March 7, 2011

Fish Oil for Maintaining Weight and Muscle Mass

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ A new study has revealed that including fish oil in the diet may be the key in maintaining weight and muscle mass for chemotherapy patients. Cancer, a peer "“ reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, published a study explaining how the omega "“ 3 fatty acids in fish oil may help fight against malnutrition related to lung cancer.

Dr. Vera Mazurak, PhD, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, along with her team of researchers, tested their theory on non-small cell lung cancer patients by measuring the weight loss and muscle mass in those receiving fish oil against those who received standard care.
The trial lasted about 10 weeks, and involved 16 patients who received fish oil (2.2 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid/day), and 24 patients who did not. The weight of all patients was recorded at the beginning of the study, and throughout their chemotherapy. Blood was also collected for measuring eicosapentaenoic acid concentration.

Results showed sixty-nine percent of patients who received the fish oil maintained their weight and muscle mass, and those with the largest increase in eicosapentaenoic acid in their blood had gained more muscle. In comparison, only twenty-nine percent of those receiving standard care maintained their weight and muscle mass.

According to Dr. Mazurak "Fish oil may prevent loss of weight and muscle by interfering with some of the pathways that are altered in advanced cancer. This holds great promise because currently there is no effective treatment for cancer-related malnutrition". Dr. Mazurak also notes that fish oil is safe, non-toxic and comes with virtually no side effects.

The authors of  Cancer concluded that receiving two grams of fish oil per day holds a greater advantage in maintaining muscle mass and weight during chemotherapy, when compared to only receiving standard care. The study also found that fish oil may be beneficial for other forms of cancer, diseases, and the elderly at risk for muscle loss.

SOURCE: Cancer, published online February 28, 2011