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Lifestyle Changes - Food & Vitamins & Supplements

bonniep's picture
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2010

I was recently in a conversation with my chemo nurse, who is very knowledgable & extremely dedicated to answering any questions/explaining issues her chemo patients may have. If she doesn't know the answer, she discusses w/the doctor and gets back to them. I recently had a discussion about lifestyle changes I was trying to implement, food changes, vitaming/supplement changes, exercise changes, etc., to improve my chances of fighting my cancer and to feel better. Once I got to the part about the anti-toxin supplements/foods to 'detox' or fight against toxins in the body, she told me I should not be doing these things while I am on chemo. She explained chemo IS a very strong toxin used for the sole purpose of fighting and killing cancer cells. If I interfere with the process, I lessen the chemo's effect to do it's job. This does make perfect sense to me but I haven't heard anyone address this. As a note, I do remember my dr. stating, in the beginning (2010), a daily, regular multi-vitamin was fine, but any extra supplements were not necessary. He added, any deficiencies in my bloodwork would show up and they would address them when necessary, as they have, by adding a bag of potassium or magnesium on a few occasions.

Have any of you heard this before? Many of you have made so many wonderful lifestyle changes - do you alter them if you are on chemo or not?

Just wondering!

Posts: 62
Joined: Mar 2012

My nurse told me to stop all supplements while on Chemo (even my Barley Green). She said all I can take is a Multi-vitamin that has the min. daily requirment (but no mega doses).

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

My doc said the same thing. It does make sense. If we decide to use chemo and radiation treatments then I think we need to comply with our doc's recommendations and not go "off track" during treatment doing our own thing. We really don't know how supplements intended to minimize side effects, may also minimize effectiveness. That would not be a good thing.

I remember asking my doc if it was ok for me to take large amounts of Vit C during chemo because I had a cold. He said NO!! because it may interfere with chemo effectiveness.

Thanks for bringing this up Bonnie. My advice is unless sanctioned by the doc who is doing your primary treatment DON'T follow advice from other practitioners.

Mary Ann

txtrisha55's picture
Posts: 617
Joined: Apr 2011

My Gyn/Onc Dr. told me to stop all my supplements before surgery. I meet with her on a Monday, surgery was on Friday, She told me to stop all extra supplements I was taking and I was taking a baby asprin a day and told me to stop that too. That was in April 2011 for surgery and then chemo ran May to August. I did not start taking supplements again until this year. I asked the dr, nurses and dietian during chemo what I should eat, they told me anything that you want to keep up your strength. Most the time nothing tasted any good so I ate what I could. I did change my diet after wards but I still eat what I want but with lots more veggies and smaller portions. I exercise more, walking, weights and taking stairs at work, I am up to walking up 2 floors now without huffing & puffing. Going down is eaiser but worse on the knees so I am told. I wouls stick to just the multi-vitamin and leave the rest of the supplements alone for now. Once you are through and your body has had to recover some, then talk about your supplements again with your dr.

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