Cancer patients often experience muscle loss due to the side effects of chemotherapy. Fortunately, the condition that could trigger weight and muscle loss can be prevented by fish oil, a source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Poor appetite is a side effect of chemotherapy that can lead to muscle loss in cancer patients. The worst impact is malnutrition that can results in increased susceptibility to infection.
Researchers from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada have proved that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil could prevent muscle loss in cancer patients. It is not gain the muscle mass, but it can help to maintain muscle mass during chemotherapy.
In the study, researches involved 40 patients with lung cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy. 16 patients of them were given 2.2 grams of fish oil supplement per day for 10 weeks, while the rest were given standard care.
At the end of the observation, the patients who received standard care experience an average weight loss of 2.3 kg. While, patients who received fish oil supplement every day maintained their normal weight.
“This finding is important because until now there is no effective treatment for overcoming malnutrition associated with chemotherapy, “said the researcher, Vera Mazurak, PhD.
Mazurak and her teams noted that fish oil may be beneficial to patients with other forms of cancer and other chronic diseases that are associated with malnutrition, as well as to elderly individuals who are at risk for muscle loss. However, they noted that the results of the current study require verification in larger randomized trials.