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Supplements for Cancer: Antioxidants continued...

Some experts worry that the use of antioxidants during radiation therapy and chemotherapy might serve to protect the very cancer cells that are being targeted. A 2008 study in Cancer Research showed that vitamin C supplements blunted the effectiveness of chemotherapy by 30% to 70%.

Although more research needs to be done, there is data to suggest that antioxidant supplements may improve quality of life for some cancer patients. For example, the combined use of antioxidants in green tea, melatonin, and multivitamins containing high doses of vitamins C and E was shown to reduce pain and fatigue in patients being treated for pancreatic cancer.

In the meantime, there’s no doubt that a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, has numerous health benefits.

Be sure to talk with your cancer treatment team before taking antioxidant supplements when you have cancer.

2. Coping with Treatment Side Effects When You Have Cancer

People with cancer often turn to vitamins and supplements to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment: Nausea from chemotherapy, nerve pain, or debilitating fatigue.

Keep in mind, there are hundreds of chemotherapy drugs. The vitamins and supplements that may help you will depend on your specific treatment.

To optimize your health and reduce the risk of dangerous interactions, don’t take supplements for side effects without talking with your cancer treatment team. Your cancer doctors can help you develop a comprehensive treatment.

Supplements for Cancer: Ginger

Nausea and vomiting are two of the most common side effects of chemotherapy for cancer. These side effects can be serious. Nausea and vomiting can lead to weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and fatigue, which can make it harder for your body to fight cancer.

There are a number of anti-nausea medications available. But some patients with cancer also find that using ginger, either alone or in conjunction with anti-nausea medicine, significantly reduces nausea and vomiting.

The evidence is conflicting, but a recent study found that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who consumed a high protein drink with ginger twice a day during treatment reported significantly less nausea and were less likely to require traditional anti-nausea medications.

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