Fish Oil May Reduce Damage and Increase Effectiveness of Chemotherapy
Fish oil, which contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, supports many areas of health and most notably, heart health. However, most Americans do not get enough of it in their diets because omega-3s tend to spoil quickly and are therefore removed from many products in order to extend shelf life. Because food sources of omega-3s, including wild game and cold water fish, are not typically consumed in large quantities in American diets, fish oil supplements can be a good alternative.
Since fish oil supports the healthy functioning of many systems in the body, research has recently explored its possible effects on the body during cancer treatment. Chemotherapy uses chemicals to destroy cancer cells, but it also kills healthy cells which results in a variety of difficult side effects that occur during treatment.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy:
- Loss of Hair
Several studies were conducted which show that fish oil supplementation during chemotherapy increased the effectiveness of the treatment without increasing occurrences of negative side effects or harming healthy tissue. One study included 46 lung cancer patients who were divided into a control group that was provided with standard treatment and a group that was given 2.5 grams of EPA/DHA each day for the duration of one year. Those who received the combination of chemotherapy and fish oil had an increased response rate compared to those who received traditional treatment alone. Those who added fish oil to chemotherapy also retained their muscle mass and their starting weight.
Researchers determined that the combination of fish oil and chemotherapy may increase effectiveness and positive responses to cancer treatment while preventing further complications that result from side effects.