Supplements, sometimes called nutraceuticals, are refined and highly potent mixtures of bioactive compounds, vitamins, minerals or botanicals. They can contain multiple ingredients or one single isolated compound. Professional grade supplements are standardized and have guaranteed potencies which may not be the case with supplements bought online or in health food stores.
It is estimated that over 50% of patients with cancer are using complementary and integrative care (CAM) before, during and after their diagnosis. We live in the information age and patients’ now have access to vast amounts of information. When diagnosed with cancer many people look online to see what supplements may benefit them. Or well-intentioned friends and family members recommend certain supplements. Many patients come to us already taking a long list of supplements. While many of these supplements may be beneficial, context is important. A certain supplement may not be beneficial in a specific type of cancer or alongside certain conventional therapies. In some cases, it may even be harmful and interfere with their conventional therapy. That is why it is important to work with a naturopathic doctor focusing on CancerCare. We are extensively trained in the use of supplements in the oncology setting and can recommend supplements that are both efficacious and safe for you to take.
Most studies looking at supplements study them in the context of preventing cancer, increasing the efficacy of conventional treatment, and potentially treating cancers. Supplements are a broad category consisting of hundreds, if not thousands, of different compounds. Different bioactive components can be used in different scenarios. Depending on your specific needs we may recommend supplements to help improve your quality of life, reduce side effects or enhance the efficacy of conventional therapy. We may also use supplements to target pro-cancer pathways which may reduce the growth, invasion and metastasis of your cancer. At OWIC we use supplements in the context of a comprehensive CancerCare plan. It takes both an understanding of conventional oncology treatments as well as supplements to safely integrate them into a CancerCare protocol. Naturopathic doctors at OWIC are uniquely qualified to do this.