Supplements and Breast Cancer Treatment

Supplements and Breast Cancer Treatment

Do you know that dietary supplements may not be safe or effective in breast cancer patients? Why? Because most supplements contain a huge amount of antioxidants, which can work against anti-cancer drugs and render them ineffective against cancer cells. A 2008 review of clinical trials concluded that the use of supplements, which contain antioxidants, during chemotherapy and radiation therapy should be discouraged because of the possibility of tumor protection and reduced survival.

In addition, here are two supplements that may be harmful to breast cancer patients:

Arginine – In high dosage, arginine (and amino acid produced in your body) may increase immune cell activity in breast cancer patients. On the contrary, one study demonstrated that arginine may stimulate breast tumor growth in vivo. More research is needed to examine this mechanism.

Royal Jelly – Royal jelly is a viscous substance secreted by worker bees to feed queen bees and their larvae. It is commonly consumed as a health food. Royal jelly exhibits oestrogenic activity, and has been shown to increase the number of a particular human breast cancer cell that was reversed by tamoxifen. However, royal jelly has been shown to inhibit the growth-promoting effects of the environmental oestrogen bisphenol-A in similar human breast cancer cells. Because of the orstrogenic effects, women with oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancer should avoid products containing royal jelly.

On the other hand, there are also supplements that may lower your risk of breast cancer:

Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is part of the vitamin B-complex family and consists of cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, and related substances. It is essential for normal nerve function, DNA synthesis, hematopoiesis, fatty acid metabolism, and amino acid synthesis in the cell. Clinical studies show that an increased intake of vitamin B12, together with folate and vitamin B6, may lower the risk of breast cancer. However, another study found that the same combination of folate and vitamin B6 and B12 has no significant effect on the overall risk of total invasive cancer or breast cancer.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D refers to several forms of fat-soluble vitamins found naturally in plants, fish, and dairy products. The two forms used in humans are ergocalciferol (D2) and the more potent cholecalciferol (D3). Sunlight can promote the synthesis of D3 in the skin. Vitamin D is important for bone formation. A deficiency can cause rickets (soft bones) and other bone disorders. One study found that calcium and vitamin D supplement does not reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer, but another study showed a small decrease in the risk among post-menopausal women. In contrast, vitamin D from sunlight exposure and from dietary intake may have protective effects against the disease. This correlates with observations in many survivors who were vitamin D deficient.

Supplements and Breast Cancer Treatment

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