Many chemotherapy drugs have nasty side-effects. Given a choice, I’d rather spend on immune-boosting and protective health supplements rather than costly, depressing and draining cancer treatment. Wouldn’t you choose the same? Chemotherapy can cause nausea, diarrhea, lack of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, mouth-sores and damage to the gastrointestinal tract, just to name a few horrors. Nutritional deficiencies are also common.
If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, taking high-potency antioxidants, multivitamins and minerals is absolutely essential to protect against deficiencies and improve your prognosis. Remember, chemotherapy drugs are POISON and they usually do not discriminate between cancer cells and healthy cells. You need to protect and build up your healthy cells. What are some antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which may be helpful during chemotherapy or radiation?
In a study of mice with vitamin A deficiency, vitamin A supplementation enhanced the anticancer action of cyclophosphamide, a chemo drug (Ghosh J, Das S. Role of vitamin A in prevention and treatment of sarcoma 180 in mice. Chemotherapy 1987;33:211-8.). A controlled French trial reported that when postmenopausal late-stage breast cancer patients were given very large amounts of vitamin A (350,000–500,000 IU per day) along with chemotherapy, remission rates were significantly better than when the chemotherapy was not accompanied by vitamin A. Similar results were not found in premenopausal women (Israel L, Hajji O, Grefft-Alami A, et al. Agumentation par la vitamine A des effets de la chimiotherapie dans les cancers du sein metastases apres la menopause. Ann Med Interne 1985;136:551-4).
Chemotherapy frequently causes mouth sores. In one trial, people were given approximately 400,000 IU of beta-carotene per day for three weeks and then 125,000 IU per day for an additional four weeks. Those taking beta-carotene still suffered mouth sores, but the mouth sores developed later and tended to be less severe than mouth sores that formed in people receiving the same chemotherapy without beta-carotene (Mills EED. The modifying effect of beta-carotene on radiation and chemotherapy induced oral mucositis. Br J Cancer 1988;57:416-7).
In a study of chemotherapy-induced mouth sores, six of nine patients who applied vitamin E directly to their mouth sores had complete resolution of the sores compared with one of nine patients who applied placebo. Others have confirmed the potential for vitamin E to help people with chemotherapy-induced mouth sores (Wadleigh RG, Redman RS, Graham ML, et al. Vitamin E in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced mucositis. Am J Med 1992;92:481-4); (Lopez I, Goudou C, Ribrag V, et al. Treatment of mucositis with vitamin E during administration of neutropenic antineoplastic agents. Ann Med Intern [Paris] 1994;145:405-8).
Preliminary human research found that adding antioxidants (beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E) to cyclophosphamide therapy increased the survival of people with small-cell lung cancer treated with cyclophosphamide (Jaakkola K, Lahteenmaki P, Laakso J, et al. Treatment with antioxidant and other nutrients in combination with chemotherapy and irradiation in patients with small-cell lung cancer. Anticancer Res 1992;12:599-606).
An animal research report indicated that vitamin C may increase the effectiveness of cyclophosphamide without producing new side effects (Taper HS, de Gerlache J, Lans M, Roberfroid M. Non-toxic potentiation of cancer chemotherapy by combined C and K3 vitamin pre-treatment. Int J Cancer 1987;40:575-9).
Patients being treated with cyclophosphamide and cisplatin for ovarian cancer were given a multivitamin preparation, with or without 200 mcg of selenium per day. Compared with the group not receiving selenium, those receiving selenium had a smaller reduction in white blood cell count and fewer chemotherapy side effects such as nausea, hair loss, weakness, and loss of appetite (Sieja K, Talerczyk M. Selenium as an element in the treatment of ovarian cancer in women receiving chemotherapy. Gynecol Oncol 2004;93:320-7).
NAC, an amino acid-like supplement that possesses antioxidant activity, has been used in at least four human studies to decrease the kidney and bladder toxicity of the chemotherapy drug ifosfamide. These studies used 1-2 grams NAC four times per day.
High amounts of melatonin have been combined with a variety of chemotherapy drugs to reduce their side effects or improve drug efficacy. One study gave melatonin at night in combination with the drug triptorelin to men with metastatic prostate cancer.17 All of these men had previously become unresponsive to triptorelin. The combination decreased PSA levels-a marker of prostate cancer progression-in eight of fourteen patients, decreased some side effects of triptorelin, and helped nine of fourteen to live longer than one year. The outcome of this preliminary study suggests that melatonin may improve the efficacy of triptorelin even after the drug has apparently lost effectiveness (Lissoni P, Cazzaniga M, Tancini G, et al. Reversal of clinical resistance to LHRH analogue in metastatic prostate cancer by the pineal hormone melatonin: Efficacy of LHRH analogue plus melatonin in patients progressing on LHRH analogue alone. Eur Urol 1997;31:178-81).
Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation. Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded (Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938-45).
This list of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals which can either help to boost the effectiveness of some chemotherapy drugs or reduce the side-effects, and improve cancer survival rates, is certainly not exhaustive. If you’re looking for a complete anti-oxidant health supplement, as well as multi-vitamins and minerals, with high bio-availability, get the best. Find out more about Neways “Revenol”, “Cascading Revenol”, “Maximol Solutions” and “Megatonin” here.