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chemo induced diarrhea and nutrient deficencies

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

just some observations about diet and supplements and chemo.

most on chemo get diarrhea which reduces our ability to absorb essential nutrients.
how critical is this deficency to our health, our immune system and our prognosis.

this can be for a few months, 6 months or life long. i would argue that focussed attention to diet, nutrition , supplements and juicing essential to all chemos. particularly life long chemo where deficiencies would be compounded.

the more i read now about diet, nutrition, the function of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, elements etc makes me very very grateful i followed the healthiest diet, supplements and juicing.

i remember well my fight with folfox every fortnight to stay out of ER re diarrhea. the progression onto the naturopathic management of chemo induced diarrhea with probiotics, gut relief powder, and anti diarrheal tonics meant that not only was my gut rebuilt each and everytime i fronted up for the next chemo. the naturopathetic management of diarrhea also meant that drugs to manage diarrhea symptoms that further stress liver could be avoided. these drugs do not heal the stomach and gut they just reduce the symptom of diarrhea by slowing, stopping peristalsis. ie putting the gut to sleep.

the benefit i percieve now in retrospect is that solving diarrhea asap meant that i was giving my body the nutients it needs to heal and fight cancer.

i just started reading about essential amino acids and vitamins. this is an area i am interested in. i have spent a small fortune on supplements and advice. now i am looking up the components in each of the supplements. seeing how they relate, support each other, help the body in so many ways.

maybe one day in the future a study will show this. its my hypothesis that while on one hand our chemo does target
killing many cells, hopefully our crc. but maybe the damage to nutrition, to our immune systems, to our bodies in blood counts means we are not able to fight micro metastasis growth elsewhere. even our ability to self heal other chemo side effects like peripheral neuropathy, liver damage etcc etc etc maybe reduced. meaning our quality of life, length of life post chemo and surgery is reduced.

maybe all the effort, time, expense on diet , juicing and supplements provides 0% benefit.
i have made the investment, if i get 0.5% survival benefit i'll be happy. in fact i am happy that i explored every opportunity to enhance my survival odds at each step of the journey even if it turns out to be 0% benefit. but say if its 2%, well its goodnews for me. in practice it could mean 2 more friends here per year for life. csn will need to get bigger servers if thats the case.

its just now i have the time to look back, do retrospective research about what i was taking and why. i am grateful i had experts helping me. what i did well was find the experts and get the best advice and care out of them.

good health to all. i don't want anyone to feel pressured, we all do the best we can
on this journey, at each step along the road.

hugs,
pete

ps if your interested in this area refer to books like anticancer, eat to live.
it leads into this area at a general level.

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

My naturopath said that any kind of diarrhea causes a mineral and nutrient depletion in the body. Mineral depletion is linked to bone and joint pain. It's no wonder that so many people on chemo start experiencing bone pain and arthritis like pain in their joints. For some it could actually be arthritis, but for many it is actually due to having a mineral depletion. I experienced terrible joint pain, was tested for rheumatoid arthritis and the test came back negative. Drs. didn't know how to help me or what the pain was from. One rheumatologist I saw told me it was probably just from my chemo, but he didn't know what to do for me other than have me take ibuprofen for the pain.
Lo and behold fast forward to this past February when I first started going to my naturopath- I've been on minerals supplements & no more joint or bone pain!!! If only "regular" doctors knew this- think how many people could be helped!

Lisa

luvmum
Posts: 457
Joined: Dec 2010

My mum is also experiencing joint pain and bone pain. I thought it was due to the weather change and humidity...

do you mind telling me what kind of minerals are you taking?

Thanks a lot and love
Dora

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Dora,

The minerals I'm taking are this: 4 potassium capsules (175 mg each- take 2 in am & 2 in pm), 4 calcium orotate pills daily (740 mg of calcium orotate & 85 mg of elemental calcium in each pill- 2 in am & 2 in pm), 4 Mycropryl tablets (contains 360 mg calcium, 180 mg of magnesium, 4.1 g of caprylic acid in each tablet- also 2 in am & 2 in pm), 2 "Reacted Multimin" capsules (1 in am & 1 in pm- contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganase, chromium, molybdenum, & potassium), 4 Kona Gold capsules/day (2 am & 2 pm- this is sea mineral salts- contains 30 IU of D-3, 100 mg calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, deep sea trace mineral concentrate, fumaric acid, & malic acid).
Note that minerals absorb best on an empty stomach.

