There’s no proof they can stop your condition from getting worse or coming back. But there’s some early research showing they may help.
Keep in mind that “too much of a good thing” can be true even with natural supplements. They can interfere with your treatment. So you should talk to your oncologist, a doctor who specializes in cancers like multiple myeloma, before taking them. They can make a recommendation based on your treatment plan and overall health. Here are some supplements that may help:
Turmeric is a tropical herb in the ginger family and a main ingredient in curry powder. The most active substance in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.
Some early research suggests it might inhibit the spread of multiple myeloma cells and improve quality of life for those who have it. But more studies are needed.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Few studies: Research involving turmeric and humans with multiple myeloma is in its infancy. More is needed to determine its safety and potential effectiveness.
- Unclear results: There are no clear scientific conclusions about its benefits.
- Dosing: There’s no established optimal dose.
- Risks: Products may have different compositions or contain other substances. Curcumin can interfere with some chemotherapy drugs and other treatments.
Another important thing to consider is that curcumin is water soluble. It’s vulnerable to stomach acids and difficult for the body to absorb. When you take oral curcumin, not much reaches your bloodstream. The liposomal form of curcumin is over 200 times more absorptive. Liposomal form means the substance is contained in tiny, fat-like particles rather than traditional pills or capsules.
Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that may have antitumor effects. There’s some research to suggest that vitamin K2 may be helpful for those who are not good candidates for chemotherapy. But this has not been proven and more research is needed.
Some studies suggest large doses of vitamin C, given to you intravenously, may lead to fewer side effects and a higher quality of life with multiple myeloma. More research is needed, but some results so far are promising. But it’s best not to take large doses of vitamin C unless your doctor advises it.
Multiple myeloma treatment sometimes involves long-term use of steroids, which can affect your bone health. Your doctor may recommend that you take vitamin D and calcium supplements to keep your bones as healthy as possible.
Based on in vitro studies and clinical trials, there’s some evidence that supplemental vitamin D can boost the immune system of people with multiple myeloma, especially when combined with certain chemotherapy agents. No dosage has been established, though.
What to Know About Dietary Supplements
Supplements can be helpful, if you don’t get enough nutrients through your diet. But dietary supplements can have some risks, especially when you’re in treatment for cancer. Supplements may interfere with:
It’s important to note that the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements the same way it regulates foods and drugs. It has authority to act against “adulterated or misbranded” supplements already on the market. However, supplements don’t need FDA approval before they enter the market.
Avoid any products that claim to prevent or cure cancer.
Points to Discuss With Your Doctor
Potential benefits of dietary supplements aren’t the same for everyone and may depend on factors such as:
- Specifics of your cancer
- Overall diet
- Age and other health conditions
That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking dietary supplements. Here are some topics you might want to discuss:
- All your medicines and supplements, whether prescription or over the counter
- Current and upcoming treatments
- Safe dosage and most effective way to take it
- Potential side effects
This will help your doctor make the best recommendations for you. If you get the go-ahead, ask them for the best sources for your supplements. They can also let you know what ingredients to look for. But don’t take more than the recommended dose. And let your doctor know about any changes to your regimen.