A Guide to Dietary Supplements

A Guide to Dietary Supplements

dietary supplements

Millions of people take supplements every day to get the nutrition their bodies need to stay strong. But for ovarian cancer patients, it’s not as easy as simply deciding to incorporate supplements into their daily routines. Some may boost overall health, but others may pose a risk. That’s why talking to your doctor before taking them is so important.  

Only your doctor can tell you if a supplement is safe or won’t conflict with your treatment. However, here is some general information you can use to start making decisions about how dietary supplements fit–or don’t fit–into your care plan. 

Steer Clear of These Supplements 

Certain supplements may be more harmful than beneficial when it comes to ovarian cancer. Talk to your doctor before taking any of these:  

St. John’s Wort: Often heralded for treating depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders, this herbal supplement could potentially interfere with chemotherapy medications, reducing their efficiency. 

Ginger:  A common choice for nausea and vomiting alleviation, it might not be safe with all medications. Its potential to interact with certain drugs necessitates careful consideration before use. 

Grapefruit or grapefruit juice: Known to inhibit liver enzymes, this fruit could interfere with medications, including beta blockers. For those battling ovarian cancer, avoiding grapefruit in all forms is best. 

Acai berry: outed for its health benefits, it could potentially interfere with the effectiveness of specific chemotherapy and radiation treatments due to its antioxidant properties. 

Essiac: This herbal tea mixture, an anti-inflammatory agent and pain reliever, could potentially affect liver metabolism and inhibit chemotherapy. 

B17: Derived from apricot and apple seeds, this supplement is often hailed as a cancer fighter. However, its cyanide content could poison the body. 

Graviola or soursop: Used in traditional medicine, these are potential neurotoxins with limited safety and efficacy research. Oral use may lead to movement disorders and prove harmful. 

Green tea extract: Despite its known antioxidant effects, it can interfere with specific chemotherapy drugs, like bortezomib, used in multiple myeloma treatments.  

Supplements That May Help 

Some supplements are considered generally safe for ovarian cancer patients to use. Still, consult with your care team before you start taking any of the following: 

Selenium: This mineral protects normal cells from damage during chemotherapy and radiation while enhancing treatment effects on cancerous cells. It is available both in food and supplement form. 

Folic acid: Often used in chemotherapy regimens to counteract toxicity without compromising therapeutic effects, folic acid should be taken per specific oncologist instruction. 

Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria support gut health and are generally found safe for chemotherapy treatment. However, rare adverse effects necessitate discussion with healthcare providers before use. 

Consultation with Your Healthcare Team is Key 

When it comes to supplements and ovarian cancer, consultation with your healthcare team before starting any new supplement is vital. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific condition and treatment plan. Consider asking questions like: 

  • Can I take these supplements along with my current medications and treatment? 
  • Are there any potential interactions between these supplements and my cancer treatment? What are the potential side effects of these supplements?  
  • Are there any other natural remedies or lifestyle changes that may be beneficial for managing my symptoms? 

Your healthcare team is a crucial ally in your health journey. Collaborative discussion about your supplements can ensure you make informed decisions about your health and well-being. 

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