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Salmon is a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. (Photo: Stock File)

Omega-3 fats relieve fatigue in cancer patients

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Friday, March 23, 2012, 01:40 (GMT + 9)

The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, present in fish like salmon and tuna, helps relieve fatigue in people who have or had cancer, according to a study by the US National Cancer Institute, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers note that most patients undergoing treatment for this disease experience fatigue even years after the completion of the therapy.

Although the exact causes of this long-term fatigue in some cancer survivors are unknown, there is evidence showing the likely reason could be the body chronic inflammation.

Rachel Ballard-Barbash, one of the authors of the study, explained that the research findings associate "a higher intake of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids with reduced inflammation and fewer physical aspects of fatigue," Reuters reported.

The researchers say this is because omega-3 fats can replace some omega-6 acids that encourage the inflammation.

Omega-6 acids are an important part of the typical American diet and are present in margarine, vegetable oils, fast foods and a range of snacks and sweets.

To carry out the investigation, the group of researchers analysed the relationship between the intake of omega-3 and fatigue in 633 women surviving breast cancer.

The results indicate that overall, 42 per cent of the women recognised experiencing fatigue three years after the diagnosis, and the problem was more frequent in those with higher levels of a protein called CRP in their blood, associated with the inflammation.

The scientists found that women with more omega-3 in their diet have less chance of experiencing fatigue, especially if they consumed oil fish pills.

In particular, they pointed out that while 49 per cent of women who did not use supplements and had the lowest intake of omega-3 relative to omega-6 showed fatigue, only 23 per cent of the women who consumed more omega-3 than omega-6 -- at least partly through supplements-- experienced fatigue.

By Silvina Corniola
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com


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