Fish oil prevents weight loss during chemotherapy
Fish oil may soon be on the menu for people with cancer to prevent weight loss during chemotherapy.
Weight loss is common during chemotherapy for aggressive tumours, both because treatment may reduce appetite and because tumours lead to muscle wasting. "This leaves patients unable to be given other treatments, such as radiation," says Rachel Murphy of the
in University of Alberta . Edmonton, Canada
Trial studies suggested that fish oil could help, but larger clinical trials proved inconclusive – possibly because the trials involved people with advanced cancers that were difficult to treat.
Now, Murphy and colleagues have shown that 16 people newly diagnosed with lung cancer who were given 2.2 grams of fish oil a day maintained their weight during chemotherapy. A control group that went without the oil lost an average of 2.3 kilograms over the same period.
Fish oil may help prevent weight loss by reducing the inflammation response that causes muscle degradation,