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Cancer Patient Nutrition and Complimentary Cancer Therapies

By OWC Research Staff (reviewed by Dr. Mark Rudderham, Medical Director)


Amazing results are occurring every day, even so called miracles, with advanced nutritional and cleansing therapies by leading natural medicine practitioners. FDA controlled studies looking for the next generation of gene targeted drug therapies are exciting and showing great results. These gene targeted drugs are incidentally amino acid derived chemicals. Click here to learn more about this high tech next generation cancer drug based individualized medicine trend.

Natural medicine experts tailor nutrition regimens to each patient – no one size fits all. Watch this inspiring discussion by Dr. Thomas Lodi, MD, one of OWC’s featured member experts and a cancer care specialist, discuss his healing approach to cancer: 0 Cancer Patient Nutrition and Complimentary Cancer Therapies

Intense nutritional therapy is the core component of the protocol used with substantial success on cancer patients by natural medicine experts. Intense nutritional therapy, which of course has highest probability of success when started early verses as a last resort,  generally involves:

  • Intense cleanse to rid the body of toxins and enable the digestive system to improve nutrient absorption and toxin elimination
  • Intense use of anti-inflammatory nutrients including curcumin (with enzyme stimulants to improve absorption) .
  • Radical change in diet to predominantly organic raw vegetables and fruit superfoods
  • Avoidance of sugars and simple carbohydrates – these have been found to stimulate cancer cell replication and also promote oxidative stress and immune system suppression.
  • Avoidance of any processed foods
  • Supplements multiple times daily (note the protective benefits of most antioxidant supplements dissipates within several hours); caution is advised however as some supplements may promote cancer cell replication such as glutamine, a popular amino acid supplements used by bodybuilders.
  • Nutritional IVs (an integral component of advanced immunotherapy) at least weekly. Advanced targeted nutritional IV therapy may be the most underutilized and misunderstood area of natural medicine. Visit our “Wellness TV” for some eye opening videos of Dr. Rudderham on the impact of targeted nutritional IV therapy on competitive athletes during intense  training phases. Use of nutritional IVs targeting immune system enhancement will be common in the future when advanced integrative care becomes the standard of modern medicine for treating chronic disease conditions. It is coming; it is an educational process of the medical profession as they practice the most complex and individualized of sciences (not to mention the intensity of medical practice regulation slows advancements under the purview of consumer protection).
  • If available, cellular therapy is already proving to be the future of regenerative medicine and very effective as complimentary cancer therapy if you can afford it. Finding credible experts in this breakthrough field of expertise is also a challenge. Soon OWC will be featuring the global leaders with safe and effective experience with 1000s of patients using advanced cellular therapies. Click here to read about stem cell therapy, the best known and most controversial cellular therapy treatment.


Consider Dr. Huber’s (a fellow graduate of Dr. Mark Rudderham’s naturopathic college – Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine) results released on 49 cancer patients she treated from 2006 to 2009 at her clinic. In her white paper dated July 31, 2009, Dr. Huber discloses:

  • She treated 49 cancer patients
  • 27 left her care within 2 months due to either lack of funding, conflicts from other treating physicians, discouragement from family to pursue natural medicine, or other reasons
  • Of the 22 remaining, 12 went into complete remission within 5 months of treatments. Of these 12, NONE elected to participate in chemotherapy and radiation treatments and exclusively followed Dr. Huber’s nutrition and cleanse based protocol
  • Of the other 10 who remained in her care, 2 died (they came to her as stage 4 cancer patients after extensive chemo and radiation) and 8 remained in her care as of the report date with an average of 2.5 months of care under their belts (note all patients reporting total remission had 4+ months intensive nutritional care including some stage 3 and 4 cancers)
  • Only 6 of the patients including the 2 that died  experienced an increased tumor load – all others experienced a decrease in tumors, substantially better results statistically than from traditional treatment methods widely used

Despite the excellent success from natural therapy reflected by Dr. Huber’s report, and by other naturopathic practitioners we know (See footnote 1), it is discouraging that a general skepticism of the benefits of natural medicine remains prevalent today.


