Here is The Roundup, Edition 10, bringing you the best from around the web from the past two weeks!
Blast from the Past
You may have seen media headlines claiming that omega-3 fats found in fish and fish oil increase prostate cancer risk by 71%. As usual, there’s much more to the story than meets the eye. This concise analysis of the study in question explains why you probably don’t want to stop eating cold-water, fatty fish based if you’re at risk for prostate cancer. In sum, this study does not determine cause and effect or establish a temporal relationship between omega-3 intake and prostate cancer. It’s just as feasible that prostate cancer causes blood levels of omega-3 to rise, or that men with prostate cancer are more likely to take fish oil as a health protective measure after they’ve been diagnosed. Furthermore, this article did not study mortality, only cancer incidence, so it’s unknown what effect a high blood level of omega-3’s could have on prostate cancer survival. In other words, it’s an interesting relationship but one that proves nothing at this point.
However, while eating cold-water fatty fish is unlikely to cause health problems, I’ve written before about the possible dangers of excessive fish oil supplementation. Most of the studies showing fish oil benefits are short-term, lasting less than one year, and the benefits of fish oil supplementation have been grossly overstated in the media. It’s possible that fish oil supplementation may even cause additional inflammation due to the high concentration of easily oxidized omega-3 polyunsaturated fats when taking a supplement. That’s why the best approach to reduce inflammation is to dramatically reduce intake of omega-6 fat, found in industrial seed oils and processed and refined foods, and then eat a nutrient-dense, whole-foods based diet that includes fatty fish, shellfish and organ meats. This mimics our ancestral diet and is the safest and most sane approach to meeting our omega-3 needs – which as Chris Masterjohn points out, are much lower than commonly assumed.
I still recommend eating fatty fish a couple times per week, and taking cod liver oil daily, presuming your diet is as I described above. What I don’t endorse is taking several grams per day of fish oil, especially for an extended period of time.
- Yet another study shows statins cause increase in diabetes risk in women (this time post-menopausal women.)
- An excellent article by Dr. Stephan Guyenet discusses the interplay between genes and environment in obesity.
- A new study shows that for individuals 55 and older, vitamin D deficiency may increase the likelihood of having difficulty performing daily activities
- Evidence suggests that frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements.
- Research demonstrated that poor sleepers had increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or UV radiation.
Worth A Look
- Chris Decker, ND discusses her experience with treating Lyme disease in a holistic way using diet, lifestyle modification, and judicious use of antibiotics.
- Save Your Bacon! Join Joel Salatin, Robb Wolf, Jenny McGruther, Mark Baker and many more for this two-day bacon festival benefiting the Farm-To-Consumer Legal
- Mark Sisson wants to know if you’re as healthy as you think you are.
- Here’s a great write-up in the New York Times on the shortcomings of clinical trials.
- Find out why productive people get up insanely early. (This has been my strategy for pretty much my entire adult life.)