Link Between Diet and Fatigue
This study mostly falls into the category of "what your mother always told you" and "yes, that's common sense." However, a real attempt to look at the association between post treatment diet and fatigue, with and without the consideration of the impact of regular exercise, is valuable. You are what you eat, as they always saw, and the right foods do help us feel better.
It is really important not to fall into the trap of too much worry re diet. No, you don't have to only eat organic or eliminate things you love. Yes, it is smart to limit red meat and processed food (and, on that score, I just finished reading Pandora's Lunchbox by Melanie Warner. If you read it, you will never even want to eat cereal again) and to concentrate on protein and whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables. It is encouraging to think that eating right, especially when paired with regular exercise, will help us recover more quickly and feel better.
From the Journal of Cancer Survivorship comes this study. I give you the abstract. If you want the whole article, email me, and I will send it on..
Better postdiagnosis diet quality is associated with less
cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer survivors
Stephanie M. George & Catherine M. Alfano & Marian L. Neuhouser & Ashley W. Smith & Richard N. Baumgartner & Kathy B. Baumgartner & Leslie Bernstein & Rachel Ballard-Barbash
A comprehensive understanding of the role of modifiable
health behaviors in effective management of cancerrelated
fatigue is needed. Among breast cancer survivors, we
examined how postdiagnosis diet quality, independently and
jointly with physical activity, is related to fatigue, and the
potential mediating role of inflammation.
Seven hundred seventy women diagnosed with
–IIIA breast cancer in the Health, Eating, Activity,
and Lifestyle study completed food frequency and physical
activity questionnaires 30 months postdiagnosis. We scored
diet quality using the Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI-2010).
Serum concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured
in fasting 30-ml blood samples. Multidimensional fatigue
was measured 41 months postdiagnosis using the 22-
item revised Piper Fatigue Scale. In multivariate linear
models, we determined whether fatigue was associated HEI-
2010 quartiles (Q1
–Q4), and a variable jointly reflecting HEI
quartiles and physical activity levels.
Survivors with better-quality diets (Q4 vs. Q1) had
lower total fatigue (4.1 vs. 4.8,
p-contrast=0.003) and subscale
scores (behavioral severity 3.4 vs. 4.2,
0.003; affective meaning 3.9 vs. 4.8,
4.4 vs. 5.2,
p-contrast=0.003; cognitive 4.6 vs. 5.0, pcontrast=
0.046). Least squares estimates of fatigue were similar
in models including CRP. Compared to survivors with
poor-quality diets and no physical activity, survivors with
better-quality diets and meeting physical activity recommendations
had significantly lower behavioral severity (3.2 vs.
p-contrast=0.002) and sensory (3.8 vs. 4.8. p-contrast=
0.006) fatigue scores.
Conclusion In this large breast cancer survivor cohort,
postdiagnosis diet quality was inversely and independently
associated with fatigue.
Implications for Cancer Survivors Future interventions designed
to improve multiple energy balance behaviors can
provide insight into their associations with fatigue.