Radiation Therapy and Supplements

Patients undergoing radiation therapy frequently wonder if taking supplements will improve their response to cancer treatment.

But there is conflicting evidence and varying opinions among researchers as to which vitamins, minerals and herbs are helpful and harmful.

Central to the argument is whether the effects of radiation, which promotes oxidation and free-radical production in the process of destroying the tumor, are enhanced or inhibited by the use of antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, C, beta-carotene, and selenium.

Some researchers believe that providing antioxidants in large doses may interfere with the destruction of the tumor.

Others believe that antioxidants protect healthy cells from radiation while still targeting the cancerous cells.

Georgia Cancer Specialists nutritionists suggest a basic multivitamin that does not exceed 100% of the RDAs, as well as a balanced diet of lean meats, fish, poultry, dried beans, nuts and peas, skim milk, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Dixon says to be cautious about herbs since they are natural medicines and could have interactions with some of the other medicines you may be taking.

Alpha Lipoic Acid and CoQ10 may interfere with radiation and should be avoided.

As always, it is best to check with your physician about potential interactions between vitamins, minerals, and herbs and the medicines you are taking.

Georgia Cancer Specialists is a national leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. GCS’s 47 physicians provide care in 26 Northside Hospital Cancer Institute locations across Metro Atlanta, North and Central Georgia. GCS is The Cancer Answer®.

THE CONTENT ON THE GCS WEB SITE IS NOT INTENDED IN ANY WAY TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION. NEITHER THE CONTENT NOR ANY OTHER PRODUCT OR SERVICE OFFERED BY OR THROUGH THE SITE IS INTENDED TO BE RELIED UPON FOR MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT. NEVER DISREGARD MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING IT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON THIS SITE! IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 911 OR YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE NUMBER. NEITHER THE SITE NOR ANY OF ITS OWNERS, STAFF, OR AGENTS MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTENT OF THE SITE OR INFORMATION FURNISHED BY IT OR ANY AGENTS, EMPLOYEES OR REPRESENTATIVES AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, COMPLETENESS, TIMELINESS, CORRECTNESS, NONINFRINGEMENT, AND FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR USE, APPLICATION, OR PURPOSE.