If all of these are too overwhelming, I'd start with the potassium, calcium, & magnesium. Magnesium is important, but be careful as too much can cause diahrrea. Re the calcium, calcium orotate is the most highly absorbable form of calcium, but it's hard to find. The second most absorbable form is calcium citrate. Don't bother with calcium carbonate- I'm told by my ND that only about 30% of that form is absorbed by the body.

Best wishes! You mentioned in your pm that it would be hard to find certain supplements where you are. You can always order these online. Best wishes!

Lisa

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Lisa - I'm so glad this has worked for you.

I also have osteoarthritis, so not sure it would. I do take calcium and magnesium.

I would caution people to look at their blood work (comprehensive metabolic panel) and check their potassium levels before going gung ho with potassium supplements. Low potassium is bad, but high potassium can result in heart attacks. My CMP (every 3 weeks) shows normal potassium (but high normal). Supplementing potassium could easily send me into an elevated range which can be serious. So, please have a look at blood work before supplementing potassium.

P.S. If you google calcium orotate, there are several internet sources.

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1271
Joined: Jun 2010

Should also be monitored. Too much can be as bad as too little.

From the NIH website:

What is the health risk of too much magnesium?
Dietary magnesium does not pose a health risk, however pharmacologic doses of magnesium in supplements can promote adverse effects such as diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Risk of magnesium toxicity increases with kidney failure, when the kidney loses the ability to remove excess magnesium. Very large doses of magnesium-containing laxatives and antacids also have been associated with magnesium toxicity [25]. For example, a case of hypermagnesemia after unsupervised intake of aluminum magnesia oral suspension occurred after a 16 year old girl decided to take the antacid every two hours rather than four times per day, as prescribed. Three days later, she became unresponsive and demonstrated loss of deep tendon reflex [57]. Doctors were unable to determine her exact magnesium intake, but the young lady presented with blood levels of magnesium five times higher than normal [25]. Therefore, it is important for medical professionals to be aware of the use of any magnesium-containing laxatives or antacids. Signs of excess magnesium can be similar to magnesium deficiency and include changes in mental status, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat [5,57-60].

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

And more

ERBITUX
and

ERBITUX - 2

Note in Site 2 that they do not mention side effects that occur in less than 10% of patients. Whew !

ERBITUX - 3

Note the list 'rare warning's 'Complete stoppage of the heart'. I AM TYING TO THINK OF ANOTHER WORD THEY COULD HAVE USED HERE ??

Now just watch those vitamins.

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1271
Joined: Jun 2010

?

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Thanks for the info, Betsy. Good to know there are internet sources for the calcium orotate. I didn't find any before, so I'll check again, as it may be less expensive there than I get from the nat. dr.
Also- a good word on being cautious of the potassium reading. Since I've never dealt with high levels, I was not aware of the implications of having too much potassium.

Take care!

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

dear lisa,

at least you and me and a few others.

the doctors will never get into this i fear.

but the help is there for those open to the idea,

its what gives me hope. we can discuss it hear in kind of a relaxed and not pushy way.

its just our views our treatment, people can then do nothing or whatever they like.

i appreciated you comments re minerals, it took about a minute for it to help dora.

so thanks ever so much.

love and hugs,
pete

luvmum
Posts: 457
Joined: Dec 2010

Dear pete,

Do you mind sending me a private message about what to eat? As you said in my message, it's hard to change my mum's diet. I have almost given up on pushing her to eat properly. She has been on 'rice diet' in the last couple of weeks. She is definitely lacking nutrient at the moment. But I don't know how to get her eat more. Oh well, at least I make her eat different types of fruits for breakfast.

