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Cancer support protocol

The nutraceuticals discussed in this protocol may benefit cancer patients. Once remission is achieved, preventing reoccurrence and secondary cancers becomes a lifetime commitment. Unfortunately not many doctors aggressively seek to prevent reoccurrence once the primary disease seems to have been eliminated.

Take note: There is however some controversy as to whether cancer patients should be taking antioxidant supplements at the same time that cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs and/or radiation treatments are being administered.

There are various studies showing that antioxidant supplements may protect healthy cells from the damaging effects of cancer treatment. Those who argue against antioxidant supplementation during cancer treatment are concerned that antioxidants will protect the cancer cells against destruction.

Until the benefits of taking antioxidants during cancer treatment are proven to outweigh the risks of them interfering with the treatment’s anti-cancer effects, it is prudent to discuss any supplementation with your doctor first.

Should your doctor agree to antioxidant therapy:

Continue taking the antioxidant supplements recommended in this protocol before, during, and after the treatment is administered. The risk is that these antioxidants could interfere with the cell-killing effects of the cancer treatment.

Should your doctor be against antioxidant therapy:

Discontinue all antioxidant supplements two weeks prior to the initiation of treatment, until 2-3 weeks after the last treatment session. The risk in depleting your body of antioxidants is that healthy cells will not be as well protected against the effects of treatment.

RADIATION

Radiation therapy may change nutritional needs and the body’s absorption and use of food (Brown JK et al. 2003). Common cancer symptoms and toxic effects of radiation treatment include fatigue, anorexia, weight change, nausea, vomiting, pain, and changes in taste and bowel habits (Brown JK et al. 2003). Careful, sensible use of the supplements outlined here may be helpful in improving the outcome of radiation therapy.

Folic Acid, and Methylcobalamin B12:

Cancer patients with low haemoglobin levels do not respond as well to radiotherapy as nonanaemic patients (Ludwig H et al. 2001) due to the impairment of oxygen transport (Dunst J 2004). Treatment results may be improved by correcting anaemia (low haemoglobin levels) (Grogan M et al. 1999).

Glutamine:

9g glutamine three times daily decreases the toxicity of radiation therapy (Klimberg VS et al. 1992; Rouse K et al. 1995).  Oral glutamine supplementation may enhance radiation therapy by protecting normal tissues from (and sensitizing tumour cells to) radiation damage (Savarese DM et al. 2003).

Whey Protein Concentrate:

Radiation therapy is known to cause immunosuppression (Wara WM et al. 1979). The amino acids present in whey may stimulate immunity, and detoxify potential carcinogens (Bounous G 2000). Glutathione stimulation is thought to be whey’s primary immune-modulating mechanism (Marshall K 2004).

Green Tea Extract (EGCG):

Five 300mg capsules three times a day may increase the efficacy of radiation therapy by decreasing the activity of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) (Lee YK et al. 2004). VEGF acts as a crucial survival factor for tumour cells (Ferrara N 2005).

Curcumin:

Up to 2000mg three times daily has a natural antiproliferative effect for many types of tumours. Curcumin can sensitize cells to the ionizing effects of radiation (Khafif A et al. 2005).

Double Vitamin C, Full Spectrum Vitamin E and Melatonin:

May help protect normal cells from the increased damage and side effects caused by radiation therapy (Lamson DW et al. 1999).  It has been shown that levels of antioxidants are decreased in cancer patients in response to radiation therapy (Sabitha KE et al. 1999). Supplementation with dietary antioxidants may improve the efficacy of radiation therapy by increasing tumour response and decreasing radiation toxicity on normal cells (Prasad KN et al. 2002) and enhancing the immune response (Kiremidjian-Schumacher L et al. 2000; Malmberg KJ et al. 2002; Prasad KN et al. 2002). * PLEASE SEE NOTE ON ANTIOXIDANTS

Super Mega B:

Supplementation with B vitamins during radiation appears to help reduce nausea and vomiting (vitamin B6, B1, folic acid), correct the vitamin B12 deficiency that is often associated with radiation therapy and helps reduce radiation side effects in general.

High potassium, low sodium diet:

For the duration of radiation therapy. In animal studies this diet was shown to protect against the lethal effects of ionizing radiation. Although trials have not been done on humans, patients have nothing to lose by following this diet because it is healthy and will not interfere with the outcome of radiation therapy.

CHEMOTHERAPY

Whey Protein Concentrate:

Selectively depletes cancer cells of their glutathione, making them more susceptible to cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy (Bounous 2000; Tsai et al. 2000). Chemotherapy patients should consider taking 30-60g a day in divided doses, at least 10 days before beginning chemotherapy, during chemotherapy, and continuing at least 30 days after chemotherapy is completed.

Glutamine:

Stabilizes weight loss by preserving intestinal function and allowing better nutrient absorption. Glutamine prolongs survival by slowing down catabolic wasting (weight loss, low muscle mass and loss of body fat). 9g three times daily reduces the severity of chemotherapy side effects (Gaby, 2011)

Fish Oil Extract Omega-3:

4000mg per day of fish oil may enhance the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy drugs. Studies have shown that supplementation with omega-3 fats also reverse weight loss (a.k.a cachexia) in cancer patients (Burns et al., 2004; Barber et al., 2001; Persson et al., 2005; Wigmore et al., 1997; Wigmore et al., 2000). Weight loss in cancer patients has been correlated with increased cancer progression and mortality.

Melatonin:

3-50mg at bedtime protects against chemotherapyinduced immunosuppression. Melatonin reduces the toxicity of chemotherapy and inhibits free-radical production (Lissoni et al. 1999). Melatonin use during chemotherapy may prevent some chemotherapy-induced side effects (particularly neuropathy) increase survival times, tumour response rates and quality of life in many types of cancer (Lissoni et al. 1992). Melatonin also protects and restores normal blood-cell production caused by the toxicity of chemotherapy.

