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Hi friends,

Another question today for you. Bill is considering taking a multi-vitamin, some vitamin C and also something called fish oil tablets to supplement his diet. Is this encouraged when someone is on chemotherapy? I recall reading somewhere that vitamins are not a good idea - something about making the chemo less effective. Does anyone on the board know about this or take vitamin supplements?



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Actually, This is a very hotly debated topic that you will have to make your own decision about. I just encourage you to do the research on your own, and to not trust doctors.

The majority of studies actually indicate that antioxidants provide a "bullet proof vest" to healthy cells during chemo without affecting the effectiveness of toxic therapies on malignant cells. A great book on the subject is Patrick Quillans "beating cancer with nutrition". This is an area that NEEDS to be resolved... and the medical community is not taking the lead in seeing the VITAL importance of a HOLISTIC approach to cancer treatment. Shame on them, they only see radiation, chemo & surgery as options.... they are largely controlled by the drug companies.

My take is that most medical doctors have virtually NO understanding of proper nutition and diet. I have yet to meet one that can give good advice on the subject. Typically what you get when you ask about diet is "yes, you should eat"

Boosting the immune system during treatment - to me makes sense.

We were made to engage in excercise, proper nutrition, and proper supplementation (where diet is lacking - due to modern effects on what we now grow)-- The immune system can actually fight cancer (the average person gets cancer 6 times in their lifetime- and yet only 30% of people are diagnosed with cancer) if maintained properly.

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Peg lots of info on this in the Alternative and Research forums. As Joe said, everyone must decide what they wish to go with. John takes lots of vitamins and supplements but he would stop during chemo and start again after to build himself back up. He also took iron to help with his blood counts after chemo as he had a hard time with them dropping. Good luck. Rochelle

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My onc said it was ok to take multi-vitamins and supplements while on chemo. I even take an antioxident, B-6, B-12, Iron, Selenium. The only thing I was told not to take was Vitamin "C". I was told this because it is not good for those with cancer, or so I was told. I think there was also an article on here too about Vitamin "C" and vitamin supplements. I don't recall who posted it though... Like Joe said, it is an individual decision. It did help to keep my counts up...

God Bless


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my dad took multi-vitamins during chemo, and now taking megadose Vit. C and E, I also do not suggest to take too much vitamins during chemo for safety reason. But, I guess multi-vitamins is okay (i mean all in one bottle) bcoz the dosage is not really high. Just act as a supplementary nutrient only.

I would suggest people takes vitamins after treatment as one article said multi-vitamins helps the elderly health. Those whose take mult-vitamins is healthier than those did not. So, for all people, multi-vitamins is suggested especially for elderly.

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Actually there is some "misinformation" out there about vitamin C. It is based on some research done at Sloan Kettering. The research outcome was actually correct... but they made ASSUPMTIONS about how C would affect the cancer cell once absorbed without actually testing the theory.

Heres how it went..... Vitamin C is chemically very similiar to glucose (or "sugar")... since cancer feeds on sugar, they theorized that cancer cells would gobble up vitamin C at an extrordinary rate. Guess what ? It was true, the cancer cells gourged on vitamin C like crazy. They then went on to state that "c" shouldnt be taken in light of this....The flaw in the article was that they asssumed that cancer cells would use C like "glucose" and it would result in tumor growth.

Actually the opposite was found to be true. Although the cancer cell "thinks" its getting its favorite food source (SUGAR) -- Vitamin C actually destroys the cancer cell once it is consumed by it. The cancer cell is "fooled" into thinking that it is getting it favorite fuel, when indeed "C" acts as a pro-Oxidant against cancer cells.

Many physicians are having very good results administering high doses of Vitamin C in cancer patients.

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bonoja, yes, I heard this before and my sister requested my dad taking megadose of vit.C that my dad now takes 4g per day.

But actually, you know this subject is very argumentative. Do you have any articles or information that supports your theory of Vit.C fighting cancer ?? I wish to see something that supports what my dad's eating.

Would appreciate any articles !! :D

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Is it Safe to Use Antioxidant Supplements with Chemotherapy?

A Healthnotes Newswire Opinion

By Matt Brignall, ND

Healthnotes Newswire (October 10, 2002)—A new clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2002;20:3478–83) provides the clearest evidence to date that taking antioxidant supplements does not interfere with the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy.

This new study involved 52 people being treated for advanced colon cancer with a chemotherapy drug called oxaliplatin. Half of these individuals also received intravenous treatment with an antioxidant called glutathione (at an average dose of approximately 2,500 mg each time they received chemotherapy), while the other half received a placebo.

