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Cancer and Holistic Nutrition Therapies

Posted Jul 11 2013 10:38am

Today I have a guest post from David Haas, the Director of Awareness Programs for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching much of the information available to his site’s visitors, David often blogs about programs available and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. David is a fitness enthusiast who frequently runs, climbs, and bikes for enjoyment. He is also very involved in outreach associated with awareness about the dangers of asbestos for many different organizations and groups of people.  You can check him out here:   http://www.mesothelioma. com/blog/authors/david/bio. htm#ixzz2PVMlj2OR

I hope you find his article informative.

People with cancer will do almost anything to fight their disease. They want effective ways to manage their symptoms and cope with treatment side effects. Some turn to complementary practices, including holistic nutrition and dietary supplements.

Botanical Supplements
Botanicals have been used for centuries in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) , recent studies have concluded that botanical supplements may have benefits for cancer treatment.

Much of the research examined the impact of herbal supplements on cancer treatment in the early stages. While more studies are needed, the findings are promising for those who live a natural lifestyle. Like all dietary supplements, botanicals can interact with cancer drugs and other prescription medications. Therefore, they should only be used under doctor supervision.

Antioxidant Supplements
The benefits of antioxidants for cancer prevention are well-documented. Antioxidants are molecules that prevent the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation can produce free radicals or molecules that harm cells.

Vitamins A, C and E are three important antioxidants that are linked to the prevention of some types of cancer. Their effects on cancer treatment are less certain. However, the foods that contain these nutrients — namely fresh fruits and vegetables — are an important part of a cancer diet.

Some studies imply that antioxidants may decrease the effectiveness of certain cancer treatments. While their intake from natural sources is beneficial, antioxidant supplements should only be taken with a doctor’s approval.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Vitamins and minerals are essential for good nutrition during cancer treatment. Patients can get these nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables as well as pure fruit and vegetable juices. Whole grain breads and cereals also provide important vitamins and minerals.

Multivitamins are a popular treatment in holistic cancer care. They improve the nutrition of people who cannot eat well because of their cancer side effects. As with botanical and antioxidant supplements, however, vitamin and mineral supplements may interfere with chemotherapy and radiation. They should only be taken according to a doctor’s advise.

Complementary Health Practices
Botanicals, antioxidants and multivitamins are usually enhanced by other complementary practices like yoga and meditation. Even patients with late-stage cancers like mesothelioma can benefit from holistic nutrition and CAM therapies. In advanced cancers, nutrition focuses on palliative care and quality of life issues. Doctors and dietitians can recommend foods and supplements that improve energy and comfort levels.

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