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Friday, May 15, 2009

Good News For Your Prostate: You Can Have Your Omega-3 Fatty Acid And Eat it Too

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge UCSF researchers have taken this off the prostate blacklist
  • UCSF researchers have taken this off the prostate blacklist
Anyone creating a videogame football roster from scratch knows how it goes: You make him strong, he's going to be slow; you give him speed he's going to be easily tackled; you give him arm strength, he's going to get busted mid-season for a strip club altercation.

It's like that in the real world, too. Healthwise, doctors suggest omega-3 fatty acids aid in lowering cardiovascular disease. That's good. But studies have shown they could be factors in bringing about prostate cancer -- and that's bad.

So the good news -- and anyone who's ever worried about coronary disease and had a colonoscopy knows this is good news --  is that a U.C. San Francisco/San Francisco VA Hospital study claims that omega-3 fatty acids will not give you prostate cancer (especially if you're a woman).

The study -- published in this month's supplement of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition -- examined alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in soybeans, canola oil, flax seed oil, and walnuts; 90 percent of the omega-3 fatty acids Americans consume are ALAs. 

When the San Francisco researchers crunched the data of 16 other studies examining possible ties between ALAs and prostate cancer, the numbers just didn't add up.What's more, a number of recent studies attempting to pinpoint causes of prostate cancer didn't discover any link between the fatty acids and the disease.

While the scientists warn that excessive levels of ALAs could still lead to a "small increased risk" of prostate cancer -- i.e. don' t drink canola oil from the bottle -- they allayed even their own worries about what you should and shouldn't eat.

"This makes me feel considerably better about eating plant foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid," said the ever quotable study co-author, Dr. Joel Simon.

So feel free to eat those omega-3 fatty acids -- after all, Simon says.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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