Does dietary flaxseed oil have a role in prostate cancer?
—Gerard K. Nash, DO, Amarillo, Tex.

Flaxseed oil is a rich source of α-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. In his newsletter, “Prostate Forum,” Charles E. Myers Jr, MD, a researcher at the University of Virginia Medical School, in Charlottesville, has written that some clinical studies suggest that “a-linolenic acid may actually be dangerous for prostate cancer patients…Five of six [epidemiology] studies found an increase in the risk of prostate cancer associated with a-linolenic acid…Our laboratory found that a-linolenic acid is one of the most powerful growth stimuli for human prostate cancer cells” ( Accessed February 13, 2007).On the other hand, beneficial effects on prostate cancer have been attributed to flaxseed oil (Urology 2001;58:47-52). I suspect the jury is still out on this one, but it might be prudent to suggest dietary supplementation with a source of omega-3 fatty acids that does not come from flaxseed oil.
—David T. Noyes, MD (101-11)

Continue Reading