The participants receiving intravenous glutathione had a significantly lower incidence of chemotherapy-induced nerve damage than did the control group, allowing more of the chemotherapy drug to be safely administered. Perhaps more important, the addition of glutathione to the treatment regimen did not reduce the ability of the chemotherapy to shrink the size of the colon tumors. In fact, the people who received the glutathione treatment were slightly (but not significantly) more likely to have tumor shrinkage.

Antioxidants During Chemotherapy: A Hot Topic

Antioxidants, including glutathione, are agents that protect the body from damage by unstable molecules called free radicals. There are many dietary antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and coenzyme Q10. Many commonly used herbs also contain antioxidants. Glutathione is present in small amounts in the diet, but it appears to be poorly absorbed; however, glutathione is also synthesized in the body from certain amino acids, and it appears to be one of the most important antioxidants in various tissues in the body.

Because several of the common cancer treatments (including radiation and many types of chemotherapy) work in part by producing free radicals, many doctors and researchers have voiced concern that antioxidants may reduce the beneficial effect of these therapies. However, there is very little evidence from scientific research that this interference actually occurs.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of test tube, animal, and preliminary human studies have concluded either that there was no effect of the antioxidant on the tumor-fighting ability of the cancer treatment, or that the antioxidant enhanced the anticancer effect of the therapy. In addition, antioxidants often protected against some of the most common side effects of cancer treatment, such as organ damage, low blood counts, and diarrhea.

Critics of the concurrent use of antioxidants and chemotherapy often point to the lack of clinical trials in humans. Previous preliminary clinical trials, however, have concluded that the antioxidants ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), melatonin, coenzyme Q10, and N-acetylcysteine did not appreciably reduce the effect of cancer therapies. Pharmaceutical antioxidants such as amifostine and mesna have also been extensively studied in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation, and have not appeared to cause a negative interaction. Many prominent cancer scientists believe that the dietary and pharmaceutical antioxidants prevent some of the worst side effects of cancer treatments.

Should People Undergoing Chemotherapy Take Glutathione?

Glutathione is available as an oral supplement, although only a small amount of orally administered glutathione is absorbed intact into the blood stream. At present there is no evidence that taking glutathione orally would have the same effect as that reported for intravenous glutathione in the new study.

Unfortunately, this clinical trial doesn’t answer the question of whether it is safe or desirable to use glutathione with other types of chemotherapy. It also doesn’t address the issue of using other antioxidants with chemotherapy. However, the results of the new study, when combined with those of previous research, provide a strong rationale for intensive research on the risks and benefits of combining antioxidants with conventional cancer therapy. People interested in using antioxidants along with conventional cancer treatment should talk this issue over with their doctors.

Matt Brignall, ND is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Bastyr University. He works at the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center, where he specializes in complementary medicine approaches to cancer. He has been published in several journals, including Alternative Medicine Review, Coping With Cancer, and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Brignall also teaches clinical nutrition at Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. He is a regular contributor to Healthnotes, Healthnotes Newswire, and the Healthnotes Quick!Reference series.

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Hmmm....and chiming in from the north regarding Vitamin C...

MY oncologist said that the ONLY way to get "large doses" of Vitamin C is intravenously as taking more than the body needs results in ... the body literally pissing it away. (Yeah, that IS the term he used!) He's on track with MD Anderson "stuff" and says that there was no conclusive evidence to either side of the coin. He suggested a vitamin with anti-oxidants, such as the One-A-Day in the reddish orange box (can't remember the label, but CAN remember the color).

I don't limit my sugar intake, and I HAVE discussed diet with my oncologist, a nutritionist AND my GP. I was told that "discretion" was the way to work it, NO artificial sweeteners and if I want a darn Snicker's bar every now and then to EAT one (back to that "quality of life" argument). My oncologist also warned me away from the Atkin's Diet saying that I need a balanced diet and exercise, just to watch portions (and heavy on the protein to keep the red count up - no prob, I LOVE a good steak).

BUT, my oncologist is a doctor in Podunk, he wouldn't be considered cutting edge, etc. SOOOOOOOoooo, heed my disclaimer - this was MY doctor's advice for ME. Every case is different - after all, he didn't recommend chemo, either.

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Hi Peg- If you take that question from doctor to doctor the answer will be different. Amazing isn't it. I have always taken a multi vit. most of my life as i had a partial gastrectomy and my diet is somewhat compromised. My point maybe it was a good thing as when i was told i had lung cancer if my general health wasn't so good they would not have had much to offer me treatment wise. So for me that decision would be take them. Carlton

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