Fish Oil Helps Preserve Muscle And Stops Weight Loss During Chemotherapy

According to several well documented scientific studies, the use of supplementary fish oils in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy has proven to have benefits when it comes to two primary side effects that chemo causes. These include appetite loss and a decrease in muscle mass.

Appetite Regained

Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy for different types of cancer, including lung cancer, were studied by different universities in recent years and a strong link has been found to indicate that supplementing with at least 2.2 grams of fish oil on a daily basis significantly increases a patient's appetite. Normally, appetite loss is substantial during chemotherapy. But in double-blind, placebo controlled, peer reviewed experiments, researchers were surprised to learn that the majority of patients given the fish oil pills also manifested an increase in their body weights as well due to an increased frequency of wanting to eat.

Increased Flavor and Smell of Foods

Fish oil supplementation has also proven very effective in allowing chemotherapy patients to regain their sense of smell, which also increased their ability to taste the flavor of foods of all kinds. Normally, chemotherapy treatment substantially reduces a patient's olfactory sensations, but the majority of patients in the testing groups demonstrated a markedly increased desire to eat tasty foods once again solely due to the supplementation and no other factor.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Muscle Retention

Another phenomenal result of the marvelous studies concluded that chemotherapy patients also showed a dramatic decrease in muscle mass loss when supplementing with fish oil. This was primarily due to the fact that the fish oil strengthens the immunological system which in turn restores muscle regeneration to its pre-chemotherapy levels. Another factor is that by having-greater appetites and eating more, additional muscle mass and retention is built up in all parts of the body's musculature, including the largest muscle groups such as the quadriceps, trapezoids, deltoids and back muscles.

Since the primary active ingredient in fish oil is omega 3 fatty acids, researchers have found a direct correlation between supplementation and muscle growth as compared to patients who never received any such supplementation. It should be noted that flaxseed oil, which also contains omega 3 fatty acids, did not produce the same muscle retention benefits in study group patients as did fish oil. Researchers are still uncertain as to exactly why this is so.

Studies Show Extremely Hopeful Outlook for Patients

Continued and extensive clinical studies offer excellent promise to all types of cancer patients who have to endure the struggles of chemotherapy. The fish oil did not help with either appetite appreciation or muscle retention when it came to other cancer treatments such as radiation treatments, however, immense optimism has now come to the forefront in chemotherapy research due to these superior clinical results with fish oil.

Medical researchers feel they have only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the many possible benefits of helping chemotherapy patients with fish oil supplements. They're excited to think of just how much success can be achieved if even larger does of fish oil are given or if they're administered in different ways such as intramuscularly instead of orally as well.

08.03.2011. 10:17

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