My Favorite Cancer Fighting Supplements
Whether you’re trying to prevent cancer or maybe you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer, the number one question I always get is, “What should I start with? Where should I begin with my supplements?” Here are the top five supplements that I recommend for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or trying to prevent cancer.
1. Vitamin D for Fighting Cancer
Number one is vitamin D. You’ve probably heard about vitamin D in the news. It gets talked about quite a bit, because there’s so much research associated with having enough vitamin D in your blood to help prevent and also help you 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 it’s also been known to reduce cell growth of cancer cells. No wonder it’s number one of my cancer fighting supplements.
Always get your blood levels checked of vitamin D to make sure that you’re taking the right dose. You don’t want too little or too much vitamin D, so talk to your doctor.
2. Fighting Cancer with Melatonin
Melatonin is thought of as something to use for sleep, but did you know that melatonin can actually be great for the immune system? That’s right. Melatonin is responsible for helping to initiate the immune system while you’re sleeping, so it’s this hormone that’s created in the brain, and then created to send out to your immune cells to increase the way that they’re behaving in your blood. Why would you want to increase these immune cells, you ask? If you increase the right immune cells, you can help your body fight cancer, so specifically we’re looking at natural killer cells. Natural killer cells help tag cancer cells so that they can get eaten up, chomped up, by the macro fascias of the white blood cell system. If you take melatonin at a 20 milligram dose, you can enhance natural killer self-production. Melatonin at that particular dosage has also been shown to decrease hormone receptor expression.
That’s a big medical term, hormone receptor expression, so let me break it down for you. Hormone receptor expression means how many receptors there are, how many opportunities there are for hormones to communicate with our cells. Why is this important? Those hormones increase cancer cell growth in things like breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, so you want to make sure your hormone receptors are behaving appropriately.
The other thing that melatonin has been studied for improving five year survival in patients with lung cancer. That was a really small clinical trial, but still, very encouraging. Last but not least, melatonin has been studied for reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, including supporting the immune system to bounce back a little bit better from chemotherapy, promoting red blood cell and white blood cell production, so all in all, a really great supplement to start taking.
Melatonin has a couple side effects like reducing platelets and inhibiting the way that the blood system can work. Make sure you talk this over with someone who knows your health history, and can make sure that this is a safe recommendation for you.
3. Fish Oil and Cancer
My third recommendation would be fish oil. Fish oil gets a lot of media attention as well, and if you’re a man with prostate cancer, you might’ve heard about its benefits and its potential concerns. I’m here to tell you that fish oil is definitely in my top five supplements to take. That’s because fish oil’s been studied for preventing metastatic disease. It also can increase apoptosis of cancer cells. Apoptosis, that’s a really cool word that means the popping of cancer cells. When the cancer cells pop, then they die off, so we definitely want our cancer cells to pop. Also, fish oil’s been studied for reducing inflammation, which can be great for wound healing and also for reducing radiation-based dermatosis, the skin changes that can happen with radiation.
4. Sulforaphanes: Eat Your Veggies
That is a mouthful. Sulforaphanes. What the heck is that? It is an extract from broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables that are high in the sulfur-containing component called sulforaphanes. Sulforaphane is something that you can get really high concentrations of in broccoli sprouts. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could put some broccoli sprouts on your sandwich or on top of your salad, and you can also put broccoli sprouts into your smoothie. Just a little warning: If you choose to put broccoli sprouts in your smoothie, it can be a little bit spicy! I like it, but not everyone has the same love affair with sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts.
Why would I recommend sulforaphanes? They’ve been studied to increase cancer cell apoptosis that increases cancer cell death. They also have been studied for reducing cancer cell division, so the less cells divide, the less they grow. That’s a good thing. They also can help balance hormones, especially in women with breast cancer, or men with prostate cancer. A great thing to add to your diet if you’re looking at those two cancer types. Another study showed that taking sulforaphanes can reduce the growth of lung cancer in previous smokers. Did you quit smoking and now you want to prevent lung cancer? Get on the broccoli sprout train.
Last but not least is number five. Berries seem like a simple recommendation. Everyone can get berries in the grocery store, so why would this make my top five list of supplements that you should take if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or you’re trying to prevent cancer? Let me explain. Berries have been shown to be rich in apigenin, resveratrol, and anthocyanins. They are also rich in polyphenols that help prevent the angiogenesis of cancer cells. Yes, I’m throwing another medical word at you, but this is for your own benefit. Angiogenesis means blood vessel growth. The more your cells create blood vessel growth, the more the cancer cells can divide and expand.
We want to reduce blood vessel growth as much as possible. Berries can help healthy cells make appropriate blood vessel growth, and help cancer cells reduce their blood vessel growth, so it’s a really great balancer in our system. They can also normalize blood counts. In fact, in my own practice, I’ve seen berry extract be very beneficial in helping normalize patients who have myelodysplastic syndromes, leukemias, and lymphoma, so it’s something that I definitely use on a frequent basis. They can also help increase apoptosis, so you know that these natural supplements are helping you. Are berries in your diet? You can eat about a cup of berries a day and get the same benefits, but sometimes eating a cup of berries every single day can get a little bit boring, so that’s when I turn to berry concentrates and berry liquids with my patients.
Check With Your Doctor
Finally, a little disclaimer required by my legal team: I want you to know that these are just some suggestions. These do not replace your doctor’s suggestions, and you absolutely must run all of your supplements by your physician. If you are looking for a physician that knows something about how to use supplements in cancer care and you want more help, then please contact me. Don’t start anything that might inhibit your conventional treatment or reduce your ability to continue conventional care. Okay. Legal team satisfied. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I would love to answer any of the questions that you have burning in your mind, and see how you’re applying these recommendations.