The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Effect of fish oil on weight loss during chemotherapy

    Involuntary weight loss is a major contributor to mortality and morbidity in patients with advanced cancer.

    Researchers at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, studied patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer first-line chemotherapy.

    First, the details.

    • 40 patients were assigned to a treatment group.
      • Fish oil 2.2 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/day
      • Standard care
    • Blood was collected and weight was recorded before and during chemotherapy.
    • Skeletal muscle and adipose tissue were measured using computed tomography images.

    And, the results.

    • Patients receiving standard care experienced an average weight loss of 2 kg whereas patients receiving fish oil maintained their weight — a significant difference.
    • Patients with the greatest increase in EPA blood levels after fish oil supplementation had the greatest gains in muscle — a significant response.
    • Approximately 69% of patients in the fish oil group gained or maintained muscle mass vs only 29% of patients in the standard care group.
    • Overall, the SOC group lost 1 kg of muscle.
    • No difference in total adipose tissue was observed between the 2 groups.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Nutritional intervention with 2.2 grams of fish oil per day appears to provide a benefit over standard of care, resulting in the maintenance of weight and muscle mass during chemotherapy.”

    2/28/11 19:03 JR

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