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Nutritional supplements/superfoods

flowerrod
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2018

hello, i was wondering if you guys could share your thoughts/intakes about nutritional supplements and super foods. our two oncologists said not to take, because you're trying to kill the cancer cells and they feed off the vitamins. so we are only taking iron. also, we are continuing taking turmeric pills, as it's considers as a superfood. NP said it's okay to take it, oncologist stayed nuetral and said there are a lot of good/bad conversations about turmeric. last, but not least we are taking "Immunicol" the whey protein twice a day. it supposily helps with side effects (my husband is experiencing side at effects at the minimum, but that might due to amend). again, doctor was neutral and said there is no proof it will help. the nutritionist said its good - will help to maintain weight.

we also tried drinking beetroot powder suppl (superfood) but it tasted extremely bad. we now drink a glass of organic beetroot juice.

what are you guys taking and why? thanks!

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2097
Joined: Mar 2010

I learned from integrative med at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to avoid antioxidants (green tea, blueberries and such) beyond small portions because chemo and radiation work in part by oxidizing the cancer  cells.  Anti-oxidants can diminish the efficacy of treatment.

flowerrod
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2018

interesting, everyone says differently. our nutritionist said that she went to cancer conference or smth, and most docs said every cancer patient should drink 3-5 cups of green tea daily! so we drin regularly 

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2097
Joined: Mar 2010

said no more than 1 cup of green tea a day.

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1108
Joined: Feb 2015

I was encouraged to use various alternative treatments when my cancer came back for the third time last year and inoperable.  She was basically of the opinion of unless it was something that could be dangerous if not done properly (some herbs and vitamins can be dangerous) I could try them.  And for things that can be dangerous, as long as per someone trained in the use of the herbs, not a problem.  She was willing to discuss various treatments and various studies she has seen, such as when I asked about Vitamin C.  (She said nothing has shown it really has worked, but not objections, while my TCM practiioners said more straightforward, some Vitamin C is good, tons of Vitamin C does not change things due to metabolism). 

BUT when I went into an immunotherapy trial, I was told to drop the alternatives because some things can affect bloodwork, including liver function, which had to be monitored.  And now back on chemo, more restricted for the same reason.  Some things, like ginger, are not an issue.  Mushrooms and Vitamin D (off the top of my head) are some things that the had flagged as dialing down or out.

Here is a link to MSK Page on herbs

Really cool things in there including potential uses, efficacy, contraindications with chemo, etc.  A lot of it is open, but MSK is good about alternative treatments.  They even offer accunpuncture.   

Like abrub, I am being treated at MSK.  One of the things I like is that they are open minded on things.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6220
Joined: Feb 2009

My oncologist wouldn't let me take much of anything unless it was approved and it was limited to a daily vitimain and my prescriptions.  I'd consult your doctor but their is such a division on pills it's hard to say. 

Kim

betula's picture
betula
Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2017

My husband has just started going to the Intergrative Health Center which is a part of his cancer hosptial because he is having so much trouble with his Folfiri treatments.  He sees a D.O. whose goal is to support the good cells while chemo is killing both good and bad.  He comes from a more Eastern Medicin philosophy.  

So my husband started accupunture this week which is to help with his stress, digestive issues and side effects from chemo.  He recommends any supplements being in their most natural state such as tumeric, etc.  I just started making ginger tea from the actual root to try and help with his cramps and nausea.  The main thing the doctor recommend in terms of supplements was Turkey Tail mushroom.  There is a lot of research on its benefits.  I just ordered and recieved it this week.  Comes in pill form or liquid but I got the liquid to add to drinks.  He is also taking a really good probiotic.

It was so nice to talk to a medical professional who can offer information about supplements, nutrition and alternatives because while our oncologist is very good, he certainly has not offered this information!

 

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1108
Joined: Feb 2015

Ginger works nicely for me.  Ginger snaps are back to a go-to food on bad days.  I used Turkey Tail and other mushrooms.  Unfortunately it did work at all.  FYI many of these items can affect bloodwork, so make sure you keep your oncolotgist up to date on all these items - even though the Intergrative Health is part of the hospital, never hurts to make sure information is all up to date with something like supplements.  For instance, though probiotics (and other items) can help with things, they also could have issues.  The Dana Faber Article below about probiotics gives an example about issues.  (I like accunpuncture, supplements, yoga/mind/body connection and how exercise and reduction of stress can help, etc.  More just pointing out a couple of things to keep in mind, especially is somehow blood work is affected.  For instance if liver panels are off it could be the chemo or could be the mushrooms.  So if it comes back wonky, it may just be the mushrooms and not the chemo, but the oncologist may miss it.  Etc.)

Dana Faber Article 

Another randomized trial, conducted with 150 patients, found that patients who underwent chemotherapy and received probiotics experienced significantly less grade three and four diarrhea and also required fewer hospitalizations and dose reductions due to bowel toxicity. However, this group also had a higher number of neutropenic complications — meaning a lower-than-normal number of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, in the blood. This can result in an infection.

 

Also note this from MSK Website for contraindications for certain type of probiotics (central venous catheter = port)

 

Patients who are immunocompromised, or have a central venous catheter or critically ill should not take probiotics containing S. boulardii (42).

Probiotics should not be given to newborns with very low birth weight, clinical instability, umbilical catheters, and to those with congenital abnormalities or stage III asphyxia (43).

 

tanstaafl's picture
tanstaafl
Posts: 1292
Joined: Oct 2010

We've used a lot of things in substantial doses with 5FU as co adjuncts with good uses, without oxi- or irinotecan.   Regular doctors simply aren't going to be uptodate and complete, or stick their necks out on supplements.   A few things may actually conflict with oxi- and iri.   There used to be a disussion about whether curcumin conflicted with iri- but I am not sure where that discussion finally finished - we didnt need iri-.  Supplements are fairly easy to make life more comfortable, improve white blood cells some, but seriously improving cancer kill requires more effort.

I would find a non-hospital group that specializes in supplements added to chemo, perhaps some of the oncology specializing NDs that are most into biochemistry. 

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1108
Joined: Feb 2015

I know in the past you mentioned some advanced blood tests you have done - for some reason I cannot find a post regarding those now - and I was starting to look into them but lost that information (which test.)  The tests show both chemo and supplement possibilities?  I want to keep pursuing everthing.  (Mine came back inoperable a year ago - paraarotic lymph nodes and other nodes plus throughout lungs)

Butt's picture
Butt
Posts: 318
Joined: May 2018

i was told no any supplements during Chemo because they can decrease the effect. Multivitamin is fine. Vitamin D was advised. My D levels was always normal.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6220
Joined: Feb 2009

My D levels, after the fact, were found to be low, however my CEA was normal.  Sometimes I'm wondering if these tests are really a good indicator or not.  But you are right, they said no supplements during treatment.

Kim

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