  • For an index to all our cancer care information [CLICK HERE]
  • For a cancer nutrient primer CLICK HERE
  • For Nutrients & Herbs Shown to Help Prevent and Fight Cancer - CLICK HERE
  • For Raw Foods with Anti-Cancer  propertiesCLICK HERE
  • For a better concrete example of the power of nutritional IV therapy, giving insight into why it helps the body fight cancer so effectively, watch this video of Dr. Rudderham discuss the impact Nutritional IVs have had on elite athletes of his [CLICK HERE].


The prospect of combining natural medicine with stem cell therapy for cancer patients is extremely exciting.

Mainstream oncologist driven cancer treatment revolves around surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation used either alone or in combination. Chemotherapy and radiation cannot discriminate between cancer cells and healthy cells. They damage both types of cells and cause serious and often debilitating side effects.

The main nutrients common to nearly all cancer nutrition therapy protocols include (note Dr. Huber and others experiencing excellent results with intense natural and nutritional therapies agree you cannot get the levels of nutrients needed in most disease conditions by simply eating  the right foods – you need supplements and nutritional IV therapy):

  • high dose Vitamin C (regular component of IV therapies)
  • for those with malignant tumors sodium bicarbonate and other alkalanizing nutrients
  • B vitamins and minerals
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D (although concurrent dosing of A and D causes issues)
  • Essiac and similar teas throughout the day
  • select enzymes and probiotic supplementation
  • B12 and glutathione IVs

We believe intense nutrition therapy will soon be part of all cancer and disease care model protocols even including the MD community. The supportive data is too overwhelming today.

Our member store has some excellent easy to take products that should help whether suffering from cancer or not. Of course if you are diagnosed with cancer you should discuss any changes to your nutrition regimen with your treating doctors. Please [CLICK HERE] to visit our dense raw food nutrition products which could help especially if one’s appetite is suppressed. It is easy to mix these superfoods with water and drink them one or more times daily to help boost your immune system function and overall organ system and body tissue health including brain nourishment.

Many cancer patients now opt to complement conventional treatments with alternative therapies that may temper the adverse side effects of conventional cancer therapy and improve treatment results.

What Are Complementary Alternative Therapies?

Complementary alternative medical therapies (CAM) is a collective term for an array of remedies that lie outside what is traditionally considered conventional medical treatment for cancer. These include the use of herbal, vitamin, and nutritional supplements, as well as physical and psychological interventions such as exercise, relaxation, massage, prayer, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture (Deng G et al 2005; Hann D et al 2005; Molassiotis A et al 2005). The use of CAM as a component of integrated cancer treatment regimens may help patients reduce the side effects associated with conventional cancer treatments, alleviate symptoms, enhance immune function, and provide greater quality of (and control over) life (Deng G et al 2004, 2005). The use of CAM is popular among cancer patients undergoing conventional treatment (Hann D et al 2005; Molassiotis A et al 2005). Over 72 million patients used complementary alternative therapies in the past year (Tindle HA et al 2005) to help control their disease. In the United States, 91 percent of cancer patients implemented at least one form of CAM in addition to undergoing conventional cancer treatment (Yates JS et al 2005).

While most physicians acknowledge the benefits of physical and psychological CAM therapies, the role of nutritional and mineral supplements, particularly when used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, is an issue of considerable controversy.

We believe in time therapies targeting immune system function will gain increased attention such as detoxification protocols (chelation therapy), nutrient dense superfood and targeted supplements, nutritional IV therapy, hormone therapy and eventually adult stem cell therapy.

More on Cancer Patient Nutrition and The Use of Dietary Supplements/Antioxidants During Conventional Treatment

Dietary supplements have been shown to positively influence clinical outcomes and long-term survival of traditionally treated cancer patients (drugs, radiation and surgery).

