• Who is using herbal and/or vitamin supplements to complement their cancer treatment ?

    Asked by saltermd on Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Who is using herbal and/or vitamin supplements to complement their cancer treatment ?

    I am curious to know what patients are taking to complement their cancer treatments. Are you taking them to fight the cancer ? To help alleviate side effects or symptoms ? To prevent recurrence of the cancer ? Does your doctor know what you are taking and does he/she endorse the addition of these supplements ? Thanks !

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • babylady317's Avatar

      My oncologists advised AGAINST supplements until after treatments were completed. I resumed Natures Sunshine supplements last month. My nails started growing faster than before treatment with taxotere and Cytoxin. They have also helped my legs which seemed stiff, possibly arthritic. I now take glucosamine, chondroitin among others. in addition I am participating in clinical trial with Metformin or a placebo, not certain which.

      over 4 years ago
    • cranburymom's Avatar

      In addition to multi-vitamine and Ca+ supplements, I take the followings during week 2nd and 3rd of my chemo (hard for me to take right after chemo treatment)

      NAC - liver detox
      Zinc + Panthothetic acid - recovery from surgery (wound healing)
      Vit B complex - immune and energy
      Glutamine - mouth sour, anti-metastatsis (only shown in mice) when my liver is healthy
      Ginger - trying to take this fresh daily for anti-nausea
      Tumeric - add to many dishes for anti-inflammatory

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I take a multi-vitamin and a calcium/Vit D supplement. I took both of these before my diagnosis, but my oncologist had me double the calcium because lab test showed low calcium and I already had osteopenia before cancer diagnosis. I'm also considering an iron supplement temporarily to help with my RBC, but haven't discussed this with my oncologist yet and won't take them until I discuss it with her next visit.

      over 4 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      I did a TON of research (as I'm known to do) to figure out what supplements were reasonable to consider. I came up with a list of about ten supplements. Then, I sent that list to my oncologist, and he accepted several and rejected a few. He was very clearly very familiar with the very recent scientific literature on supplements.

      His rejections were for supplements that are suspected to protect not only healthy tissues but also cancer tissue from chemotherapy. The ones he accepted were ones believed to protect healthy tissue without protecting cancer tissue from the chemotherapy.

      My final list ended up as:
      Glutamine (this one is HUGE - helps minimize and prevent a bunch of side effects of chemotherapy)
      Vitamin B-12
      and Vitamin D

      Vitamin E was rejected... as well as a few others.

      One thing he cautioned me about was taking too many supplements because that can make nausea worse... I didn't have too much trouble with nausea with the first part of chemo... but the second part was ROUGH-O-RINO!!!!

      So, at the end of the day, my advice is that you should talk about every supplement you consider with your health care providers. Take the containers in with you or write down the dosage and form of each supplement.

      Good luck!


      over 4 years ago
    • gdytko's Avatar

      I had just purchased something that I have never heard of before and am getting started to try. The first thing is Red Desert Clay for detoxification, it comes in a pill (tablet) form and also In a powder form to mix in water. It is 100% dried, edible, mineral filled clay. A heavy metal detoxifier that promotes healthy stomach acid, influences strong bones, alkalizing ph of 8.3, and strengthens the immune system. A calcium montmorillonite clay. "sounds good to me". I'm going to start taking that with a magnesium supplement mixed with water. And also this is something that I thought would be helpfull, called Stem Enhance. This pill form supplement supports the natural release of stem cells. It comes from blue-green algae (AFA) that triggers the release of the stem cells from bone marrow, into your blood stream. It then goes to the areas that need repair.....such as bone, muscle, brain, cartilage, skin, nerve, and wounds in any tissue. The stem cells attach and become that tissue. I want to try these because I had the surgery to remove part of me Esophageous, leaving me with nerve damage with chronic pain, and scar tissue inside and out. If it will help all that to heal and help my immune system, I'm willing to try it.

      I haven't started yet, not until I see my doctor next week. I want to see what he says....

      over 4 years ago
    • saltermd's Avatar

      Thanks to everyone that responded so far ! You all have provided some VERY insightful information about a topic that really deserves more attention in oncology care. I would continue to encourage others to participate in this conversation about supplements. Thanks again !


      over 4 years ago
    • StephMooneyham's Avatar

      All I've been taking is vitamin C, and drinking cranberry juice as I've heard it can be beneficial during chemo treatments. Other than that my doctor and I are a bit wary as to adding to much else to my regimen as I'm already on so many other medications right now.

      over 4 years ago
    • akristine's Avatar

      The man who runs the family-owned nutrition store near me advised B-complex and a daily protein drink with flax oil during radiation. No antioxidants until after treatment. My radiation ends February 29 (yea!) and I will go back to my usual regimen: 10,000 units of A (non fish-based since I'm vegetarian), B complex, 1000 units of C, 1200 units of Cal-Mag-Zinc, 1200 units of D, 1000 units of E, gingko biloba, glucosamine chondroitin, potassium and a multi in case I missed anything. I'm taking Coumadin and need to avoid cranberry or grape juice but that's about it.

      over 4 years ago
    • DavidEmerson's Avatar

      I achieved complete remission from my blood cancer, multiple myeloma in '99. My regimen focuses on those supplements that have been shown to reduce cancer- in other words, I am supplementing to prevent the myeloma from relapsing. I supplement with curcumin, green tea extract, omega 3 fatty acids, milk thistle and resveritrol. All have anti-cancer properties- the studies are linked below.





      Studies outline these supplements as having both anti-cancer properties as well as acting synergistically with conventional chemo while reducing toxicity-

      David Emerson

      over 4 years ago

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