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When do you guys recommend I give my mom supplements? She just finished radiation and starts chemo next week. Do I wait a certain amount of days after chemo or have her take them a couple of days before? With reading articles, I'm so confused.

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We started my husband on suppliments before starting chemo, because we wanted to build his strength and immune system. The only thing we were told, and that I think is important is to check everything out with your oncologist and/or the hospital's oncology nutritionist (our hospital has a staff nutritionist who is very familiar with chemotherapy). The reason is that many antioxidants, which are great from ridding the body of free radicals and toxins, actually hinder chemo. They can decrease absorption of the chemo drugs, thereby negating some of the benefits.

Check with your doctor, I'm sure he can make some good recommendations.


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Some research on antioxidants and chemo

The use of antioxidant therapies during chemotherapy.

Drisko JA, Chapman J, Hunter VJ.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA. jdrisko@kumc.edu

OBJECTIVE: At the present time, many cancer patients combine some form of complementary and alternative medicine therapies with their conventional therapies. The most common choice of these therapies is the use of antioxidants. RESULTS: A review of four common antioxidants is undertaken, which includes vitamin E (mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols), beta-carotene (natural mixed carotenoids), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and vitamin A (retinoic acid). Antioxidants act as electron acceptors as well as therapeutic biologic response modifiers. Despite the fact that chemotherapy-induced formation of free radicals is well-demonstrated, chemotherapy-induced cytotoxicity in general does not seem to depend on formation of reactive oxygen species. CONCLUSIONS: Currently, evidence is growing that antioxidants may provide some benefit when combined with certain types of chemotherapy. Because of the potential for positive benefits, a randomized controlled trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of adding antioxidants to chemotherapy in newly diagnosed ovarian cancer is underway at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Publication Types:


Review, Tutorial

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