If you visit you can find products of interest in the “Cancer,” “Anti-Aging” and “Immune” categories. Some of our best products can be found in all three categories.

**************** Related Cancer Nutrition Study Footnotes:

  1. Encouraging results from a clinical study have shown that the use of antioxidants during chemotherapy treatment does not compromise the treatment. In this study of lung cancer patients, supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene did not interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy (Pathak AK et al 2005). In fact, recipients of chemotherapy who took antioxidants had better response rates and overall survival than those who received chemotherapy alone; however, these differences did not reach statistical significance (Drisko JA et al 2003; Pathak AK et al 2005).
  2. In a study of non-small cell lung cancer patients over 60 years of age who had undergone surgery to remove their primary tumor(s), doctors compared survival in vitamin users to nonusers and measured blood folate levels as an indicator of folic acid intake. The average survival of nonusers was only 11 months, compared to 41 months for vitamin users; in other words, supplement users survived almost four times longer than did nonusers. Patients with higher blood folate levels also had improved long term survival (Jatoi A et al 1998). The Mayo Clinic researchers who conducted this study have conducted further studies with larger patient samples, and their results consistently show improved survival and quality of life in non-small cell lung cancer patients who use vitamin and mineral supplements (Jatoi A et al 2005a; Jatoi A et al 2005b).
  3. Another study examined a group of transitional cell bladder cancer patients. One group was given BCG (a tuberculosis vaccine) immune-augmentation therapy plus the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins. The second BCG-treated group (the mega-dose group) received the RDA plus 40,000 IU of vitamin A, 2000 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 100 mg of vitamin B6, and 90 mg of zinc. After five years, cancer recurrence rates were 91 percent in the group that received the low-potency RDA vitamins, but only 41 percent in the mega-dose group. In this study, large doses of vitamins resulted in a 55 percent reduction in cancer recurrence (Lamm DL et al 1994).
  4. Uveal melanoma is a rare form of melanoma that occurs in the iris of the eye (Tallberg T et al 2000). Nine random high-risk patients with uveal melanoma had standard conventional therapy to eradicate their primary tumors. The patients were then put on a nutritional supplement regimen consisting of folic acid, trace minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids. After 80 months of follow-up, none of the nine patients experienced recurrent disease, compared to a similar group of patients who did not receive these supplements. Given that 100 percent of these high-risk patients were free of disease after almost seven years, the results provide further evidence of the potential value of nutritional supplementation for cancer patients (Tallberg T et al 2000).
  5. Studies of breast cancer patients have shown that patients using antioxidants are less likely to suffer a recurrence or die from their cancer (Fleischauer AT et al 2003).
  6. The effectiveness of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a chemotherapy agent used to treat breast cancer, was improved when it was administered in combination with folic acid (Kreienberg R 1998). 5-FU is also commonly used in colon, liver, and pancreatic cancers, but has not shown a high degree of efficacy (Christopoulou A 2004). A randomized trial of patients with metastatic colorectal carcinoma compared the effects of 5-FU administered alone and in combination with folic acid. Compared to the group receiving 5-FU alone, the patients receiving 5-FU plus folic acid experienced a 76 percent overall tumor reduction. Survival in the group receiving 5-FU plus folic acid was 47 percent greater than in the group receiving 5-FU alone. The addition of folic acid to this chemotherapy drug regimen resulted in an improved therapeutic profile and significantly prolonged survival time (Loffler TM et al 1992). These results are summarized in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Effect of folic acid on the effectiveness of 5-FU chemotherapy

5-FU Folic Acid and 5-FU Difference
Complete or partial remission 9% 16% 7%
Arrest of tumor growth 20% 60% 40%
Progression 71% 24% 47%
  1. Advanced cancer patients exhibit a range of defects in their immune capacity that likely contribute to an increased susceptibility to infections and disease progression (Campbell MJ et al 2005). A study of 12 advanced colorectal cancer patients sought to determine whether supplementation with vitamin E could enhance immune function. The patients received a daily dose of 750 mg (<1200 IU) of vitamin E beginning two weeks prior to intervention with chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Short-term supplementation with vitamin E led to increased white blood cell (lymphocyte) counts (CD4:CD8 ratios) and enhanced the lymphocytes’ ability to produce interleukin-2 and IFN-gamma, which are required for the immune system to destroy cancer cells (Malmberg KJ et al 2002).

