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Omega-3s Shown to Help Cancer Patients Maintain Weight

Cancer patients on chemotherapy often suffer from muscle loss and malnutrition. A new study shows that omega-3 supplements may help prevent those side effects.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada and their findings were published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Cancer.

For the study, the researchers gave 16 cancer patients supplements of the omega 3 fatty acid EPA for 10 weeks. After the 10 week period, they compared their weight and muscle mass changes to 24 patients receiving standard care.

The researchers found that standard care patients lost an average of 5 pounds and the patients given the omega 3 supplements maintained their weight.

Furthermore, some of the participants who received the fish oil actually gained muscle mass. When the researchers took blood tests they also found that participants with the highest EPA levels had the greatest muscle mass gains.

These findings follow another study published earlier this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which found that omega-3s may also help to keep your muscles strong as you age.

Currently, 45% of people over 65 years of age are thought to be impacted by age related muscle loss. While research is still preliminary, fighting muscle loss may soon be added to the already impressive list of health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids.

This list already includes boosting heart health, reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline, improving mood and reducing the risk of age-related vision loss.

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