Patients in the Process of Chemotherapy Should NOT Take Fish Oil

Over the years, many of us have heard of the numerous health benefits of taking fish oil supplements daily, however, according to a new study, cancer patients need to be warned about a serious downside to taking these supplements.

A research team out of the Netherlands strongly advises that chemotherapy avoid taking any fish oil-type supplements because they can actually work against the chemotherapy drug and therefore make the entire treatment ineffective.

Since fish oil has been spoken of so highly throughout the years, many cancer patients take these supplements. Even though fish oil is primarily known for having anti-inflammatory properties, it also has been proven to play a role in certain cancers. A new study from the American Association for Cancer Research revealed that fish oil supplements may help in the prevention of breast cancer. Furthermore, a University of Michigan study suggested that excessive levels of fish oil could actually be responsible for increasing the colon cancer risk.

According to more research, fish oil could now have a significant impact on cancer in a completely different manner. The University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands’ research team reported recently that fish oil is made up of two fatty acids that a platinum-induced. These are called PIFAs. Such fatty acids are actually found to be directly involved with creating resistance from cancer cells toward a number of chemotherapy drugs. Stem cells within the blood are also responsible for creating these types of fatty acids.

This Dutch research team conducted experiments on mice and found that fish oil along with certain algae extracts containing omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids had the ability to stop the chemotherapy from working on some of the mice tumors. Researchers also found that when the mice were then given medications to help prevent the development of such fatty acids, their tumors slowly became much less resistant to the chemotherapy treatment.

Because of this study, patients are being strongly advised to refrain from using fish oil if they are currently undergoing chemotherapy methods. Unfortunately, fish oil is a very common supplement to be taken by cancer patients, so there are a lot of patients that may have compromised their chemotherapy without knowing it. One of the benefits of fish oil for these patients is that it helps cancer patients regain and maintain muscle mass that is commonly lost. Losing muscle mass and fat can make it more difficult for cancer patients to be successfully treated.


Murphy, RA. Et al. Cancer. 2011.

Roodhart, JML. Et al. Cancer Cell. 2011.

Mitchell, D. 2011. Chemotherapy patients should not take fish oil: new study.

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