Polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols, amino acids, prebiotics: can they help to tackle cancer cachexia and related inflammation?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of developing a multimodal therapeutic strategy for cancer cachectic patients. Considering the central role of metabolism and anorexia in this disease, optimized nutritional advice should be an integral part of this strategy. Current recommendations mainly focus on meeting caloric requirements. However, a few studies suggest the great potential of foods naturally enriched in nutrients presenting interesting physiological properties and the interest of using them in the management of cachectic patients. Among them, prebiotics show the capacity to control inflammation in several debilitating diseases. In this context, this review aims to summarize the most recent findings related to functional foods and nutrients and cancer cachexia, and to discuss the potential use of prebiotics in this context.

Recent findings

Even though there is a clear need for more research in the field, data from both humans and animal models support the promising benefits of functional foods and nutrients in cancer cachexia.

Summary

Altogether, these studies offer new insights into the potential contribution of nutrition to cancer patient management. Functional foods, by downregulating inflammatory pathways, could decrease cachexia severity and contribute to the improvement of cancer patients’ quality of life.

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