1 (edited by saracita Thu, 15 Jan 2009 09:00:09)

Topic: Herbs and supplements interfere with Chemotherapy/Radiation?

Dear all,

I am researching lots of different alternative healing methods, including herbs, supplements, etc. John's cancer is localized to the liver. From the doctor who will perform John's (jur777) chemoembolization Tuesday of next week, we really got no definitive answers about what supplements may complicate the work the chemo does. We heard only to stay away from things that are toxic to the liver. He did tell us to be aggressive and try what we could.

Do any of you have any information about Vitamin C supplements in particular? I have read that they can both help and detract from the efficacy of chemo. Dr. Geschwind at Johns Hopkins didn't have an opinion on the subject.

I have heard that others of you are taking beet root extract, maitake mushroom extract, Flor-essence (Essiac Tea), IP-6 with Inositol, Milk Thistle, Selenium, CoQ10, and Fish Oils-- among other things. Do you have any knowledge about how these supplements react with chemo in the body? Do they simply go about their business, or in fact make the chemo less effective?

John is taking maitake, beet root extract, milk thistle, and fish oils... and we are really wanting to take advantage of all potential natural helpers out there, but certainly don't want to do any harm as he begins treatment.

I know these are probably questions I should pose to a professional, but I don't really know who I should be in touch with... an alternative medicine doctor, a nutritionist? It is frustrating that the world of western medicine often times debunks and/or cannot understand another world of medicine. 

Well anyway, thanks for any responses or knowledge passed along,
Sincerely,
Saracita

Re: Herbs and supplements interfere with Chemotherapy/Radiation?

saracita......
This is a great subject for which I have not been able to find any answers.  Supplements are not regulated therefore, I doubt that any studies have been conducted in re: to supplements and possible drug interactions while undergoing chemotherapy. 
We increased Vitamin C during the time my husband was undergoing chemotherapy with FOLFOX but I will never know as to whether it had a positive effect.  We did however, use all the supplements mentioned by you prior to the application of chemotherapy. I agree with you for that there is so little research going in to herbal supplements of course, considering that they cannot be patented and most drug research is conducted by Pharmaceutical companies, the answer is quite clear as to why such studies are non-existent. 
Hopefully, others have some answers to your great questions.
Good wishes coming your way,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: Herbs and supplements interfere with Chemotherapy/Radiation?

Saracita,
    I honestly don't think any of the things you listed will interfere with chemo and will actually help as far as the liver is concerned.My original research about what Tom should take  was with optimum liver health in mind. He had a LOT of radiation and needed a lot of healing and I really believe the things you listed helped him. Beet root is the only product I have ever seen that lists bile duct health as a benefit. Maitake mushroom extract is used all over ASia during chemo to help counter the side effects of chemo and boost the immune system.Milk thistle has been used for centuries as a liver tonic and has been proven to be beneficial to liver health.Fish oil is full of Omega 3 which is good for liver health and the circulatory system. Diet is also very important during treatment and after. There is a lot of info on here re: different diets. Tom has been drinking carrot juice and a lot of green tea. We eat a lot of fresh pineapple( it has a very specific ingredient that is very good for the liver), broccoli, spinach, bright colored fruits and veggies. They say the brighter the color the better it is for you! I would like to get him to eat garlic but he won't and I try to add avacados to salads etc because they are great for liver health-also artichokes but we don't eat those.He doesn't eat much dairy, very little meat but probably too much sugar these days. We were a lot better about avoiding sugar early on. I do avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup.
     As I told Tess earlier this week a little over a year ago my sister in law was undergoing chemo and having to miss treatments because her bloodwork was always out of whack, ecspecially her protein levels due to kidney problems. She started taking all of the things above that Tom takes and within 2 weeks her bloodwork was the best it had ever been. They were upset with her for taking all of theses things but when she pointed out the fact that her bloodwork was greatly improved they didn't know what to say!!
      I hope this helps and we're all rooting for John to have success with his treatments. I can't believe all of the young people being afflicted with this cancer lately It is very sad. Take care of John and yourself!  Mary

Re: Herbs and supplements interfere with Chemotherapy/Radiation?

Saracita, I can tell you a little about Vitamin C. To get full value you need to go to a Naturopathic doctor and receive Vitamin C intravenously. My daughter's fiance has Lymphoma and went thru Chemo. Before the chemo he started working with a Nat. Doc. and did the Vitamin C route among other things. He had NO side effects at all from the chemo and is now in remission.   HE has met a lot of people in her office and there certainly is something to say for going this route.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Herbs and supplements interfere with Chemotherapy/Radiation?

Its so nice to hear everyone talk so highly of taking herbal medication. My mom has been getting wiped out from all the chemo, and its not even doing anything to shrink the tumor! I think I have finally convinced her to at least check out a clinic in Blue Ash, OH (which is near where we live) that does the vitamin c intravenously. I really hope we go because I can't stand to see her lose another pound, and cry all day on the 4th, 5th and 6th day after her chemo treatment! Its time to play offense!