While all the studies mentioned above (and many others) showed the benefit of dietary supplements for cancer patients simultaneously undergoing conventional medical treatment, some studies have failed to show any benefit or have shown mixed effects from taking nutritional supplements (Lesperance ML et al 2002). In one study, high levels of folic acid supplementation were associated with greater reductions in neutrophils (a type of white blood cell); however, the same study showed that low neutrophil levels caused by chemotherapy could be improved by vitamin E supplements (Branda RF et al 2004). A preponderance of evidence supports the use of antioxidants with conventional cancer treatments (Moss RW 2006). However, cancer patients are advised to consult physicians who are experienced in both conventional cancer treatments and nutritional oncology.

****************** Related Cancer Study Information on Anti-Oxidants:

Prescription Antioxidants vs. Natural AntioxidantsProponents of dietary supplementation for cancer patients argue that the use of supplements containing multiple high-dose antioxidantsbefore and during conventional therapy may improve treatment efficacy by increasing tumor response and decreasing normal tissue toxicity. Conventional therapy produces toxicity during treatment that can be severe enough to cause its discontinuation. Therefore, if dietary supplements can reduce the toxicity to normal cells, or increase the response of tumor cells to conventional therapy, this would represent a significant improvement over current strategies for managing cancer (Moss RW 2006).Critics argue that antioxidant supplementsshould not be used with conventional free-radical-generating cancer therapies because they would protect cancer cells from death due to free-radical damage (D’Andrea GM 2005; Labriola D et al 1999). However, synthetic antioxidants available as prescription drugs reduce toxicities associated with conventional treatments. For example, amifostine, a synthetic version of the amino acid cysteine (Mehta MP 1998; Schwartz GN et al 1998), is prescribed by oncologists to reduce the toxicity of conventional treatments without compromising their effectiveness (Mehta MP 1998; Spencer A et al 2005). Mesna, another synthetic antioxidant available as a prescription drug, improves the efficacy of the anti-cancer drug ifosfamide, which would otherwise damage the urinary system (Olver I et al 2005). These prescribed, synthetic antioxidants have been investigated in many randomized, controlled clinical trials of cancer patients (Antman K et al 1993; Komaki R et al 2002).Naturally occurring antioxidants and enzymes are often depleted in cancer patients undergoing aggressive therapies, leaving the healthy calls defenseless against free-radical damage. Therefore, it could be argued that supplementing with antioxidants does not add something foreign to the body (unless they are synthetic), but instead replaces natural substances lost as a result of treatment (Barber MD 2001; Brown TT et al 2003). Replenishing normal antioxidant levels reduces the adverse side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy (Mehta MP 1998; Olver I et al 2005), and actually improves patient outcomes (Fleischauer AT et al 2003; Malmberg KJ et al 2002; Park CH 1988; Prasad KN et al 1996). For more information on these studies, please refer to the chapters on Cancer Radiation Therapy and Cancer Chemotherapy.

Physical and Psychological Supportive CAM Therapies

Rehabilitation programs for cancer patients involve a combination of physical and psychological interventions that improve the patient’s physical comfort and ability to function (Pandey M et al 2001; Santiago-Palma J et al 2001). These are thought to alleviate the emotional distress caused by the patient’s loss of mobility and need for self-care (Cheville AL 2005; Fialka-Moser V et al 2003).