Thanks and best wishes,
Dora

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

oh dora,

i wish i could be of more help but i am only comfortable telling my own story and experimenting on me, not anyone else. that said i hope the comments below help.

i can tell you what my diet is, but honestly see a good naturopath who has a nutrition focus. you need specific advice for you mum, everyone has there own issues and history. so get some excellent nutrition advice from a local caring expert. now reading the books is a starting point. just do your best and remember to breathe and relax and eat well yourself.

my number one anticancer rule is not to stress. not always easy to follow but i try.

my general diet advice i follow is lots of fruit and veg and low protien with fish, eggs, chicken and weekly red meat like kangeroo or wagu beef for a treat. almost no diary except for good probiotic yogurts that i have with wild berry's mixed in. and then vege juices with carrot, beetroot and celery as the base with brocolli, spinach, brussel sprouts. almost anything green gets added randomly. i also add a glove of garlicm, some ginger and tumeric. sometimes i throw in a pear, kiwi fruit, apple or orange. i almost always add lemon and or lime to the juice. i have a juice once to twice a day.

i try to have a couple of vegetarian days a week.

most days now i have a whey protien shake with a free range egg for breakfast.

you are so caring, your mum lack of appetite is probably a response to chemo, its normal.
just read lots and learn. find whats best for you and your mum, that available and practical for you.

love, and hugs,
pete

thingy45's picture
thingy45
Posts: 633
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi Pete, I am seeing a Naturopath tomorrow. When I mentioned this to my Onc, he frowned. My sun in law works with a supplement comp. named Popeyes, here in Alberta and had me on protein powders and CLA for a fatty liver even before my operation. I feel that is why I bounced back so fast. Except for the cancer I was in good shape.My GP is al for it, but he is a young guy.
I like to be as healthy as I can be for as long as I can be. Strong minds also make strong bodies when something like this happens.
I drink Almond milk when necessary. Like you I throw anything available in the juice. Asperagus are anti cancer so often a few pieces are going in as well and then a scoop of protein powder. We can only try.
Thanks for al your info and knowledge you are sharing. We all have to take it one day at the time.
Hugs,
Marjan

You never walk alone.

westie66's picture
westie66
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi all: I'm glad you started this discussion thread, Pete. It is something I'm becoming more and more obsessed about too, given that I've had almost constant diarrhea (especially from the irenotecan) and some neuropathy (from the oxaliplatin) since starting my 2nd round of treatment May 1. I should add that I'd already done 6 months of cisplatin, another platinum based chemical) Sept to Jan/11 which means I'm piling on more chemicals to that (but I didn't have any problems then). Anyways, here's a funny thing - my oncologist will let me have vitamin pills but vitamin only, no minerals. Who knows for what reason. But I sneak in the calcium and magnesium now and did a whole bunch of minerals before chemo started. Let's face it - those chemicals are nasty nasty nasty and of course are having a terrible effect on our bodies. I am trying to eat as healthily as I can with this augmenting the "white" BRAT diet when I can with healthy options - berries, veggies, a smoothie made with good whey protein powder (Costco's is pretty good and cheaper than most), L-Glutamine, Alpha Linoleic Acid. If something makes me sick, well, won't eat it but there are lots of options. I avoid dairy as I'm allergic to milk proteins but do sneak in a piece of cheese now and again (share it with my dog Charlotte). My most important person on my cancer team is the dietician! Here in London, ON there are several supposedly good naturopaths that treat cancer patients on chemo concurrently - I'm going to track one down.
To me, it only makes sense - if your body isn't getting what it needs nutrient-wise, how on earth is it going to work with the chemo and fight the cancer. Why are oncologists not into this???????? Do they want us to be sick as that is some measure of something???????

Are you an Australian, Pete? I am newish to this discussion board and just noted your meat choice. If so, I've been in Australia several times birdwatching. Wonderful place! A graduate student of mine did his PHD there and stayed (in Townsville). I spend a bit of time in Tasmania. A paradise on earth. Even saw a tasmanian devil although they are declining fast with that horrid jaw disease.

