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Fish Oil May Help Cancer Patients Maintain Weight

Muscle maintenance, even gain, seen in non-small-cell lung cancer patients who take fish oil

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- Supplementation with fish oil (FO) may help non-small-cell lung cancer patients maintain weight and muscle mass during chemotherapy, according to research published online Feb. 28 in Cancer.

Rachel A. Murphy, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues compared weight, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who received either FO (16 patients) or standard of care (SOC) (24 patients).

The investigators note that patients in the SOC group experienced weight loss averaging 2.3 kg, but those receiving FO maintained their weight (P = .05). In the FO group, 69 percent gained or maintained muscle mass, compared with 29 percent in the SOC group. The SOC group lost a kilogram of muscle overall. There was no difference found in total adipose tissue between the two groups. The researchers determined that patients with the greatest increase in plasma eicosapentaenoic acid concentration after supplementation with FO had the greatest muscle gains.

"Nutritional intervention with 2.2 g of FO per day appears to provide a benefit over SOC, resulting in the maintenance of weight and muscle mass during chemotherapy," the authors write.

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