Protection during chemotherapy
Earlier studies found omega-3s helped maintain body weight and muscle mass during chemotherapy, but this study focused on how omega-3s might protect against chemo-toxicity.
In this study, 61 people undergoing chemotherapy for esophageal cancer took a nutritional supplement drink with 250 mg of omega-3s or 900mg of omega-3s. Participants started taking the omega-3s three days before chemotherapy through the 12th day of treatment. Doctors administered the liquid through a nasal tube when participants were unable to drink.
After chemotherapy, the high- omega-3 group had less inflammation and fewer ulcerations in the mouth; a common complication of this type of treatment. The high-omega-3 group also had severe diarrhea half as often as the low-omega-3 group, and doctors also found fewer abnormalities in liver enzymes for those taking the high dose of omega-3s.
Better immunity, less inflammation
The most common surgical treatment for gastrointestinal cancer is to remove that part of the intestine containing the tumor and reconnect the remaining healthy tissue, triggering an immune and inflammatory response.
Doctors reviewed findings from nine placebo-controlled studies involving 623 gastrointestinal surgeries where participants took omega-3 nutritional supplements. Compared to placebo, those taking omega-3s had lower levels of two types of inflammation: C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. The omega-3 groups also had higher levels of several immune white blood cell types that recognize and attack bacteria, viruses, and foreign tissue.
Doctors said it is best to start nutritional support five to seven days before surgery and continue after the procedure to help reduce inflammation and protect the body from infection.
Reference: Nutrition Journal; January, 2017, Vol. 33, 204-10
Natural Insights for Well Being October 2017
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