Acupuncture improves cancer symptoms and treatment-related side effects such as nausea, pain, hot flashes, and breathlessness (Samuels N 2002). Indeed, the American Cancer Society recommends the use of acupuncture in cancer patients (Samuels N 2002). In a study of the use of acupuncture in cancer patients, as many as 60 percent of patients showed an improvement in their symptoms (Johnstone PA et al 2002).

Hypnosis improves the symptom of hot flashes (Elkins G et al 2004) and overall quality of life by reducing anxiety and insomnia in breast cancer patients (Elkins G et al 2004). Hypnosis is also recommended as an integral part of palliative care (symptom relief) for cancer patients, with a view to reducing pain and shortness of breath (Marcus J et al 2003). In addition, hypnosis improves mental health and overall well-being in cancer patients treated with radiation therapy (Stalpers LJ et al 2005).

Breathing Exercises. A study of cancer patients recovering from stem cell transplantation showed that following a breathing exercise program for six weeks reduced levels of fatigue (Kim SD et al 2005).

Massage and Aromatherapy improve the general psychological health of cancer patients and, in particular, reduce anxiety levels, pain, and nausea (Fellowes D et al 2004). Breast cancer sufferers receiving massage therapy have improved immune system function and feel less depressed and angry about their circumstances (Hernandez-Reif M et al 2005). A combination of aromatherapy, foot soaking, and reflexology improves the fatigue that is often experienced by cancer patients (Kohara H et al 2004).

Yoga Meditation. Kundalini yoga involves a variety of meditation techniques that are effective in alleviating anxiety, fear, anger, and depression (Shannahoff-Khalsa DS 2005). Indeed, this type of yoga helped breast and prostate cancer patients think positively about their cancers (Shannahoff-Khalsa DS 2005).

Humor. Laughing has always been recognized as a good relaxation and coping strategy. Scientific studies have now demonstrated that laughter is able to reduce anxiety and physical discomfort in cancer patients (Christie W et al 2005). Laughter has a beneficial effect on the immune system and improves the function of natural killer cells, which play an important role in counteracting cancer (Bennett MP et al 2003; Berk LS et al 2001; Christie W et al 2005; Takahashi K et al 2001). Laughter is also known to improve pain threshold in cancer patients and to reduce levels of stress hormones (Christie W et al 2005).

Positive Visualization. Adoption of hope-inspiring interventions by cancer care providers is associated with an improvement in patients’ ability to cope with the fear and anxiety associated with a cancer diagnosis (Felder BE 2004; Watts S et al 2004).

Exercise. Various forms of exercise, including Tai Chi Chuan, improve the quality of life of cancer patients (Jones LW et al 2004; Mustian KM et al 2004) recovering from surgery or undergoing treatment. Exercise alleviated fatigue and improved heart and lung function and overall physical well-being (Dimeo FC et al 2004; Kendall AR et al 2005; Mock V et al 2005; Stevinson C et al 2004; Thorsen L et al 2005).

Hydration. Many cancer patients, particularly those with terminal disease, suffer from low levels of body fluids, or dehydration (Dalal S et al 2004). Artificial hydration in these patients improves dehydration symptoms (Bruera E et al 2005) and is also useful in treating chemotherapy-related diarrhea and kidney disease (Polycarpe E et al 2004; Saltz LB 2003). However, artificial hydration should be approached with caution and used according to each patient’s medical condition, as it can also aggravate symptoms associated with water retention, such as edema (Morita T et al 2004; Morita T et al 2005).

The Importance of Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

The nutritional status of cancer patients is often compromised as a symptom of the cancer or as a side effect of conventional treatment (Usharani K et al 2004). Indeed, a significant number of patients recovering from cancer are malnourished (Guo Y et al 2005) or have suffered considerable weight loss (Colasanto JM et al 2005). The nutritional status of cancer patients has an impact on a variety of important factors, including:

  • Treatment tolerance
  • Survival and overall outcome
  • Immune function
  • Cancer development and progression.

