Omega-3 supplementation could reduce fatigue among breast cancer survivors


Fatigue (feelings of tiredness, weakness and lack of energy) is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment and affects up to 99% of breast cancer patients receiving radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy with an intensity and duration greater than that experienced by healthy individuals. This fatigue may persist for months or even years after completion of treatment. A significant proportion of breast cancer survivors experience fatigue that compromises health-related quality of life (physical functioning, vitality and social functioning) two to five years post-diagnosis. Yes, even five years after diagnosis, fatigue has a negative impact on overall quality of life among breast cancer survivors and causes greater interference with daily functioning. Furthermore, in these women, fatigue has been associated with depressed mood (and antidepressant use), anxiety, sleep problems, pain, cognitive problems, physical inactivity and weight gain.

Evidence suggests that inflammation may drive fatigue in cancer survivors. Research in healthy populations has shown reduced inflammation with higher dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids could potentially reduce fatigue.

The results of a study that investigated fatigue, inflammation and intake of omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids among breast cancer survivors (performed on 633 survivors; mean age: 56 years; stage I to IIIA) link higher intake of omega-3, decreased inflammation and decreased physical aspects of fatigue.

If confirmed by other studies, omega-3 supplementation could reduce fatigue among breast cancer survivors.