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’ve had numerous requests for information regarding specific dietary supplements and herbs that can help to normalize cholesterol profiles. Because there is so much misinformation regarding cholesterol, I want to reiterate that cholesterol is not the evil monster that it is made out to be.
Cholesterol is a lipid that is critical for the proper functioning of the body, and is used to build cell membranes, create sex hormones, aid in immune health and tissue repair; and facilitate digestion. However, elevated LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol, in the presence of prolonged inflammation, oxidation (of LDL cholesterol) and elevated blood glucose and insulin levels can contribute mightily to cardiovascular disease.
Continue reading “Botanical And Dietary Supplement Alternatives To Statins”