Cheryl

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

hi cheryl,

not many into supplements and nutrition, it just great to have some like minded folk to
bounce these ideas around. of course we still love our skepictal friends here.

more than one way to skin a cat.

go to a couple of the best naturopaths and then pick your favourite.
the tassy devils are sad.

i love london.

hugs,

pete

westie66's picture
westie66
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Unfortunately! I lived in London England for several years in the 1960's and 1970's but now it is London Ontario (I am even on the Thames River!).
Cheryl

Kathleen808's picture
Kathleen808
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Pete,
I love reading your posts. You are doing a great job educating yourself. Dick had and appointment with the naturalpath tomorrow but had to have it changed due to port problems and chemo delay.
What did you do specifically for the diarrhea? Dick is taking a probiotic, Vitamin D and Milk Thistle. Diarrhea is still a problem and yes his joints hurt. But, as you know Dick continues to hike, surf, paddle, work out at the gym, boat.... anything to keep moving.

Lisa I read your list, thanks!

Thank you.

Aloha,
Kathleen

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

dear kathleen,

give dick my best wishes.

so the naturopathic anti diarrhea solution was.
1.ultra 45 probiotic very expensive but effective see old post 2 twice per day morning and
night 5 min before slippery elmn.
2.slippery elm powder 3 times a day 20 minutes before meals
3. orthoplex def digestive enzyme 2 tab morning and night
4. anti diarrheal tonic naturopathic mix each fortnight to suit my gut. take up 4 times a day after loose bag.

also i backed off pro diarrheal foods like strong veg juice
and picked up banana and basmartti rice (LOW GI) from BRAT.
around this i had a pretty healthy diet and many other supplements to help
with my chemo.

first thing in the morning top class probiotic on the tongue, let it dissolve in your mouth and get the good bacteria working from the mouth , down the throat , stomach, intestines. then follow with slippery elm.

ask your naturopath what he thinks about this, its straight from "a quest for life" by petria king top naturopath that runs week long seminar about cancer that i went to.

i owe my current good health to her. she is a marvellous passionate lady.

hugs,
pete

Kathleen808's picture
Kathleen808
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

Thanks Pete. You are wonderful to share what you have learned.

Aloha,
Kathleen

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

left out gut relief powder to help diarrhea.

http://www.purehealthdirect.com/products/products_details.php?products_id=2376
Active Ingredients in Gut Relief by Nutrition Care
Ingredient Qty
Aloe barbadensis .5 mg/g
Curcumin .6074 mg/g
Glucosamine hydrochloride 100 mg/g
Glutamine 500 mg/g
Guar Gum 20 mg/g
Pectin 20 mg/g
Peppermint Oil 600 microgram/g
Quercetin 40 mg/g
Sodium phosphate - dibasic 52 mg/g
Ulmus rubra 100 mg/g

Specific Indications for Gut Relief by Nutrition Care
Aids in maintenance and repair of mucous membranes

Natural relief of symptoms of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome and natural relief for the bloating, abdominal pain, cramping and discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome

Relief of muscular aches and pains in the gut
Soothe and protect the gastro intestinal tract
Suitable for assisting upper and lower gastro intestinal health
Supports gastro intestinal health
Warnings (TGA) for Gut Relief by Nutrition Care

SisterSledge's picture
SisterSledge
Posts: 342
Joined: Feb 2011

I have had a hard time finding this substance...paid $20 at GNC, only place so far. Did a search on Google to find more resources for it and came across this article that warns against using glutamine: http://www.healthscout.com/news/1/630113/main.html Scientists Spot How Sugar 'Feeds' Tumors

The article is two years old and doesn't give much info...just enough to raise questions...

westie66's picture
westie66
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi SisterSledge: Oh no. I'll read the article. The one I am taking is a powder, cost about $20 but is a big tin, and is "fermented L-Glutamine". I have no idea if "fermented" makes a difference or not but the health food guy said it did (but never told me why!). I take 5 grams a day. It does seem to help as I haven't had more neuropathy since taking it. I also take the alpha lino..... on an empty stomach. Now if only I could get rid of the diarrhea - my blood pressure today was only 100/50 and I am apparently getting a bit dehydrated.
Cheryl

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

my naturopath recommended this as a part of my diarrhea treatment while on chemo.goodluck, fixing diarrhea was my number one priority.

