Dietary Supplements and Cancer

The idea of adding multivitamin to our diet has being an age-long practice. Be it on self-medication ground or by a clinician prescription has also posed a great challenge to health both to the sick and the healthy.

These multivitamin are trace body nutrients gotten from manufactured drugs or supplements needed by the body in minute quantities to support good body functions such as: cells metabolic activities, growth, proliferation etc. Vitamins and dietary supplements come as pills, tablets or a liquid and as well as water-soluble and fat-soluble.

Some complementary or alternative therapists also use injections of dietary supplements. However, these food supplements in the case of cancer might be needed in low levels of calcium and vitamin D nutrient as seen in hormone therapy (often used for breast and prostate cancer) which are known to weaken bones. Nevertheless, there is no reliable evidence that any dietary supplement can help to prevent cancer. But there is evidence that a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables can reduce your cancer risk.

Some research has looked at whether particular vitamins and dietary supplements can help to prevent cancer in certain groups of people. One of such large study in the USA found that giving vitamin E supplements to male smokers reduced their risk of prostate cancer.

It also found that giving beta carotene which is the active ingredient in vitamin A supplements to men with low levels of it in their diet reduced their risk of prostate cancer. But the supplements had no effect for non-smokers or men who had normal levels of beta carotene from their diet.

Furthermore, eating foods that contain beta carotene such as carrot can help to reduce the risk of lung cancer. But taking beta carotene supplements does not seem to have the same effect.

Some dietary supplements can cause skin sensitivity and severe reactions when taken during radiotherapy treatment. Some vitamins or minerals could interfere with how well cancer drugs work. Antioxidant supplements which is known to eat up the free radicals that destroys cells such as co enzyme Q10, selenium and the vitamins A, C and E can help to prevent cell damage.

The Royal College of Radiologists advises that people with cancer should not have high doses of antioxidant supplements during their cancer treatment.

Finally, supplements can be good if taken when needed with a need-assessment information prior to its commencement as high doses of some supplements can be counter-productive to its intended purpose. Regular visit to your Oncologist for a professional guide will help a lot.

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