Omega-3 Intake Could Present Long-Awaited Relief for Cancer Patients with Mucositis

omega-3-fatty acidsA new study found oral supplementation with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids may help treat and prevent wounds caused by Mucositis (mouth ulcers and inflammation) in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  Mucositis is a potential side effect of chemotherapy.  An overwhelming number of cancer patients (80%) with neck and head malignancies in addition to cancer patients on a high dose of chemotherapy experience Mucositis.  Mucositis is also associated with severe pain, a higher risk of developing systemic and local infections, bleeding and dysfunction from the oral cavity, mouth and pharynx.  Oral ulcers may even cause bacteria to enter the blood stream and cause septicemia which especially damaging since patients on chemotherapy usually have compromised immune systems.

60 patients who were developing grade 1 oral Mucositis participated in this Random Controlled study.  The participants were divided into 2 groups; an Omega 3 group (12 males and 18 females) and a placebo group (11 males and 19 females).  The participants were assessed for Mucositis using the WHO Oral Mucositis Weekly Questionnaire and the Western Consortium for Cancer Nursing Research criteria at the beginning of the trial, in the first, second and third weeks of chemotherapy and when the Mucositis was cured.  Using the Oral Mucositis Weekly Questionnaire, researchers noted the differences in the severity of the Mucositis between the 2 groups in the first, second and third week s of the study.  The Omega-3 supplementation group had less severe pain during the three weeks of treatment, there actually was no sign Mucositis in the participants supplementing with the Omega 3 after 2 weeks.  In the Omega-3 group average recovery was 4 to nine days vs over 10 days in the placebo group, and 12 patients in the placebo group took over 16 days to recover.

Researchers concluded Omega-3 Essential Fatty acids were an effective and safe means for treating and preventing oral Mucositis.



Could Probiotics Restore Microbiome Imbalance Linked to Auto-Immune Disorder?

Probiotics and ImmuneA new study finds that probiotics may aid in restoring imbalances in gut bacterial in patients with the auto-immune disorder systemic sclerosis.  Systemic sclerosis affects connective tissue in the body.  It is not a common condition, but results in the skin thickening and becoming hard.  Occasionally this condition creates problems with blood vessels and internal organs.

17 adults with systemic sclerosis from UCLA, 17 adults with systemic sclerosis from Oslo University Hospital and 17 healthy adults participated in this trial.  Stool specimens were used to determine the amount and types of bacteria present.  Participants with systemic sclerosis had significantly lower amounts of gut bacteria believed to protect against inflammation like Bacteroides.  Additionally the participants with systemic sclerosis were found to have higher amounts of bacteria, like Fusobacterium, which actually promote inflammation when compared to those without this auto-immune disorder.

Researchers believe that probiotics are helpful in restoring the bacterial balance in the gut in individuals suffering from systemic sclerosis and play a role in improving these patients quality of life.

Further testing is planned using larger patient groups.


High-Dose Vitamin C Could Cut Duration of Common Cold (and Other Infections)

A new review of prior clinical data shows high doses of Vitamin C might reduce the duration of common colds and other types of infections.  At a dose rate of between 6 to 8 grams of Vitamin C, prior studies show the duration of colds reduced by almost 20%.

In one study 3 grams of Vitamin C per day was given to 2 participating groups a third group was given a Vitamin C dose of 6 grams per day and a fourth group received a placebo.  When compared to the placebo group the group receiving the 6 grams of Vitamin C daily experienced a 17% reduction in the duration of their colds.  This result was twice as much as the group receiving the 3 grams of Vitamin C per day.

In another study one group received a Vitamin C dose of 4 grams per day while another group supplemented 8 grams of Vitamin C daily while others additional groups received a placebo.  These dosages of Vitamin C and the placebo were administered on the first day of the cold.  The results showed that when compared to the group supplementing with the placebo the participants supplementing with the 8 grams of daily Vitamin C showed there colds were shortened by about 19% which was twice as much as the group supplementing with the 4 grams of daily Vitamin C.

Researchers suggested that the majority of prior controlled studies used a dose of only 1 gram of Vitamin C daily and that when looking at studies using a wider range of dosages as outlined above it may explain why lower dosage studies found no correlation between Vitamin C and reduced durations of cold and other infections. Researchers suggest that new randomized trials using higher dosages of Vitamin C must be performed.


Heightened Liver Cancer Risk Linked to Low Selenium Levels

SeleniumA recent study found an increased risk of developing cancer of the liver may be linked with low levels of the trace mineral selenium.  Western diets and lifestyles were blamed for this selenium deficiency.

Data from the EPIC cohort study was analyzed to provide data for this study.  Over 500,000 men and women between the ages of 25 and 70 participated in the EPIC cohort study between the years 1992 and 2000.  Study participants filled out questionnaires regarding lifestyle information like activity levels, medical and smoking histories and education.  Blood levels of selenium were also collected.  A control group was established by utilizing data from 121 individuals with liver cancer and 140 individuals with biliary tract and bladder cancer.  Equal numbers of individuals who were cancer free were matched against the first group.

Observational and experimental evidence found low intakes of the trace mineral selenium contributed to the development of many cancers.  Selenium is known to protect cells from oxidative stress and this role may account for the outcome of this study.

A growing body of data shows increasing rates of liver cancer in industrialized countries due to unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits.  Treatment options may be limited since liver cancers are usually diagnosed at later stages.

Further research is planned.

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