Nutritional intervention as an integral part of cancer treatment can be implemented by eating healthy foods and taking supplements or by administration of enriched formulas through a feeding tube directly into the gastrointestinal tract (enteral) or injection into the veins (parenteral) (Hyltander A et al 2005). Enteral nutrition is always the preferred method of feeding cancer patients when the gastrointestinal tract is functional but the oral route is compromised; parenteral nutrition should be provided only to selected patients, as it is of little benefit to most cancer patients.

However, parenteral nutrition can be administered in the comfort of the patient’s home and improves the long-term survival of patients with incurable advanced disease (Hoda D et al 2005). In particular, this type of artificial feeding can be useful in gynecological and colon cancer patients who often suffer from intestinal tract obstruction (McKinlay AW 2004). In a recent study comparing the different types of nutritional intervention during cancer treatment, normal oral nutrition was superior to enteral and parenteral feeding only when it was supported by nutritional counseling from a dietician (Hyltander A et al 2005).

Treatment Tolerance. Nutritional intervention during cancer treatment may help patients to better tolerate cancer treatment, with less frequent adverse side effects (Bahl M et al 2004; Capra S et al 2001; Read JA et al 2004). In particular, patients with nasopharyngeal cancer, when artificially fed through a tube before treatment, had less weight loss and superior recovery compared to patients who had the nutritional intervention only after treatment (Bahl M et al 2004).

Survival and Overall Outcome. Malnourished cancer patients are more likely to have longer periods of hospitalization, lower survival rates, and a higher frequency of medical complications (Colasanto JM et al 2005; Guo Y et al 2005). A study of stomach cancer patients recently showed that nutritional status affected the patients’ quality of life, and the authors recommended increasing the number of high-protein, high-calorie meals consumed each day as a way to improve nutritional status (Tian J et al 2005).

Studies of colorectal and head and neck cancer patients have shown the beneficial effect of nutrition on survival and quality of life (Ravasco P et al 2005b; Ravasco P et al 2005a). These studies have also highlighted the importance of cancer patients having access to counseling and guidance from a dietician. In fact, these studies showed that regular foods supported by dietary counseling were more beneficial than enriched nutritional supplements taken in the absence of qualified guidance (Ravasco P et al 2005b; Ravasco P et al 2005a).

Immune Function. Impaired nutritional status in cancer patients is associated with reduced numbers of white blood cells (most often neutropenia) and low red blood cell counts, or anemia (Usharani K et al 2004). Administration of a specialized formula enriched with nutrients (including arginine and omega-3 fatty acids) to cancer patients before surgery reduced the occurrence of infections and time spent in the hospital (Moskovitz DN et al 2004). Because of its immunomodulatory properties, arginine helps to restore immune system balance in cancer patients after surgery (Ates E et al 2004); however, further research is necessary to define its role in the nutritional care of cancer patients

Delays in the healing of surgical wounds—or a complete failure of the wounds to heal—often complicates the rehabilitation of malnourished cancer patients after surgery (Farreras N et al 2005). Artificial nutrition of gastric cancer patients after surgery with a formula designed to boost the immune system improves wound healing and recovery (Farreras N et al 2005).

Cancer Development and Progression. A study of patients with high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a widely accepted indicator of the risk of developing prostate cancer, showed that a diet of low fat and high soybean protein content induced a significant, though temporary, reduction in PSA levels (Tsutsumi M et al 2004).

Natural Strategies for Alleviating Cancer Symptoms

A range of complementary strategies are known to improve symptoms experienced by cancer patients.

Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. The use of aromatherapy and massage is effective in alleviating depression, anxiety, and stress in cancer patients and has a positive effect on quality of life (Cassileth BR et al 2004; Soden K et al 2004). Undergoing 30-minute massage sessions three times a week for five weeks reduces hostility and anger in cancer patients (Hernandez-Reif M et al 2004). In addition to massage, progressive muscle relaxation alleviates depression and anxiety in cancer patients (Hernandez-Reif M et al 2005).

The use of acupuncture, hypnosis, and exercise reduces stress and anxiety (Samuels N 2002; Stalpers LJ et al 2005; Thorsen L et al 2005).

