Radiation treatment and supplements
We were told by the radiation oncologist's office to not take any antioxidant supplements (such as Vitamin E succinate, CoQ10, curcumin or magnesium) because the radiation therapy uses radiation to cause oxidative damage to cells, and the antioxidant supplements would work against that. However, I'm reading "Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients by Russell Blaylock, MD (internationally recognized, board-certified neurosurgeon), and he highly recommends supplements because they support healthy cells and not cancer cells, and his patients have had good outcomes as a result. There's a compelling argument FOR supplements. We really want to take some supplements but, of course, don't want to go against our doctor's advice. Clinical studies I've reviewed online are mixed. I'd like to hear your experience and/or advice. Thanks!
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Hi, @dianeem, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. It does sound confusing with the radiation oncologist's advice against antioxidant supplements due to radiation causing oxidative damage to cells, yet reading differing opinions in the book you mentioned and in studies you've reviewed online.
I'd like to invite some other members who have mentioned supplements and cancer or having radiation therapy to join this conversation and add their input, like @francine6829 @cindylb @alamogal635 @dmgweiss @reibur1951. @becsbuddy and @merpreb also may have some thoughts.
Have you brought some of the literature that would make the case for supplementation around the time of the radiation treatment to your doctor's attention so that he or she could offer some insights? If so, what did your doctor say?
When I did radiation, no one advised me against supplements. For me, radiation was a non event. No pain, a little redness. More inconvenient.
@lisalucier– Thank you for inviting me int this conversation. Welcome @dianeem and thank you for joining us at Mayo Connect. I think taking supplements during chemo or radiation is up to your doctor after the both of you have discussed it and come up with the best solution. Ideally this should have been talked about when you questioned him/her during your first conversation.
This is very controversial as you stated and you should listen to him.
Find out if eating more of the foods that you think you want more of the vitamins it holds will suffice.
Russell Blaylock, talks about cells and not the therapy itself, in a nut shell. I was asked not to take supplements and I didn't. What kind of radiation are you having?
Friend does not take supplement so that was not problem – he had a brief class/orientation session on nutrition (I liked this idea) and was given paper work I was not invited to sit in on would of liked to as would of heard directly what they told him he is not a communicative person only what he feels you should know and no more – I did not read all though it but will have to dig it out of folder He eats when and what he wants and you just do not force him to eat I do know during radiation that his taste was off and he did not eat as he should of as i found portions of it in the outside cats dish 🙁 I am with @merpreb follow what your radiologist says – and question him/her as to why ask if there is literature available from them on nutrition during radiation tho in my opinion it should of been given and class/orientation offered
@dianeem. I would agree with @merpreb that the decision to use antioxidants is really dependent on a discussion between you and your physician. They have scholarly journals, conferences and exams that have to be taken. I’m sure your doctor has had many discussions with his/her peers on the use or avoidance of antioxidants. Have a discussion, but listen to medical advice. I hope all goes well for you. Becky
Thank you, @lisalucier, @francine6829, @merpreb, @reibur1951, @becsbuddy, for your responses. I should let you know that my husband is the one who has the brain tumor (GBM, grade IV). The only time we met with the radiation oncologist was May 29 (two weeks after surgery), and at that time when we were hearing about treatment for the first time, I/we weren't thinking about nutrition – just radiation and chemo. We met with the nurse educator June 7, which was when we learned about not taking antioxidants and supplements. Subsequently, I bought the “Natural Strategies…” book, looking for anything I could do to help – and it seems like the only thing we can control is what we eat. I haven’t been able to get an appointment with a nutritionist or dietitian. Need doctor’s orders, and we don’t have that yet.
I went to a session yesterday where I learned more about the proton therapy, and we’ll hold off on the supplements. The next appointment with the radiation oncologist is a week from today, and we’ll plan to discuss adding supplements with him then. Thanks again, everyone!
@dianeour- Good morning. Your radiation oncologist has already suggested no supplements. Even if you get a different opinion you really should stick with his plan. I love my radiation oncologist and trust him. I too had to stop doing things during and after treatment. I gave up a trip to Israel because I couldn't expose myself to any strain to my lung or take the chance of getting ill. It sounds as if you might not trust him. I have no idea how many "zaps" over what period of time that he will prescribe. It may not be that many and you can add supplements right after I'm also sure that there will be blood work if your husband starts developing symptoms that show a need for help.
Your husband will probably need to have measurements taken of his head and for a special mask. This is so the technician ,who runs the computer, will know where to aim those beams! He'll probably also have a form made for his body so that he lies in the same position all the time. It's quite an experience.
What exactly did your husband have removed? How is he feeling? Is he comfortable? Does he have any pain?