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CNN says fish oil pills linked to higher risk of cancer

Robyn Openshaw - Aug 28, 2013 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

I play a little word-association game at my lectures. I say, “What do you think of when I say OMEGA 3?” Many people yell out, “fish oil!” It’s true. A very profitable billion-dollar industry has educated America (even our doctors) that eating rancid fish oil pills is somehow going to save us from heart disease. After the fish are processed and the pills go through many other manufacturing processes, they sit in transit on hot trucks, and become even more rancid on store shelves.

I often say, influenced by my friend Dr. Brian Clement, “Would you go out in a lake and get a fish, dead for several months, floating belly up, squeeze it, and drink the oil?”

Everyone says, “Ewwww!” and turns up their noses. And I say, “What do you think you’re doing when you eat fish oil pills?” And, “If you don’t think it’s rancid, why do you get that nasty fish-oil burp later?”

That doesn’t happen when you eat fresh fish. Eating fresh fish is probably a great way to get Omega 3, and cultures that eat fish from clean waters (those cultures ALSO tend to eat lots of vegetables, by the way) have markedly lower disease levels than we do. But, of course, farmed fish are terribly high in toxins and heavy metals, and many waterways from which they are caught are as well. Clean wild-caught fish are terrifically expensive.

Fish oil pills are the #1 supplement in America. Like lemmings rushing off the cliff, we’re all swallowing billions of dollars in rancid, “purified,” processed oils. It’s such a lucrative business that some of the waterways in the world are being severely depleted.

We’re seeing a shift in the manufacturing marketplace to krill oil, where there is high supply, and perhaps fewer issues with sourcing, and rancidity.

But guess what: a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute show a dramatically higher risk of developing prostate cancer if you eat fish oil. The oils may fight inflammation, but what if they also create oxidative damage to DNA in cells?

(Or maybe it’s rancidity creating that problem. Maybe it’s metals and other pollutants in the fish. The CNN article doesn’t ask that question, and I can’t tell that the researchers did, either.)

The CNN article I just linked you to assumes that fish oil is actually GOOD for your health. But if you feel like reading some science, HERE is a JAMA abstract of just one of the meta-analyses that make me wonder if we’re wasting a billion dollars a year purifying and deodorizing and manufacturing little blobs of the oil from salmon, mackerel, and tuna.

I love our sprouted TriOmega, or Sprouted Flax, or Sprouted Flax with Berries, in a green smoothie, as an alternative to get Omega 3’s in the diet without fear of rancid fish oils making us sick.

Posted in: Health Concerns, Supplements, Whole Food

6 thoughts on “CNN says fish oil pills linked to higher risk of cancer”

Leave a Comment
  1. Sarah says:

    Robin, during my last pregnancy taking fish oil for the EPAs literally saved my mental life from pre natal depression. Would taking the sprouted Flax provide the same benefit?

  2. Tim Kovatch says:

    While I love GSG in general, the statements regarding fish oil are hugely exaggerated, like fish “from a lake that have been floating dead for several months”. Firstly, freshwater fish are generally not used for fish oil supplements, would not float dead for several months anyway as birds, crabs or other fish would have fed on them long before that.There are top quality FO supplements that are highly purified and not rancid. When did CNN become the trusted news source for nutrition studies anyway? Please leave sensationalism to the giant corporate beast entities who don’t give a damn about public health but profit overall.

  3. Megan says:

    I do agree with the key points of this article and I appreciate you posting it because I am trying to find a new source of Omega 3’s however I don’t know that the National Cancer Institute is the best source to glean information from as they would probably disagree with 90% of your blog.

  4. stephanie says:

    Wondering what you think of doTerra’s xeOmega?

  5. Kara says:

    And flax doesn’t have fat soluble vitamins A and D that are essential for remineralization of teeth. Check out Ramiel Nagal’s book- Cure Tooth Decay Naturally- for an interesting read.

  6. Vicky says:

    Humans would never naturally eat deep-sea fish, because we are a terrestrial animal and wouldn’t be able to catch them without modern technology. We would certainly never eat the oil squeezed out of them in isolation, which requires further processing. The reason some fish are high in omega 3’s is because they eat algaes and seaweeds (which are easy for humans to harvest without modern technology and can also be consumed raw, and are therefore a natural food source. They also contain vitamins D and A). Plants are the producers, animals are the consumers, and in this instance fish are being falsely promoted as a “source” when it’s actually algaes and seaweeds. Fish are the consumers. However, fish is much easier to market than sea veg and algae, as Westerners are already used to it as a food source. More importantly, fish is expensive and is becoming ever-more extortionate as fish stocks rapidly dwindle (90% of the ocean’s fauna have been obliterated since the 1950’s). It earns vendors more money than algae, which is sustainable and very easy to cultivate, and therefore would earn them much less if algae was mass-produced instead of fish-oil supplements.

    The omega-3’s in algaes are the long chain version, EPA and DHA, whereas the omega-3’s in other plant sources are ALA, which are short chain forms that the body has to convert into EPA and DHA. Not that there’s anything inferior about that, but if for whatever reason your body is presently unable to convert ALA into EPA & DHA, then an algal supplement might be beneficial. It will also be sustainable, toxin free and cruelty free, which no fish-peddler can truthfully claim.

    If your diet is comprised mostly of fruit and leaves, as it naturally should be, you’re sure to get enough omega-3’s. For example, 100 g of spinach provides 13% of omega-3’s and 100 g of kale 16%. 100 g of rocket (arugula) gives 15% and one medium head of red cabbage provides 34%.

    500 grams (about one punnet) of raspberries will give you 57%
    500 g strawberries yields 30%
    500 g blackberries gives you 43%
    1 avocado provides 20%
    4 small bananas gives 10%
    4 small apples gives 5%
    1 large mango provides 16%

    These are just leaves and fruit I commonly eat that I checked on cronometer. I hope this shows if you follow a raw, natural, fruit and leaf based diet you don’t need any special sources of omega-3.

    However, the “special” omega-3 plant sources do fare pretty well:

    7 walnuts gives 234% (yes really) of omega-3.
    1 tablespoon (10 grams) of flaxseeds gives 214% (do those expensive fish oil supplements look so good now?)
    and 1 ounce (28 g) of chia seeds yields a massive 460%!

    We’re the only animal that thinks it needs to buy expensive supplements. We’re also the only animal that eats cooked food. If we were meant to eat fish we’d be able to eat it raw, guts and all, without special preparation. The fish-sellers are totally mugging off their customers.

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