estimates of association between omega-3s and cancer identified across the cohorts, only 10 are statistically significant, the authors state. Significant associations between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and cancer risk were reported for breast, colorectal, lung, prostate and skin cancers. However, there were significant associations for both increased risk and decreased risk and "far more estimates that did not demonstrate any association," MacLean et al. state. Omega-3 consumption "varied a great deal" across the studies, but "basically no effect was found in any of the cohorts," the authors state. "This difference could be regarded as evidence that omega-3 fatty acids have no effect regardless of intake"...

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