Conventional cancer treatments, while capable of saving people’s lives, can also zap the human body of crucial vitamins and minerals. When patients go through chemotherapy and radiation, for example, they may feel lethargic, have brittle hair and nails, and find that they cannot fight off colds and infections very well.
Rather than take chances on their bodies being able to resist viruses and bacteria or submit to feeling tired and physically drained until their treatments are done, most may be able to reclaim their energy and immune support by taking supplements in conjunction with alternative or conventional cancer treatments.
Before a patient takes any vitamins or supplements, they should consult their doctors to make sure that any product that they take will not interfere with their treatment. However, studies have noted that antioxidants, particularly those that contain Vitamins A, C, and E are effective in fighting free radicals in the body and repairing some of the damage that these free radicals have inflicted on a person’s DNA.
Likewise, chemotherapy and radiation are well known to deplete a person’s iron level and leave that individual feeling lethargic and sick. People whose blood iron levels are found to be very low during cancer treatment may be advised to take an iron supplement or a multi-vitamin that contains 100 percent of the daily recommended dose of iron. They should take their iron supplement with fruit juice, as the Vitamin C in juice will bind with the iron in the supplement and help transmit it throughout one’s body better.
People who go through cancer treatments look forward to recovering from their illness. When they feel drained of energy, have low blood iron, or have other signs of nutritional deficiencies like brittle hair and nails, they may recoup some of their former physical characteristics by taking a supplement.
Does Vitamin D offer hope for alternative cancer therapy? A new study in the journal Clinical Cancer Research suggests low blood levels of this vitamin may be linked to more aggressive, advanced cases of prostate cancer in men.
What we do know…
Vitamin D effects how cells develop and grow, regulating the differentiation of cells as they change from stem to adult cells, and regulating the growth rate of normal and cancer cells. The skin makes it when exposed to sunlight, however Vitamin D levels are known to decline with age, in certain seasons and climates, and in individuals with darker skin, which naturally blocks sunlight.
What we don’t know…
Researches haven’t yet proved a cause-and-effect relationship, and don’t yet understand how Vitamin D comes into play. They are also unsure if taking extra might reduce prostate cancer risks and offer natural cancer treatment and prevention.
What the study shows:
Among the 667 Chicago men ages 40-79 studied with abnormal prostate screenings, the majority were found to be Vitamin D deficient. In addition, among those testing positive for cancer, those with very low levels were at greater risk of advanced, aggressive varieties. In addition, black men were more likely to be diagnosed.
What about Vitamin D’s relationship to cancer?
At this point, scientists only know that the rate of prostate cell growth (in a petri dish) slows when Vitamin D is added to the mix. They are now theorizing that too little of this vitamin may cause cell growth to go awry, leading to cancer.
Researchers admit larger, more extensive studies are necessary to examine the possible connection and address the many unanswered questions prompted by the research.
Cytokines are protein molecules that help cells communicate with each other and have the power to enhance or suppress the body’s immune system. When infected or damaged cells are detected, cytokines work together to attack harmful and cancerous cells. But cytokines can also call in reinforcements, signaling other immune system cells to join the attack.
Cytokines function as the immune system’s communication network. When that network is disrupted, the body’s cells are not longer able to communicate with each other to coordinate their attack on rogue cells. Without impediments, cancer cells can multiply and migrate without restriction. Issels Integrative Oncology’s program of integrative immune therapy restores and supports the health of your body’s cytokines — and thus your immune system — through alternative cancer therapies and cancer vaccines.
Cytokines fight or control cancer in a number of ways. They can interrupt pathways that contribute to uncontrolled growth of cancer cells and prevent cancer from metastasizing and spreading to other parts of the body. By binding to cancer cells, cytokines identify rogue cells and attract other immune system cells to attack them. In addition to augmenting the killing action of immune cells, cytokines aid in the repair of cells damaged by radiation or chemotherapy.
It seems absurd that something as innocuous as taking a daily walk could decrease your risk of cancer, as well as a host of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. But, as we noted in our previous post, researchers are finding that regular exercise could be the “magic pill” that saves us from a host of ills, including cancer. Exercise promotes a healthy immune system, improving your body’s ability to fight off cancer; but it is the link between exercise and obesity reductions that intrigues cancer researchers.
Affecting the health of more than a third of American adults, obesity adversely affects the body in several ways that can weaken its ability to fight off cancer and disease:
Obesity can change the way your body absorbs and uses energy from the food you eat, resulting in metabolic dysfunction.
Obesity can interfere with the process of cytokines, disrupting cell communication which can increase inflammation.
Obesity can also impact the body’s endocrine system, affecting production of certain hormones that can fuel cancer tumor growth.
As little as 30 to 60 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate-intensity exercise a day can be enough to promote weight loss, help maintain a healthy body weight, protect you from the deleterious effects of obesity and reduce your cancer risk. (Tip: at moderate intensity you should be able to talk but not sing.) If you don’t have the time or stamina for a 30-minute workout, experts say you can derive the same obesity-fighting, cancer-prevention benefits from several 10-minute workouts. Cumulative exercise time and exercise intensity are what matter.
Nearly a quarter of a million men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. For 30 million of those men that diagnosis will prove fatal. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. But big numbers make it hard to assimilate the risk, so let’s break it down:
If you are an American man, your risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer is 1 in 6 and your risk of dying from prostate cancer is 1 in 36. But if you are obese, your risk of death goes up dramatically.
“It is absolutely clear that obesity increases a man’s risk of dying from prostate cancer,” said Dr. Andrew Rundle, associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City in an interview with NBCNews.com.
Obesity increased the risk of prostate cancer diagnosis by 57%; however, Dr. Rundle said further research is needed to determine if prostate cancer causes cancer or makes it more difficult to treat. Obesity is known to have a direct causal relationship to five cancers: post-menopausal breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, esophageal cancer and endometrial cancer.