Laughter and humor are also known to improve mood and combat depression in cancer patients (Bennett MP et al 2003; Christie W et al 2005; Takahashi K et al 2001). This improvement in mood is accompanied by quantifiable improvements in immune system and hormonal factors that influence overall well-being (Berk LS et al 2001; Christie W et al 2005; Takahashi K et al 2001).

Emotional support from a spouse reduces depression and improves quality of life in cancer patients (Ohara-Hirano Y et al 2004). Dietary supplementation with the amino acid L-carnitine in cancer patients has been effective in treating depression (Cruciani RA et al 2004).

Nausea and Vomiting. Acupuncture and finger acupressure are effective in overcoming treatment-induced nausea and vomiting (Collins KB et al 2004; Klein J et al 2004; Shin YH et al 2004). Electro-acupoint stimulation and hypnotherapy also reduce the frequency and intensity of nausea in cancer patients (Gan TJ et al 2004; Deng G et al 2004).

Poor Appetite/Cachexia. Advanced cancer is often accompanied by a condition of muscle wasting referred to as cachexia or catabolic wasting (Barber MD 2001; Brown TT et al 2003). Metabolic imbalances caused by the disease, which include the over-production of inflammatory factors, lead to the loss of appetite and the excessive breakdown of fat and muscle (Barber MD et al 2001). This wasting condition is associated with diminished quality of life and shorter survival (Barber MD 2001; Brown TT et al 2003).

Dietary supplementation with fish oils (omega-3 fatty acids) counteracts the inflammatory factors and reverses the weight loss associated with cachexia (Barber MD 2001; Brown TT et al 2003; Fearon KC et al 2003). Stabilization of this condition with fish oil supplements also leads to enhanced quality of life (Bruera E et al 2003; Burns CP et al 2004; Fearon KC et al 2003). For more information, refer to the chapter on Catabolic Wasting.

Lymphedema. Lymphedema, a condition characterized by excessive swelling and retention of water under the skin, often afflicts cancer patients, particularly after radiation therapy and surgery (Ashikaga T et al 2002; McNeely ML et al 2004).

Natural strategies known to be somewhat helpful in alleviating this condition include compression bandaging, which reduces the size of the swollen area, and manual massage of the draining lymph nodes, which may alleviate mild cases of lymphedema (McNeely ML et al 2004; Mortimer PS 1997). The use of selenium may improve the benefits of physical therapies such as massage and compression (Bruns F et al 2003).

Sexual Dysfunction. Cancer patients, in particular those with prostate cancer, often experience sexual dysfunction, or impotency, usually as a complication of their treatment (Burnett AL 2005; Jayne DG et al 2005; Turner SL et al 1999). Sexual dysfunction is also associated with surgery for bladder and colorectal cancer, and with chemotherapy agents that damage the ovaries (Jayne DG et al 2005; Molina JR et al 2005).

Sexual dysfunction in prostate cancer patients can be successfully managed by the use of Viagra® (Incrocci L et al 2003a; Incrocci L et al 2003b). However, some alternative therapies are also effective in managing sexual dysfunction.

Clinical studies have shown that oral supplements of L-glutamine and yohimbine, a plant extract, can improve erectile dysfunction (Lebret T et al 2002). Another dietary supplement known as ArginMax™, which contains a combination of ginseng, ginkgo, L-arginine, multivitamins, and minerals, improves erectile dysfunction (Ito T et al 1998, 2001). A nutritional supplement known as Kyo-Green® has also been shown to improve sexual dysfunction (Lau BH et al 2003).

Hair Loss. A mushroom extract, originally concocted for use as an immune system booster, improves alopecia (hair loss), a condition associated with the use of conventional cancer treatments (Ahn WS et al 2004). Animal studies have also shown that supplementing with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine can also protect against hair loss during conventional cancer treatments (D’Agostini F et al 1998).

