Chemotherapy-based anti-cancer treatments often bring secondary effects with them.
Among these are loss of weight and muscle mass, which are very common among most patients.
However, according to a Canadian study, a diet enriched with omega-3 can help prevent or reduce the extent of these effects.
The authors of the report monitored 40 patients treated for non-small cell lung cancer.
Daily, throughout the duration of their chemotherapy treatment, sixteen patients received supplements containing 2.2 grams of a polyunsaturated fatty acid belonging to the omega-3 family.
The other 24 patients did not receive any nutritional supplement.
During the treatment, the muscle mass and fat mass of all the patients were regularly measured by scanner and their weight was closely monitored.
The results showed that those patients who received supplements in the form of omega-3 maintained their initial weight, whereas those in the other group lost an average of 2.3 kilos each.
But it is the results in terms of muscle mass that are the most interesting.
More than two thirds of the patients who took food supplements maintained or even increased their muscle mass.
Conversely, only 29% of the patients in the control group managed to maintain their muscle mass and none of them was able to increase it.
A simple omega-3 supplement in the diet of patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer could therefore considerably improve their quality of life.