We continue to be amazed by what Omega-3 fatty acids can do to heal various diseases of the body. And here is another one: Omega-3 fatty acids can be used to treat and prevent oral mucositis (inflammation and mouth ulcers) in patients undergoing mucotoxic cancer chemotherapy. This new discovery was the result of a double-blind, randomized study published in the journal Wounds. The journal article explained the effectiveness and route of administration of patients treated with omega-3 fatty acids receiving chemotherapy in Iranian hospitals.
Mucositis features inflammation and soreness in the mouth which may result in painful ulcers in the area. The condition is a common side effect of chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment. In particular, mucositis is prevalent in patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy, and 80 percent of individuals with head and neck cancers.
People with mucositis experience an increased risk of local and systemic infections, severe pain, the formation of ulcers, dysfunction, and bleeding from the mouth, pharynx, and oral cavity. These are things that could affect a person’s quality of life, or even lead to complications such as septicemia.
The main focus of traditional cancer treatment is to inhibit the condition, with little emphasis given to situations that come out of it. Using omega-3 fatty acids, earlier studies on this have shown that they can be used effectively in wound treatment.
Actually, animal tests have proven that omega-3 fatty acids improve the healing time for skin burn in both diabetic and healthy samples, and had a positive effect on oral wound recovery in rats. Moreover, the clinical trials showed that omega-3 fatty acids can be used to help heal stomach and duodenal ulcers in patients. The study’s authors believe that this is due to fatty acids increasing the production of “pro-inflammatory cytokines” in the wounded area, a safe way for the healing of wounds.
The authors realized that there is no definitive study on the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on mucositis now. Thus, they conducted the study. To prove their theory, they conducted a double-blind study using randomized trial of patients with grade 1 oral mucositis. The group was further divided into those who received the omega-3s and those that received a placebo. At the time of the trials, the patients had initial chemotherapy sessions and had not received any radiation therapy. Examinations of the subjects were given before and after the trials.
The results showed that the patients given omega-3 fatty acids experienced less pain than those in the placebo group. Moreover, the people given omega-3 fatty acids had much lower severity of mucositis compared to the placebo group.
The omega-3 group also recovered faster than the placebo group, with their mucositis lasting for 5.5 days compared to 16 days for the placebo group. Now this is really amazing findings for both parties!
The authors of the study concluded: “According to the findings in this study, omega-3 fatty acids in oral form have a significant effect on wound healing induced by oral mucositis.”
What do you think about this study of the use of Omega-3 fatty acids in healing oral mucous membranes of people who undergo cancer chemotherapy? Share your opinions in the comments below.