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Question
Posted by: tambotam | 2004/10/14

Very confused about supplements during chemo!

Please, please help me!
My mom was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was malignant but successfully removed in surgery. she is now undergoing radiation treatment (with two weeks to go out of six) and is also taking Temoxil as a chemo tablet every day for the next two weeks and then only five days out of every month for six more months.

Her other medication includes eglynol (anti depressant), epilim (anti convulsive), decadron (anti inflammatory 0,5mg three times a day) an antibiotic and probiotic and zantac (150mg twice a day).

Initial advice I received was to avoid all supplements during this time, except for Glutamine, Whey protein and something called Clear Form - which helps with detoxification (an amipro product full of vitamins and things like taurine). We have also been giving mom salmon oil capsules and bear claw garlic and have made fresh juices daily.

A few days ago I visited a nutritionalist who told us to cut red meat, dairy, fruit and gluten out of her diet and suggested Ester C, CoQ10, Procydin, Barley Green (and Just Carrots and Redibeet juice concentrates). These are strong antioxidants and as I was orginally advised that antioxidants are to be avoided so as not to interfere with the chemo drug - I am extremely confused! Please could you tell me what you think is best?!

We are giving mom one portion of whey protein (17grams) and one 10mg sachet of glutamine a day, as well as only one scoop of the Clear Form (instead of two). She is also having two glasses of fresh carrot and spinach/cabbage or tomato juice daily. Is that sufficient if she is eating well - we are sticking to organic produce, lots of fish, beans etc. I know you can take too much beta-carotene, so how do we know what is too much? Also, will it harm her to have fruit, organic butter or cheese occassionally?

My other question is : I had heard that flax seed oil / seeds were excellent mixed with yoghurt or cottage cheese, however, I have also heard that it is not good to have too much omega 3 and that the salmon oil and olive oil is better? What sort of quantities should we be looking at for both?

I really don't know how to decide what to do and feel so powerless, so I would be most grateful for your help. It is very difficult making these decisions when it is someone you love that is involved!

I know I have a lot of questions, but I really am desperate for some sound advice...thank you for your time!
Kind regards

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Our expert says:
Expert ImagePharmacist

T,

As stated in question 1328 the best would be to consult her oncologist regarding the use of an antioxidant. It does often happen that they do not prefer the use of certain antioxidants during treatment. Since the oncologist is the one you are depending on for treatment I'd recommend not getting too many opinions since you are confusing yourself. See what supplements he recommends and make sure at what dosages he prefer her to take it.

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