Omega-3s help reduce inflammation after GI cancer surgery

The most common surgical treatment for gastrointestinal cancer is to remove that part of the intestine containing the tumor and reconnect the remaining healthy tissue, triggering an immune and inflammatory response.

Doctors reviewed findings from nine placebo-controlled studies involving 623 gastrointestinal surgeries where participants took omega-3 nutritional supplements from fish oil. Compared to placebo, those taking omega-3s had lower levels of two types of inflammation: C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. The omega-3 groups also had higher levels of several immune white blood cell types that recognize and attack bacteria, viruses, and foreign tissue.

Doctors said it is best to start nutritional support five to seven days before surgery and continue after the procedure to help reduce inflammation and protect the body from infection.


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