Using dietary supplements during cancer treatment causes much debate among healthcare professionals. Some of these supplements work well with a well-balanced diet and help provide complete nutrition. But others can interact with cancer treatment or cause bigger problems.
About Dietary Supplements during Cancer Treatment
Always remember supplements do not replace eating food or ensuring you receive balanced nutrition through your diet. Fruits and vegetables provide great nutritional benefit, for example. But to gain the full benefits, you need to eat these natural foods to receive the phytochemical compounds in the way and combination working best for your body.
Supplements also provide different forms of nutrients than your foods do. How your body handles these supplementing nutrients is different than when receiving them in food.
Other issues associated with taking vitamins and mineral supplements during cancer treatment include:
- Some supplements cause cancer treatment interactions, such as folic acid and chemo methotrexate
- Some supplements’ interactions affect your treatment outcome
- Low platelet levels during chemo may be made worse by some supplements
- Supplement overdose is a real possibility, even causing physical harm
- Gaining too much of a particular vitamin or mineral through a supplement and food together does not increase benefit and can be harmful
For guidance into which vitamins and minerals you need for individual wellness, your doctor’s advice is key. What you need differs from what someone else needs. So rather than taking blanket advice, talk to your doctor and a registered dietician before changing your diet or dietary supplements.
Other Ways a Dietician and Your Doctor Can Help
When going through cancer treatment, you experience dietary changes based on your physical condition. Having a relationship with a dietician helps your cancer treatment by ensuring you stay as healthy as possible throughout the treatment process and into recovery. Your body fights cancer best when it is well nourished through the foods you eat. So start a relationship with a dietician early and undergo nutritional counseling throughout your cancer treatment.
When you suffer some common side effects of cancer treatment, such as vomiting, lost appetite, mouth sores, diarrhea, dehydration or trouble swallowing, your dietician provides helpful options for nutrition. Specific solutions exist for each of these side effects. People going through treatment before you paved the way for a better treatment experience.