http://www.purehealthdirect.com/products/products_details.php?products_id=2376
Active Ingredients in Gut Relief by Nutrition Care
Ingredient Qty
Aloe barbadensis .5 mg/g
Curcumin .6074 mg/g
Glucosamine hydrochloride 100 mg/g
Glutamine 500 mg/g
Guar Gum 20 mg/g
Pectin 20 mg/g
Peppermint Oil 600 microgram/g
Quercetin 40 mg/g
Sodium phosphate - dibasic 52 mg/g
Ulmus rubra 100 mg/g

Specific Indications for Gut Relief by Nutrition Care
Aids in maintenance and repair of mucous membranes

Natural relief of symptoms of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome and natural relief for the bloating, abdominal pain, cramping and discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome

Relief of muscular aches and pains in the gut
Soothe and protect the gastro intestinal tract
Suitable for assisting upper and lower gastro intestinal health
Supports gastro intestinal health
Warnings (TGA) for Gut Relief by Nutrition Care

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

We went on the Zone Diet previous to my second diagnosis with cancer.

After surgery and my third stay in the hospital, my Doctor suggested for me to read about a low residue diet. The low residue diet is compatible with the Zone Diet except that all food be slightly cooked for low residue. This helped me with the diarrhea. It also made sense for the ease of digestion. When the diarrhea was bad I drank a lot of vegetable juice(s). These made me feel better. I found my body craved what I needed. Low vitamin K, I wanted to eat bananas, etc... The only issue I had was citrus. I wanted it and needed it, but citrus was really difficult for the acidic reasons. I cried many times on the toilet because of the burn, and my sheer love of citrus betraying my hind quarters pain. (Nuprecanal and Baby wipes saved me!)

Best Always, mike

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

i'll checkout the zone diet.
the pain is pretty extreme at times.
i am hooked on the wipes AS WELL.

hugs,
pete

westie66's picture
westie66
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Me, too!
Cheryl

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SisterSledge's picture
SisterSledge
Posts: 342
Joined: Feb 2011

When I was suffering with five years of diarrhea that was misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I used probiotics a lot, trying many different kinds on the market. What I found to work the best for me was a liquid, tangy, yogurty sort of thing they kept in a special refrigerator near the supplements at the health food store...for me it worked better than the pills.

Graci, here's a link to a site showing how to make Kefir , and the MakingKefir site has a link there you can use to get to a site that sells the fermenting grains. I don't like the taste of kefir but I do have friends who have it regularly and swear by it. It seems to me that if you look at native/indigenous people's diets, you'll rarely find adults consuming sweet/fresh milk...but you will usually find that they use fermented dairy products regularly.

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

hugs and love,
pete

ps the probiotic iam on costs $100 per 60 capsules at 2 per is for a month. expensive but effective in my case.

Anonymous user (not verified)

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pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

I always appreicate your comments.

I to am hammering glutamine and ala

hus
pete

westie66's picture
westie66
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Graci: Oh yes, forgot to mention that - one day I take just Vit B6 (of the B's) then the next I take a B50 complex (always in addition to L-Glutamine, Alpha....., cal/mag). I think that it has really really helped with the neuropathy in addition to the reduced dose and infusion rate of the folfoxfiri. For example, today I had an ice cold coke with ice!!!!!!! and it was so so so good (it is very warm and humid here today). Nothing much seems to work with the diarrhea except that now the length of its occurrence is not weeks but rather days (if I'm very very good about eating the BRAT stuff). But the other day I just had to have a frosty milkshake and I risked it and paid for it so no more (but it too was delicious!). A bit of fatigue this time around - perhaps because my blood pressure has dropped (100/50 last week, 110/70 this week - I take pills for high blood pressure but doctor won't let me stop them).
There was a news item here today about a cocktail that will be given here to cancer patients who are getting a lot of CT and other radiation-type scans during their treatments. It has been found that too many scans of course can in fact cause some kinds of cancers. Anyways, the researchers have developed an anti-oxidant cocktail that will be given when they have scans. I wish Iknew the content but of course they didn't give it out. My oncologist forbids me to have anti-oxidants during chemo. Comments?
Cheryl

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