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.