Silibinin:

Up to 1000mg a day inhibits the growth of various cancer cell lines. Silibinin acts synergistically with cisplatin and doxorubicin, common chemotherapeutic drugs, improving their efficacy. Silibinin appears to make tumour cells more sensitive to chemotherapy. Also, the harsh side effects associated with cytotoxic chemicals are less damaging when silibinin is used (Bokemeyer et al. 1996).

Acetyl-L-Carnitine:

Chemotherapy causes a deficiency in Acetyl-L-Carnitine so it is important to supplement with 1000mg per day during and/or after chemotherapy. In addition to relieving stress, Acetyl-L-Carnitine decreases chemotherapy-related fatigue (Cruciani et al., 2006; Gramignano et al., 2006; Graziano et al., 2002)

Vitamin K2:

Daily for at least four weeks after chemotherapy. High-dose chemotherapy causes a vitamin K deficiency by interfering with intestinal absorption and hepatic metabolism of vitamin K (Gaby, 2011).

SAMe:

May help to prevent the liver toxicity associated with the drugs used in chemotherapy.

Vitamin D3:

90% of South Africans tested at the IMC were found to have suboptimal levels of vitamin D in their blood. Studies show that with vitamin D3 supplementation, 6000 cases of cancer could have been avoided. Research also indicates that vitamin D3 has anti-tumour effects and decreases the incidence of multiple cancers (Gaby, 2011). Vitamin D3 is also great for supporting immune function.

Full Spectrum Vitamin E, Co-Enzyme Q10, Ginkgo Biloba Extract and Vitamin C

All these have been shown to specifically protect against chemotherapy-induced heart muscle damage (Tajima 1984; Mortensen et al. 1986; Iarussi et al. 1994; De Flora et al. 1996; D’Agostini et al. 1998; Schmidinger et al. 2000; Agha et al. 2001; Prasad et al. 2001; Blasiak et al. 2002). Other antioxidants have been shown to help protect the kidneys, bone marrow, and the immune system against chemotherapy toxicity. * PLEASE SEE NOTE ON ANTIOXIDANTS

DIET AND FURTHER SUGGESTIONS

Some researchers have suggested a low-fat and high-fibre (25 to 30g from vegetables and fruits) diet be consumed during and after cancer treatment (Boyd NF et al. 1997). Such a diet can interfere with tumor growth by reducing tumour-stimulating signals (Rao CV et al. 1993). Lifestyle changes that should be encouraged include quitting smoking, reducing consumption of caffeine and alcoholic beverages, exercising daily and reducing stress levels (Prasad KN et al. 1999).

Ginger has been shown effective in reducing nausea symptoms (Keating et al. 2002).

EGCG:

Mayo Clinic researchers showed that 5-10 cups of green tea consumption a day inhibited cancer growth (Paschka et al. 1998). They identified the green tea polyphenol EGCG as the most potent inhibitor of cancer cell proliferation. Japanese researchers pinpointed the types of cancer most responsive to green tea (breast, oesophageal, liver, lung, skin, and stomach) by surveying cancer-free individuals who consumed 4-6 cups of green tea a day.

Resveratrol:

Effective against cancer during all three phases of the cancer process: initiation, promotion, and progression. Resveratrol displayed anti-mutagenic and antioxidant activity, providing greater protection against DNA damage than vitamins C, E, or beta-carotene. Resveratrol restored glutathione levels, considered by some as the most essential of antioxidants (Jang et al. 1999). It increased levels of a Phase II detoxifying enzyme, an enzyme responsible for metabolically breaking down carcinogens. Since inflammation is closely linked to tumour promotion, substances with potent anti-inflammatory activities are thought to exert chemopreventive effects, particularly in the promotion stage of the disease.

I3Complex :

Contains the following active ingredients:

  • Extracts from cruciferous vegetables (e.g. brussel sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli) which facilitate excretion of cancer promoting toxins (hormone metabolites).
  • The antioxidants and herbal extracts contained in I3 Complex enhance immune function (thereby helping the immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells), decrease side effects of chemotherapy and inhibit the growth of cancer cells (Hu et al., 1997 ; Lockwood et al., 1995; Rusciani, 2007; Jancin, 2002; Gaby, 2011)

Alpha Lipoic Acid :

Suggested dosage for healthy individuals is from 150-300 mg a day whereas degenerative diseases usually require larger dosages (sometimes as much as 500mg 3 times a day).

Treatment-related effects Nutritional supplement References
Diarrhoea, neuropathy, heart complications, mucositis Glutamine Daniele B et al 2001; Savarese DM et al 2003
Mucositis, fibrosis, cardiovascular complications Antioxidants Borek C 2004; Wattanapitayakul SK et al 2005
Mucositis, anemia, cardiovascular complications Melatonin Majsterek I et al 2005; Ahmed HH et al 2005; Balli E et al 2004
Radiation-induced cell damage Vitamin A Levitsky J et al 2003; Vorotnikova E et al 2004
Neuropathy (nerve damage) Vitamin E Argyriou AA et al 2005; Pace A et al 2003
Nausea and vomiting Ginger Boon H et al 2004; Sharma SS et al 1998; Manusirivithaya S et al 2004
Nephrotoxicity (kidney damage) Silibinin Bokemeyer C et al 1996
Diarrhea Probiotic Mori K et al 2003; Taixiang W et al 2005
Heart damage Co-Enzyme Q10 Portakal O et al 2000; Bandy B et al 1990; Iarussi D et al 1994
 
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