Omega-3 dietary supplements enhance sleep and temper in breast most cancers sufferers

Hormone therapy in breast cancer patients can lead to mood and sleep disorders. A new randomized controlled trial shows that omega-3 supplementation improves these symptoms. After 4 weeks of treatment, patients who received omega-3 reported better sleep, less depression, and better mood results than those who received a placebo.

Estrogen receptor inhibitors are used to treat breast cancer that have positive hormone receptors in combination with other therapies. However, the drugs can cause long-term side effects, including hot flashes, night sweats, and mood and sleep disorders.

These side effects are often treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and some anticonvulsants. Omega-3 supplements contain various polyunsaturated fatty acids that affect cell signaling and contribute to the production of bioactive fat mediators that counteract inflammation. They are widely used for cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and other cognitive disorders. They also appear to enhance the anti-tumor efficacy of tamoxifen by inhibiting proliferative and anti-apoptotic signaling pathways that are influenced by estrogen receptor .

“This study showed that an omega-3 supplement can improve mood and sleep disorders in with breast cancer while using anti-hormone drugs … this supplement may be suggested for the treatment of these patients,” write researchers, led by Azadeh Moghaddas, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Practice, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

The study was made available as a preprint on on November 12th and has not yet been peer-reviewed. It comprised 60 patients who were assessed for baseline mood disorders using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), then randomized to receive 2 g of omega-3 per day for 4 weeks or placebo.

Studies have shown that omega-3 supplementation improves menopause and mood symptoms in postmenopausal without cancer.

Omega-3 supplementation has neuroprotective effects and improved function and mood in rats, and a 2019 review found the evidence strong enough to warrant clinical trials.

To determine whether the supplement was safe and effective in with breast cancer who were undergoing hormone therapy, the researchers analyzed data from 32 patients in the intervention and 28 patients in the placebo groups.

After 4 weeks of follow-up, the patients in the intervention group had significantly lower scores on the scale of the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (mean 22.8 vs. 30.8; P <0.001), Profile of Mood State (mean 30.8 vs. 39.5; P <0.001) and Pittsburgh sleep quality index (mean 4.6 vs 5.9; P = 0.04). There were no statistically significant changes in these values ​​in the placebo group.

After 4 weeks, paired t-test comparisons between the intervention and placebo groups showed lower values ​​in the intervention group for the mean values ​​in the PSQI subscales subjective sleep quality (0.8 vs 1.4; P = 0.002), delay in falling asleep (1.1 vs 1.6; P = 0.02) and sleep disorders (0.8 vs 1.3; P = 0.005).

There were no significant side effects in any of the groups. The study was limited by the small sample size and the short follow-up period.

The study was funded by Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. The authors have not disclosed any relevant financial relationships.

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