Fatigue. In addition to relieving stress, dietary supplementation with the amino acid L-carnitine reduces fatigue, which can be a symptom of the cancer or a side effect of conventional treatment (Cruciani RA et al 2004). The use of L-carnitine during chemotherapy with doxorubicin has been proposed as an adjuvant therapy since 1985 (de Leonardis V et al 1985).

Acupuncture has also demonstrated effectiveness in alleviating cancer fatigue (Cohen AJ et al 2005). Cancer-related fatigue responds to a combined regimen of massage, foot soaking, and reflexology (Kohara H et al 2004). In addition, breathing exercises, conducted with the help of a healthcare provider, improves fatigue in patients recovering from stem cell transplantation (Kim SD et al 2005).

Natural Strategies for Counteracting Adverse Effects from Conventional Cancer Treatment

Nutritional supplements known to counteract some of the negative side effects of conventional treatments are summarized in Table 2. In addition to these nutrients, physical and psychological therapies—including acupuncture, breathing exercises, massage and aromatherapy—can also improve these negative side effects (Fellowes D et al 2004; Kim SD et al 2005; Samuels N 2002). For more information, refer to the chapters on Cancer Surgery, Cancer Chemotherapy, and Cancer Radiation Therapy.

Table 2: Nutritional supplements known to alleviate negative side effects of conventional cancer treatment

Cancer Treatment-Related Adverse Effects Nutritional Supplement References
Diarrhea, neuropathy, heart complications, mucositis Glutamine (Daniele B et al 2001; Savarese DM et al 2003)
Mucositis, fibrosis, cardiovascular complications Antioxidants (Borek C 2004; Wattanapitayakul SK et al 2005)
Mucositis, anemia, cardiovascular complications Melatonin (Majsterek I et al 2005; Ahmed HH et al 2005; Balli E et al 2004)
Radiation-induced cell damage Vitamin A (Levitsky J et al 2003; Vorotnikova E et al 2004).
Neuropathy (nerve damage) Vitamin E (Argyriou AA et al 2005; Pace A et al 2003)
Nausea and vomiting Ginger (Boon H et al 2004; Sharma SS et al 1998; Manusirivithaya S et al 2004).
Nephrotoxicity (kidney damage) Silibinin (Bokemeyer C et al 1996)
Diarrhea Herbal Remedies (Mori K et al 2003; Taixiang W et al 2005)
Heart damage CoQ10 (Portakal O et al 2000; Bandy B et al 1990; Iarussi D et al 1994).

Clinical Trials

Numerous ongoing clinical studies are assessing the merits of different CAM therapies for cancer. Cancer patients can opt to participate in these studies or simply monitor their outcomes. The specific details and findings of these studies are subject to constant change and therefore are not provided here. Up-to-date information on ongoing clinical trials can be obtained from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the following address:

National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

Additional Reference Source – Life Extension Foundation Published Research. For more information pertinent to advancing cancer therapy please read our Adult Stem Cell Primer material.

DISCLAIMER: Every individual is unique and supplement dosage levels should be reviewed and monitored by your doctor when on any medications as may counteract or cause complications with prescribed medications. Always consult with your doctor and nutrition experts before starting new health and wellness routines or protocols.


1/ Dr. Rudderham has extensive cancer patient experience using complimentary cancer therapy and has experienced similar outcomes to those published by Dr. Huber in her white paper. One recent example is a stage 4 cancer patient referred to Dr. Rudderham with a gloomy prognosis – less than 6 months to live. Without any further chemo or radiation, this patient and Dr. Rudderham have now known each other for going on 2 years and become friends. Not only is this gentleman rancher still here with us, but his symptoms and condition are improving and he still rides his horses daily.

Our Cancer Nutrition memorandum will have the latest information in this exciting rapidly evolving area of natural medicine (when you hear the term “Environmental Medicine” or “Orthomolecular Medicine” think “Natural Medicine” as they are related sciences and we use the terms nearly interchangeably).

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