Nutritional status predicts fatty acid uptake from fish and soybean oil supplements for treatment of cancer-related fatigue: Results from a phase II nationwide study

Academic Article


  • Cancer-related fatigue is a prevalent and debilitating condition that persists for years into survivorship. Studies evaluating both fish oil supplementation on fatigue and associations between fish oil consumption and fatigue have shown mixed effects; it is unknown what factors contribute to these differential effects. Herein, we investigate whether the nutritional status of cancer survivors was associated with serum omega-3 concentration or change in serum omega-3s throughout a fish oil supplementation study, and then if any of these factors were associated with fatigue. Breast cancer survivors 4–36 months post-treatment with moderate-severe fatigue were randomized to take 6 g fish oil, 6 g soybean oil, or 3 g of each daily for 6 weeks. Baseline nutritional status was calculated using the Controlling Nutritional Status tool (serum albumin, lymphocytes, cholesterol). At baseline and post-intervention, serum fatty acids were quantified and fatigue was assessed using the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory. Participants (n = 85) were 61.2 ± 9.7 years old with a body mass index of 31.9 ± 6.7 kg/m2; 69% had a good nutritional score and 31% had light-moderate malnutrition. Those with good nutritional status had greater total serum omega-3s at baseline (p = 0.013) and a greater increase in serum omega-3s with supplementation (p = 0.003). Among those who were supplemented with fish oil, greater increases in serum omega-3s were associated with greater improvements in fatigue. In conclusion, good nutritional status may increase uptake of fatty acid supplements, increasing their ability to improve fatigue.
  • Published In

  • Nutrients  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 17084600
  • Author List

  • Kleckner AS; Culakova E; Kleckner IR; Belcher EK; Demark-Wahnefried W; Parker EA; Padula GDA; Ontko M; Janelsins MC; Mustian KM
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 1