Topic: Supplements with Chemo?

After my brother was diagnosed, we did some research on foods and supplements with anti-cancer properties.  The Sloan-Kettering website has a great on-line glossary.

His doctors were OK with most of the diet changes (although they were skeptical of the benefit).  They suggested that he NOT take ANY supplements during chemo.  As a compromise, my brother has only been taking his supplements during his off-weeks from chemo.

He is taking Ave Ultra, Essaic tea, mushroom extracts, citrus pectin and turmeric (circumin) and quercetin.   So far he has had very few side effects from his chemo and got a 25% reduction in the area of the tumor, just from the first round.

I have seen some doctors on-line that say that it is actaully better to take supplements during chemo when they are most effective and may also reduce side effects.

Does anyone have any experience with this issue?

Re: Supplements with Chemo?

Why did you decide on those supplements?  My brother has CC, diagnosed in November 2009 and is currently undergoing chemo with gemcitabine and oxaliplatin.  I've been looking through the medical literature without coming out with a definitive answer. Thanks so much

Re: Supplements with Chemo?

I have been taking a boatload of supplements for the six years that I've been living with this disease. I haven't had chemo, but I did have seven weeks of radiation for a recurrence three years ago, and after considering both sides of the issue, I decided to continue with my supplements during treatment. The radiation shrank the tumors and they have been stable ever since. To my way of thinking, the supplements support the treatment.

Along with a super-potency multivitamin, I take extra vitamin C, E, calcium, potassium, selenium, and chromium, also ginseng, garlic, milk thistle, COQ10, turmeric, IP6,  high-dose melatonin and a daily green drink.

It's really a judgment call, and you need to consider not only doctors' opinions but what makes sense to YOU.

Best wishes,


Peace, hope, and healing to all!

Re: Supplements with Chemo?

My dad has bile duct and gall bladder cancer.  He had surgery and his scans showed his liver was clear.  He went through radiation along with xeloda (he had to stop the xeloda after two weeks -- he couldn't tolerate it).  After radiation, he went through 12 weeks of gemzar.  He was off chemo for three months and then went in for an MRI. The MRI showed something in his liver.  He had a PET scan and a biopsy.  The cancer had spread to his liver and is inoperable.  I specifically asked about supplements and they told us absolutely not.  He is supposed to start next week on cisplatin with potential side effects on the hearing and kidneys.  They said some people think taking vitamin C is helpful, but since it is filtered by the kidneys, it can make side effects worse.  Same thing with St. John's Wort.  The only place I have found that believes in using supplements is 7 hours away.  We have the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Center and UH's Ireland Cancer Center in our backyard, but neither place seems to take a holistic approach.  Can any one help?

Re: Supplements with Chemo?

Hi again! We just picked up the "Anti Cancer" book. Very informative on natural ways to try and combat cancer. If you don't want to do the vitamin thing, and everyone simply cannot take that, there are some good suggestions in the book. Its also been recommended many times on our site. Thanks for the note about Vitamin C and the kidneys. Never had heard that before. I sometimes think if all the vitamins and herbs were that beneficial more doctors would order them. My doctor has Teddy & me taking Vitamin D, 5,000 mg. He is also big on Fish Oil. For Teddy, our ONC gives him a B12 shot monthly. That's really about it for us for RX.  Oh, they all heavily believe in Green Tea.


Re: Supplements with Chemo?

Hi All,

We came up with the list of supplements for my brother from two different nurtritionists and lots of on-line research.  The Sloan-kettering site seems to give a very scientific and relatively unbiased view of hundreds of alternative remedies and supplements.  I did forget that he is also taking milk thistle.

I set up a free yahoo group which contains the files that I have and some helpful links.  The address for that site is:

Thanks for all the helpful info.