Fish Oil Supplements May Interfere with Chemotherapy


Some fish-oil supplements interfere with chemotherapy metabolism and should therefore not be taken during chemotherapy treatment or they can render it less effective, according to new research.

Some fish-oil supplements appear to allow cancer cells to reassemble following treatment, according to a study in the Netherlands, published by the journal JAMA Oncology. Researchers there looked at blood levels of a particular type of fatty acid suspected of interfering with cancer treatment – one of the so-called omega-3 oils found in fish.

Tests showed elevated levels of fatty acid

Blood tests performed on healthy volunteers who took fish-oil supplements showed elevated levels of the specific fatty acid persisted for at least eight hours and sometimes much longer, depending on the amount of fish oil that was consumed.

Thus, researchers are recommending that patients consider avoiding fish oil on the day before and the day after any chemotherapy treatments. They also advised against eating oily fish such as herring or mackerel during that very same 48-hour period.

Ultimately, each patient should discuss this with their oncology team first and make a collective decision on whether or not to take fish oil supplements, and when.

Fish-oil supplements are extremely popular supplements in the US and worldwide, taken both by healthy people as well as those with cancer. Many regard these supplements as being an important part of lifestyle changes that will benefit their health in the present and future.

Source: JAMA Oncology

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