Commentary on the Widely Disseminated Article entitled “Dietary
Supplement Use During Chemotherapy and Survival Outcomes of Patients with
Breast Cancer Enrolled in a Cooperative Group Clinical Trial (SWOG SO221)”
Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, December 2019
The DELCaP study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology evaluating
the use of dietary supplements during chemotherapy, has alarmed many patients
and raised troubling questions for health practitioners.
The purpose of the study was to evaluate associations between ‘antioxidant’ supplement
use and breast cancer outcomes in light of the widespread use of supplements
during cancer therapies and the ongoing debate over concerns that antioxidants
could reduce the cytotoxic effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated
by chemotherapy agents. The authors claim that the use of dietary supplements
before and during chemotherapy is associated with an increased risk of
recurrence and, to a lesser extent, death.1
Continue reading “A Clinician’s Perspective on the Use of ‘Antioxidant’ Dietary Supplements During Chemotherapy: Exploring the ‘Body of Evidence’ in Favor of Supporting the Health of Breast Cancer Patients”
In a recent article published in Medscape, the authors state that antioxidants are not only useless in preventing cancer, but quite possibly promote cancer growth. The target audience for this article is primary care clinicians, oncologists, nurses, and other clinicians who care for patients at risk for cancer, with the purported goal of providing “medical news to primary care clinicians and other healthcare professionals in order to enhance patient care.”
I find this article disturbing, to say the least. Here’s why:
1) The article is blatantly biased. The authors point out only the few studies that have concluded negative results, while totally ignoring all of the positive studies—of which there are several hundred, or more. I do not understand how in good conscience they can skew the research findings in this way. Furthermore, I’m not certain of what they have to gain from this inaccurate representation of the total body of research available.
2) Their theory of antioxidants in relationship to cancer is completely wrong. The studies they use for their findings involve mostly synthetic forms of vitamin or mineral isolates. This is far removed from nature, and something I would never recommend. It’s essential to understand that the negative impact and possible increase in cancer incidence is related to a substance being a ‘PRO-OXIDANT’ and not an anti-oxidant. For example, high doses of vitamin C, K-3, beta-carotene, and E are all pro-oxidative when used as isolates, in high doses, and in certain conditions. It’s well established that smokers who take synthetic beta-carotene have an increased incidence of lung cancer. This does not mean that antioxidants cause cancer.
3) Details matter! It raises my ire when people use the word antioxidant in a general way. What specifically are they talking about? For example, the researchers for this article refer to the SELECT trial. Let’s explore this in a bit more depth to understand what the trial really reveals about antioxidants.
Continue reading “Do Antioxidants Prevent or Accelerate Cancer?”
I look forward to my morning cup of java and my afternoon cappuccino. Living in Ashland, Oregon, I am fortunate to have high-quality coffee and espresso available—fair trade, organic, locally roasted, and freshly ground. Delicious coffee is such an integral part of our daily lives that a beautiful and very old Pavoni Italian cappuccino/espresso machine occupies a prominent place in our kitchen at home.
Continue reading “The Pros And Cons Of Coffee”
In last week’s post, I talked about the toxicity of commercial sunscreens, and why they are bad for your health. I also mentioned that the sun is not the primary cause of skin aging and skin cancer, and promised to share my conclusions with you this week.
Despite the enormously bad press the sun has received in the past few decades, all skin damage is not the fault of the sun. The root cause of skin aging (including wrinkling, hyperpigmentation, and loss of collagen) as well as skin cancer is oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). While the sun is one of the factors that create ROS, there are many other culprits, including external factors (air pollution and chemical exposure) and internal factors (poor diet, emotional stress, lack of sleep, and the natural aging process). ROS are believed to trigger skin cancer and photosensitivity diseases by activating proliferative and cell survival signaling that can alter apoptotic pathways (the self-destruction of abnormal cells).
Continue reading “The Dangers of Commercial Sunscreens, Part 2”