If you are taking or considering taking nutritional
or herbal supplements, your oncologist or radiation
oncologist might insist
that you don't. The rational for avoiding supplemental nutrients, in particular,
anti-oxidant nutrients, is that they will interfere with and reduce the
effectiveness chemotherapy and radiation.
This concern is largely based on the belief that chemotherapy and
radiation work by generating free radicals. Since anti-oxidants help
neutralize free radicals, we might have a potential conflict. It's
important to realize that only some chemotherapeutic agents work by this
mechanism. More importantly, the vast majority of research on the topic,
do not support this idea.
If we look at literally hundreds of cell culture,
animal and human studies on this subject, we find the the exact opposite
is true. Examining the entirety of mainstream medical and
scientific literature, there is an overwhelming and consistent finding;
anti-oxidants significantly increase the effectiveness and reduce the
toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation.
However, there are exceptions. As such it is essential to
seek the advice of an expert in integrative oncology before utilizing supplements while
undergoing conventional treatment for cancer.
To date 4 systemic reviews of the medical literature
have been published on the impact of antioxidants on chemotherapy and
radiation. All of these reviews have come to the same conclusion.
From Simone et al.:
280 peer reviewed in vitro & in
vivo studies including 50 human studies with ~8,500 patients. These
studies have consistently shown antioxidants do not interfere with
radiation and chemotherapy.
antioxidants reduce side effects of chemo & radiation and enhance
In 15 human studies
(~3,700 patients) antioxidants in combination with conventional
therapies increased survival.
Antioxidants in Cancer Therapy; Their
Actions and Interactions With Oncologic Therapies
Antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with chemotherapy or
radiation therapy and can increase kill and increase survival, Part 1
other nutrients do not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
and can increase kill and increase survival, Part 2
antioxidant supplementation of chemotherapeutic efficacy: A systemic
review of the evidence from randomized controlled trials