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Vitamins and Supplements for Cancer Patients

Published : Feb 10, 2022 3 mins read Updated On : Nov 25, 2022

Vitamins and Supplements for Cancer Patients

Are you aware that around 11 lakhs people are diagnosed with cancer each year in India? A new report suggests that it is growing by 1-1.2% from 2010-2019. This means that cancer is a big burden on our society. Cancer also adds a financial burden on the patients as the treatment can be prolonged and expensive. In addition to regular cancer treatments such as chemo and drugs, one might want to consider taking vitamins and supplements. They can help you to strengthen the immune system and deal with the side effects of cancer treatment like chemotherapy and radiation.

Things you should know before taking vitamins and supplements for cancer

First and foremost, always consult your doctor before you start taking any vitamins or supplements for cancer. Also, do extensive research about which supplements can help you in your specific condition. Most supplements have not been studied extensively for cancer patients so make your decision accordingly.

Supplements to maintain a strong immune system in cancer

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplements are amongst the most extensively researched supplements for cancer. About 69% of Indians are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D plays an important role in cell development. Some studies conducted to analyze the effect of vitamin D deficiency in cancer patients found that vitamin D deficiency might increase the risk of breast cancer. While some other studies found that vitamin D may protect against prostate cancer.

  • Garlic Supplements

It is very common in India to have garlic in our daily diet, which has shown some properties that inhibits and treat cancer. Garlic has immunity-boosting properties hence a supplement containing garlic that is not highly processed can be useful. Certain elements found in garlic have been shown to suppress growth and fight certain cancerous cells in the form of breast and lung cancer. Make sure you take a supplement that offers as much natural form of garlic as it can.

  • Green Tea

Green tea contains substances called polyphenols that have powerful anti-cancer abilities. Cancerous cells depend on fast-growing blood vessels to sustain themselves. Green tea compounds may contain the ability to help slow or prevent this rapid growth. Hence, it is advisable to consume supplements that contain green tea extract. It has been observed that drinking green tea may increase the survival rates of some cancer patients. Some studies have also indicated that the survival rate of people consuming green tea extract is higher than those who don’t.

  • Anti-oxidant supplement

Antioxidants have phytochemicals that fight against free radicals, which can damage DNA and contribute to the development and proliferation of cancerous cells. You can find antioxidants in many fruits like oranges, lemon, amla, etc. but is always better to take a supplement that provides anti-oxidant benefits as incorporating these fruits into your daily diet may not be easy. The data suggest that antioxidant supplements may improve the quality of life for some cancer patients.

Supplements beneficial for side effects of treatment in cancer

  • Iron Supplements

Patients undergoing cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, or radiation therapy often complain about fatigue being the most common side effect of the treatment. These treatments are responsible for damaging red blood cells and leading to iron-deficiency anemia. Hence, iron supplements can be used to overcome this side effect.

  • L-glutamine Supplements

Cancer drugs can cause nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy. L-glutamine can be helpful in preventing or treating peripheral neuropathy. Therefore, a patient who is taking cancer medication for a long time should consider taking a supplement that contains L-glutamine. 

L-glutamine Supplements

Always remember before taking any supplements that no nutritional supplement can cure cancer. While making a decision regarding which supplement to take only look for authenticated sources of information. Check with your doctors about any potential interaction of vitamins with the ongoing treatment.

Soumil Vartak
Soumil Vartak
Fitness and Nutrition

Soumil is a health & wellbeing enthusiast whose passion is to explore new about fitness. He enjoys writing about health, fitness, nutrition and anything related to health. His technical knowledge o... Read More

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