Supplementation for Optimal Health

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Why Supplements May be Considered

  Before considering dietary supplementation of any sort, talk with your health care provider. You, together with your physician, should decide the best course of action to take.

  First of all, you may be wondering, "I’ve received this diagnosis, and I’m hearing a lot about dietary supplements.  What exactly are they, and how would I ever know which ones to consider taking"?

When faced with a serious regimen of cancer treatment protocols which can be extremely toxic and immune busting, it is important to consider supplementation. Supplements exist to merely complement your healthy and nutritious diet....not to replace it. The gap that supplements can fill may assist the body in preventing disease and even be supportive in the treatment of certain kinds of illnesses, including cancer.

  Although there are many beneficial vitamins and minerals to consider, we’ve put together a short list you may want to research further. Not only will you become more educated, but, by doing the research, you will feel more empowered. Again, talk with your doctor or meet with a nutritionist when developing your own supplementation plan.

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Daily Probiotic – With 70 to 80 percent of the immune system located in the digestive tract, it isn’t surprising that the gut microbiome helps to modulate the immune system. 1 Some studies have shown that people taking probiotics had stronger immune systems than those who didn’t take them. Taking probiotics has been shown to boost white blood cells. This is important when going through traditional cancer regimens. 2 Keeping your gut healthy is a good first step towards better health.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is at the top of many lists for fighting cancer. There is so much research associated with having enough vitamin D in your blood to help prevent illness and also help boost your immune system once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Some studies have shown that having enough vitamin D in your blood helps you react better to chemotherapy and gives you a better outcome during chemotherapy. It’s also been shown to help prevent the onset of certain types of cancer and reduce cell growth of cancer cells. Always get your blood levels checked for vitamin D to make sure you’re taking the right dose. You don’t want too little or too much, so talk with your doctor or health care provider. 3 In 2016, a landmark study published in PLOS ONE (peer-reviewed open access scientific journal by the Public Library of Science) found that women over age 55 with blood concentrations of vitamin D higher than 40ng/ml had a 67% lower risk of cancer compared to women with levels lower than 20ng/ml. 4 Your body naturally produces vitamin D in response to sun exposure on bare skin, but, in many cases, we can still benefit from additional supplementation. 5

Curcumin – Curcumin is a derivative of turmeric and the pigment that gives the curry spice its yellow-orange color. Curcumin appears to be universally useful for just about every type of cancer and has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer of any nutrient. Curcumin has antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation may lead to the development of cancer. There isn’t enough evidence to say that curcumin definitively prevents or treats cancer, however, research on the subject has been promising. 6 Many of these studies have shown curcumin actually stops cancer cells from dividing. Curcumin has also been shown to trigger apoptosis, or programmed cell death, which is the body’s natural and necessary way of ridding itself from damaged cells. 7 Researchers continue to investigate the countless benefits of turmeric, and it has shown incredible promise in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and contains ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid helps in regulating the production of platelets in the body. Vitamin C is amazing in preventing damage caused to the platelets from free radicals which is a real concern when undergoing chemotherapy. The body is unable to store vitamin C, so it’s imperative you consider taking supplements to maintain adequate levels. Vitamin C also plays a role in helping the body absorb iron. 8 Eating foods rich in C such as oranges, lemons, tomatoes, spinach, chili pepper, kiwi, broccoli, etc. are a good way to keep those levels up.

Zinc - Zinc is the second most prevalent mineral in the human body, second only to iron. It is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges and eliminates cell damaging free radicals. A zinc deficiency can lead to a range of different cancer types as well as other diseases. It is an essential element of immune system health, T-cell production and functioning, which is the white blood cell that’s so integral in wound healing as well as fighting off invaders, bacteria, and disease. It’s also key in thymus gland functioning which is crucial immune system component. 9 Zinc can protect normal cells during chemotherapy. It’s linked to the production of white blood cells and is a known immune booster. Zinc has been known to help increase the aggressiveness of white blood cells that fight infection.  This allows white blood cells to produce even more white blood cells and therefore helps fight off cancer. Foods which contain zinc are beef, beans, lamb, oysters, crab, dark meat, turkey, wheat germ and, pumpkin seeds.  Dark chocolate, garlic, sesame seeds, watermelon seeds, squash, chickpeas and spinach also contain zinc. 10  Consider adding these to your diet.

Selenium – Selenium is another mineral and also a powerful antioxidant. It has been shown to improve immune response. Studies have revealed that selenium increases activity of natural killer cells, and deficiencies have been shown to hamper immune response. 11 Selenium also helps to build up white blood cells. Studies have indicated that selenium may help prevent some infections. Selenium, too, helps with inflammation and is vital in the production of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase which helps detoxify the body. A good source of selenium is found in vegetables and fruits, but the amount of selenium in any particular fruit or vegetable is dependent on the selenium content of the soil in which it was grown. Brazil nuts and garlic are rich in selenium as well. Because of this, people who live in areas where the soil has been depleted of its selenium content may require more selenium than they can reasonably consume in whole food sources.

Milk Thistle – Milk Thistle assists in the detoxification of your liver. Milk Thistle can be an important supplement as you undergo traditional cancer treatment. You will want your liver to function optimally to process the chemicals out of your system as quickly as possible. Milk Thistle is an herbal medicine that is a multi-tasker and has many effects on cancer physiology as well as its protective effects against kidney damage, loss of kidney function, and chemotherapy-induced nerve pain. Therefore, it may be a key supplement to carefully research before chemotherapy is infused.  The active ingredient in milk thistle, an antioxidant flavonoid known as silymarin, reduces the inflammation and oxidative damage that can trigger cancer.  In addition, it helps to preserve glutathione, the body's premier inflammation-fighting antioxidant. 12 Milk Thistle is one of the main herbs used to protect the kidneys from the chemotherapy side effects of cisplatin, oxaliplatin and carboplatin. It is therefore a suitable herb to consider for patients undergoing and recovering from exposure to toxic chemicals and drugs as long as the patient is not allergic to milk thistle. 13

Achieving a stronger immune system and a stronger body will prevent disease from flourishing in our bodies. A body that is filled with good, clean foods and sensible supplements will be more balanced, will prosper, and be able to fight.

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2. Story, Colleen M., “Ways to Increase White Blood Cell Count-Naturally”



5. Brandt, Annie., “The Healing Platform: Build Your Own Cure!”

6. “Can You Use Curcumin to Treat Cancer?”

7. Bollinger, Ty., “The Amazing Cancer-Fighting Benefits of Curcumin

8. “Documentary Sheds Light on the Benefits of Vitamins”

9. “Zinc can Halt the Growth of Cancer Cells, Study Reveals”

10. Bentley, P. “8 Natural Ways to Increase White Blood Cell Count”

11. Turner, L. “12 Immune-Boosting Supplements”


13. “Milk Thistle Protects Cells From Toxic Chemotherapy Side Effects’

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Faith & Gratitude is not licensed to provide medical advice, nor should we be a substitute for medical advice. This site is an education and learning site only. It is not intended to replace one-on-one care by a qualified healthcare professional. The information is presented to help patients be strong in mind, body, and spirit while battling cancer. We encourage all to be self-advocates for their own health and to develop a treatment plan along with their doctor. The information contained on this site has not been approved or verified by the FDA, AMA, or any

Federal or State agency.