Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improves surgical recovery

In the March, 2009 issue of the Annals of Surgery, researchers at Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital report that supplementing with the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) helps preserve muscle mass in patients recovering from esophageal cancer surgery.

“There are almost 450 new cases of esophageal cancer diagnosed every year in Ireland and Ireland has one of the highest rates of esophageal cancer in Europe,” noted lead researcher and John V Reynolds, who is a professor of surgery at Trinity College Dublin. “An increasing number of patients are treated with chemotherapy alone or in combination with radiation therapy before they undergo surgery. The surgery is a serious operation lasting several hours, and can take weeks to recover from and up to six months to recover pre-illness quality of life.

Weight loss is extremely common both before and especially after this type of surgery, and any approach that can preserve weight, in particular muscle weight and strength, may represent a real advance.”Dr Reynolds and colleagues randomized 53 patients to receive a calorie-rich nutritional supplement with or without 1.1 gram EPA twice daily before and after surgery. Participants consumed the supplement orally starting five days prior to surgery and through a feeding tube for two to three weeks after the operation. Continue Reading

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