Ask Larry:

Question: I’d like to ask your opinion about omega-3s. Most advocate them, and a doctor who we respect highly told me to give my husband 3 Cod Liver Oil daily. But in a recent newsletter from another doctor we respect said a Norwegian study had shown a 40% increased risk of melanoma in people taking high doses of Omega-3 fish oils. Both these doctors advocate less pharmaceuticals, and more natural supplements. But who do we believe? Do you have an opinion on this subject?

Larry’s Response: Omega 3s are vitally important, especially as the majority of our food chain has changed. It is rare that any of us can balance their Omega 6s and Omega 9s by diet alone. So much of our modern food chain manipulation has caused dramatics shifts – ones that need supplements to overcome.

Cod liver oil is an excellent source. Brand is mostly irrelevant as long as you pick a quality product. Low priced fish oils stink and aren’t as helpful as we would like.

Approximately 0.025% of Americans will get melanoma. Increasing that by 40% brings the number to 0.035%.

The risk factors include genetics and exposure to chemicals – and excess sun. I’d have to “unpack” that Norwegian study before I’d buy into the conclusions that particular doctor is worried about. I’d certainly like to know the population in the study and the existence of any other risk factors in that population.

Of course, too much of anything is too much. Personally, I don’t think three capsules of fish oil every day are too many. I could be wrong, but I’ll continue taking my Omega 3s as fish oil because the benefits of Omega 3 still seem to greatly outweigh any potential increase in melanoma risk.