Everyone has heard that cancer patients are routinely told not to take supplements by their doctors. However, there is substantial evidence to show that supplementing with good quality multivitamin and mineral and anti-oxidant supplements can significantly increase one’s chance of surviving cancer.
Dr. Patrick Quillin, former Director of Nutrition for the American Centres for Cancer, states in his book ‘Beating Cancer with Nutrition’ that ±40% of all cancer patients die from malnutrition. Simply put, they are so ill from the treatments that they don’t eat and literally starve to death. Anyone who has the misfortune to watch a loved one or close friend will know how heartbreaking it is to watch them wasting away.
My question is this – if the body is not supplied with sufficient nutrients how can it possibly fight back? It’s like expecting your car to go without any fuel in the tank, it’s not logical. Yet this is what many doctors expect for their patients! According to Dr Fatma Abdulla, a leading cancer researcher and lecturer, there is no scientific basis for telling patients not to take supplements, provided they are sourced from organic, whole food sources. Synthetically derived nutrients provide little or no benefit and are simply a waste of money, as borne out by the following quotes from some of the world’s greatest scientists.
Dr Lester Packer, world authority on antioxidants, is quoted as saying that synthetic Vitamin E has an immediate 36% loss in the body.
Dr Arthur Furst, recognized in his lifetime as one of the world’s greatest toxicologists, cancer and nutritional researchers, said that synthetic amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are not recognized by the body and have a100% wastage.
Dr Linus Pauling, Noble prize winner (twice) and one of the greatest chemists of all time, maintained that synthetic ascorbic acid was 50% less effective when compared to natural Vitamin C. Put another way, natural Vitamin C is 100% more effective than synthetic ascorbic acid.
So taking good quality, organic supplements would seem to be a sensible thing to do for anyone suffering from cancer. This is backed up by a number of studies that have been published in the last few years.
However, before looking at these studies let’s just remind ourselves that cancer is a multi-billion dollar business worldwide. Tens of thousands of people make their living from cancer, in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. It’s an industry that doesn’t take kindly to anyone who promotes anything other than the recognized medical opinion, which is that conventional treatments (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) are the only ways to treat cancer. Anyone who dares to suggest that anything other than these treatments can be beneficial is ridiculed and decried, even to the point of banning them from practicing medicine. This is why there is a continuous attack on the supplement industry and why, so often, studies are published claiming that supplementation doesn’t work and, in extreme cases, is actually harmful. A close analysis of these studies shows that they are generally funded by the pharmaceutical industry and done using synthetic nutrients, many made from petrochemical sources. A good example of this was a study done some years ago which concluded that smokers who took beta carotene had a higher risk of getting lung cancer compared to smokers who didn’t take beta carotene. It made world headlines! What most failed to notice is that the researchers gave the smokers synthetic beta carotene, which had little or no benefit.
That said, let’s get back to looking at studies that show that supplementing with multi-vitamins/minerals and antioxidants can help cancer sufferers. Here are some recent studies that confirm that this is actually the case.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Cancer showed that Vitamin D plays a beneficial role in helping cancer patients.1 Quoting from the study “Numerous epidemiological and preclinical studies support a role of vitamin D compounds in cancer prevention and treatment in colorectal, breast, prostate, ovarian, bladder, lung and skin cancers and leukemia.”
A 2007 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine2 concluded that: “Since the 1970s, 280 peer-reviewed in vitro and in vivo studies, including 50 human studies involving 8,521 patients, 5,081 of whom were given nutrients, have consistently shown that non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with therapeutic modalities for cancer. Furthermore, they enhance the killing of therapeutic modalities for cancer, decrease their side effects, and protect normal tissue. In 15 human studies, 3,738 patients who took non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients actually had increased survival.”
A 1999 study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition3 entitled ‘High doses of multiple antioxidant vitamins: essential ingredients in improving the efficacy of standard cancer therapy.’ concluded that “multiple antioxidant vitamin supplements together with diet and lifestyle modifications may improve the efficacy of standard and experimental cancer therapies”.
In an article by Dr Walter Lemmo, founder of one of Canada’s leading cancer clinics, he states that he found 23 studies showing the effectiveness of Vitamin C in enhancing chemotherapy.4 He also records how, that in one study that showed that Vitamin C was contra-indicative, the researchers used an obscure, synthetic form of Vitamin C – dehydroascorbic acid.
What is interesting is that, in almost all cases, researchers state that eating a diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, is essential for cancer patients. If we consider that supplements made from organic, whole-foods are essentially concentrated foods, what possible basis can there be for saying that cancer patients shouldn’t take them? The bottom line is that cancer patients need all the help they can get to survive the disease and the conventional treatment. Supplementation can make all the difference between life and death! So if you’re undergoing treatment, in the form of chemotherapy and/or radiation, make sure that you follow a healthy diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low in processed foods, chemicals and preservatives and find a source of organic, whole-food supplements. Remember, as well, that for cancer to thrive three things are necessary:
1) Cancers need an acidic environment. Avoid anything that will increase your body’s acid levels.
2) Cancers need an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment. Increasing the oxygen content of the blood is essential.
3) Cancers need food, specifically sugars. Cutting down, preferably eliminating, all sources of sugar from the diet will slow down the rate of cancer growth.
1 Vitamin D in combination cancer treatment: Yingyu Ma, Donald L. Trump and Candace S. Johnson
2 Antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation therapy and can increase kill and increase survival., Simone NL, Simone V, Simone CB.
3 High doses of multiple antioxidant vitamins: essential ingredients in improving the efficacy of standard cancer therapy. Prasad KN, Kumar A, Kochupillai V, Cole WC.