The facts about omega-3, whether in pill form or as food, can be a bit unclear if you read health and nutrition headlines. Many people get confused as to whether they should consume two to three servings of omega-3 rich fish per week or take them in pill form.

This is why Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute researchers continue to study health benefits, as well as risks, of this supplement. Their focus is centered on whether it impacts the risk of prostate cancer and heart health.

During the 2019 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions held in Philadelphia on November 17, 2019, the research team revealed two recent studies about Omega-3. In one research, the team pointed out 87 patients who had developed prostate cancer and were included in the Intermountain INSPIRE Registry. The patients were also examined for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plasma levels. The two are common omega-3 fatty acids.

omega-3 and prostate cancer
omega-3 and prostate cancer monicore - Pixabay

Not Linked to Prostate Cancer

When their levels were compared to a select group of 149 men, the research team discovered higher levels of omega-3 are not linked to the increase in prostate cancer risk. Viet T. Le, MPAS, PA, an Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute assistant physician and researcher, said they conducted the research because of findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. It suggested there is a probable link between the development of prostate cancer and higher omega-3 plasma levels. The paper was published in 2013, and its results have been debated ever since it was published.

According to Le, if he will be recommending omega-3 for his patients, he wanted to make sure he is not increasing their risk for prostate cancer. He added that their study was unable to establish a relationship between the two.

Low Risk of Dying from Coronary Diseases

In the second study introduced in the same gathering, the researchers examined 894 patients who have undergone coronary angiography. This is a procedure that looks at how your blood travels through the arteries in your heart.

The patients have no history of suffering from coronary artery diseases or heart attacks. Upon their first coronary angiography, however, approximately 40% of these patients have been shown to have severe heart disease, and around 10% have a three-vessel disease.

The omega-3 plasma levels metabolites of the patients were also measured by researchers. These include their DHA and EPA. Researchers then monitored the patients to see who among them later suffered from a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or who died.

The research team discovered that patients who have high plasma levels of omega-3 metabolites enjoy a lower risk of dying from heart-related diseases whether or not they have severe heart ailments. When asked for his opinion, Le said that the result of this study is very important as it showed how Omega-3 fatty acids help patients who already have heart diseases. He also said that Omega-3 plasma levels impact the survival rate of the patient.