Chemotherapy May Be Impeded With Taking Fish Oils

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Supplements containing fish oil as well as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are popular in the market because of their alleged benefit to a person’s cardiovascular and neurological health. However, studies by Dutch researchers have found out that fatty acids found in such supplement may potentially block the effects of chemotherapeutic drugs from targeting tumors. The researchers also suggested that people taking these supplements while undergoing chemotherapy should refrain from taking them.

According to the National Library of Medicine through the National Institute of Health:

-          Fish oil can be obtained from eating fish or by taking supplements. Fish that are especially rich in the beneficial oils known as omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovy, sardines, herring, trout, and menhaden.

-          Fish oil is used for a wide range of conditions. It is most often used for conditions related to the heart and blood system. Some people use fish oil to lower blood pressure or triglyceride levels (fats related to cholesterol). Fish oil has also been tried for preventing heart disease or stroke. The scientific evidence suggests that fish oil really does lower high triglycerides, and it also seems to help prevent heart disease and stroke when taken in the recommended amounts. Ironically, taking too much fish oil can actually increase the risk of stroke.

However, contrary to this recommendation of the NIH, studies carried out by researchers from the Netherlands University Medical Center Utrecht reports that there are two types of fatty acids that block a certain type of chemotherapy drug which proved to be working in animal studies. The said fatty acid is called PIFA or platinum induced fatty acids.

Professor Voest, an oncologist in the aforementioned institution said that, “Whilst waiting for the results of further research, we currently recommend that these products should not be used whilst people are undergoing chemotherapy.” He headed the research and found out that there are certain PIFAs which are produced by the body’s own stem cells and are also present in fish oil. These PIFAs render inutile the chemotherapeutic drug Cisplatin. Such drug is used to treat various forms of cancer like lung, bladder, ovarian and testicular neoplasms.

The researchers made use of mice samples with tumors and injected these mice with fatty acids. The fatty acids injected contained normal and recommended amounts of fish oil. The trial found out that the mice injected with fatty acids became unresponsive to the medication.

According to Voest, “Where resistance to chemotherapy is concerned, we usually believe that changes in the cancer cells themselves have occurred. Now we show that the body itself secretes protective substances into the blood that are powerful enough to block the effect of chemotherapy.”

According to the NIH, “the body does not produce its own omega-3 fatty acids. Nor can the body make omega-3 fatty acids from omega-6 fatty acids, which are common in the Western diet. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce pain and swelling. This may explain why fish oil is likely effective for psoriasis and dry eyes. These fatty acids also prevent the blood from clotting easily. This might make fish oil helpful for some heart conditions.”




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