Fish consumption may reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death and maybe prostate cancer, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Might there be other health benefits?

First, the details.

  • 40,230 US healthy male healthcare professionals participated.
  • Lifestyle and other risk factors were assessed every 2 years and diet every 4 years.
  • 18 years later, 9715 major chronic disease events occurred, including 3639 cardiovascular disease events, 4690 cancers, and 1386 deaths from other causes.

And, the results.

  • Neither fish nor dietary omega-3 fatty acid consumption was associated with the risk of total major chronic disease.
  • There was no significant association with cancer risk.
  • Compared with eating fish less than once per month, eating fish between 1 and up to 2 to 4 times each week was associated with a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Omega-6 fatty acid intake did not affect the results.

The bottom line?
There are limits to a good thing.

Yes, “modest fish consumption was associated with a lower risk of total cardiovascular disease, consistent with cardiac mortality benefits.”

Alas, the benefits of omega-3 do not carry over to the risk of cancer or major chronic disease.

12/28/08 16:49 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.