Cancerfighter’s Weblog

Alternative cancer therapies and ideas

cachexia and fish oil

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on September 11, 2008


Cachexia Treatment: How Fish Oil Can Reduce Symptoms

Date: 01/10/03 Keywords: Nutrition, Cancer
A new study conducted in the UK shows that fish oil could eventually
become a standard of cancer care in addressing cachexia. Researchers
at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh created a study to examine the
effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on weight, lean body mass,
dietary intake, and general quality of life in advanced pancreatic
cancer patients
with symptoms of cachexia.

If you don’t know what ‘cachexia’ is, you’re fortunate.

People with cancer and other chronic diseases often experience
cachexia; a general loss of vitality characterised by poor appetite,
weight loss, decomposition of muscle and depression. These symptoms
also compromise the immune system and make the body susceptible to
other illnesses.

A new study conducted in the UK shows that one important supplement
could eventually become a standard of cancer care in addressing
cachexia.

Quality of life

Researchers at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh created a study to
examine the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on weight, lean
body mass, dietary intake, and general quality of life in advanced
pancreatic cancer patients with symptoms of cachexia.

200 patients were divided into two groups; 95 received a daily high-
calorie/high- protein supplement, enriched with vitamins C and E, and
about 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and 105 received a similar
supplement that didn’t include the additional vitamins or fatty
acids.

At the beginning of the study, subjects were losing an average of
approximately 7 pounds per month. But over the 8-week period of the
study, subjects in both groups stopped losing weight. When
researchers conducted a specific analysis of dose-response
relationships, they found that the omega-3 group showed significantly
higher rate of weight gain, as well as increased lean body mass
compared to the other group. Furthermore, weight gain was associated
with improved quality of life only in the omega-3 group.

Exactly how the enriched supplement created greater benefits over the
other supplement isn’t known. Nor is it clear that this sort of
supplement might have the same effect on patients suffering from
cachexia due to other types of cancers or diseases. Nevertheless, the
Edinburgh team concluded that supplements enriched with omega-3 fatty
acids from fish oils apparently have positive effects on cachexia
symptoms; especially those of weight loss and diminished quality of
life.

Fish vs. fish oil

By now, the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are familiar to most HSI
members. For example, in the past I’ve told you about two studies
that demonstrate how omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can
significantly improve cardiovascular health and cut your risk of
heart attack in half. And two other studies have revealed how omega-3
supplements may reduce depression.

Although dietary sources like walnuts and flaxseed deliver good
amounts of omega-3, only fish contain both eicosapentaenoic acid
(EPA) and docohexaenoic acid (DHA). When combined, these two fatty
acids have been shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis,
influenza, hyperactivity, and even some forms of cancer, in addition
to the benefits mentioned above. The highest concentration of omega-3
fatty acids is found in oily fish such as tuna, swordfish and salmon.
For many years, osteopathic physician Dr. Joseph Mercola has
recommended fish oil and cod liver oil as the best sources of omega-3
EPA/DHA.

Hopefully neither you nor your loved ones will ever need to be
concerned with the disabilities associated with cachexia. But as we
read more and more studies about the wide-ranging benefits of omega-3
fatty acids, it’s clear that this remarkable nutrient provides
excellent preventive and therapeutic qualities for cancer patients as
well as those who are healthy.

One Response to “cachexia and fish oil”

  1. Immunotec, a natural health company from Canada, conducted a clinical trial on Stage 4 lung cancer patients who had all gone into Cachexia. The results were that this was the first medical intervention to reverse this condition, and all the patients are still alive to date. Immunocal is a perfect nutrition, developed by the same scientist that invented the Elemental Diet, and as such is also available for any patient in the USA that is being tube fed under Medicare. http://wp.me/PPSmZ-3m

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