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Originally published April 27 2015

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce toxic effects of chemotherapy - MSM reports this as a bad thing!

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) According to many media reports, a recent study in JAMA Oncology found that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the effectiveness of cancer treatment.

"Cancer patients who eat herring and mackerel or take omega-3 supplements may end up resistant to chemotherapy, a study has warned," writes the Daily Mail.

The same stories have reported the researchers' recommendation that people undergoing chemotherapy refrain from eating oily fish or taking fish oil or omega-3 supplements on the day of their treatment.

But the study in question found no such thing, while other studies have actually suggested that omega-3s might reduce the side effects of cancer drugs while increasing their effectiveness.

Study didn't even look at cancer patients

The researchers in the JAMA Oncology study actually did two separate experiments. In one, they asked 118 cancer patients whether they regularly took any supplements, and found that 11 percent took omega-3s. In a separate study, the researchers measured omega-3 levels in people without cancer.

Unsurprisingly, blood levels of omega-3s increased after taking a 10 mL supplement, and increased more after taking 50 mL. These levels returned to normal within eight hours. The study also found that when participants ate 100 grams of herring or mackerel - oily fish known to be high in omega-3s - their omega-3 blood levels increased more than when they ate tuna, which is lower in omega-3s. Omega-3 levels also increased after a meal of salmon, but returned to normal more quickly. The implications of this are unclear, since omega-3s may need to disappear from the blood to be taken up by the cells that need them.

Why should these findings cause alarm? The researchers said that according to some mouse studies, omega-3s might make cancer cells resistant to chemo drugs. Therefore, said researcher Emile Voest, "Our findings ... raise concern about the simultaneous use of chemotherapy and fish oil. ... We advise patients to temporarily avoid fish oil from the day before chemotherapy until the day thereafter.'

Some media outlets misreported this recommendation as one to also avoid fish oil on the day before and the day after treatment - even though the study showed blood levels returning to normal within eight hours.

Evidence suggests the opposite

Cancer and nutrition experts expressed skepticism that new recommendations should be made based on a study that didn't even look at cancer drug effectiveness.

"This work shows that in healthy human volunteers, taking various fish oil supplements unsurprisingly raises the level of a particular unsaturated fatty acid in the blood," said Keith Jones of the Institute of Cancer Research.

"This is a very preliminary study that takes a measurement in healthy human subjects, and one in a mouse model of cancer, and extrapolates both to human cancer patients," he said. "Further studies are needed before clear advice should be given to patients - and these would need to include a correlation between blood levels of the fatty acid in mice treated and the effect on the anti-cancer drug to demonstrate a clear link.

"There is no evidence that mice metabolize this fatty acid in the same way as humans, and particularly cancer patients."

Other studies have had very different findings, said dietitian Catherine Collins of St. George's Hospital NHS Trust.

"Other studies on fish oil and cancer drugs have shown different effects, so it's possible that the type of cancer and the anti-cancer treatment may be affected differently by the amount and type of fish oil consumed," she said.

For example, a 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that an omega-3 supplement significantly reduced the incidence of nerve disorders caused by the chemo drug paclitaxel. Other studies have suggested that omega-3s reduce chemo side effects, increase chemo effectiveness and reduce the rate of cancer growth, potentially lengthening and improving life in cancer patients.

(Natural News Science)


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