Nutritional Supplement during Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer – new study
- 134 patients diagnosed with localized prostate cancer were studied
- All patients were followed for a minimum period of 5 years after completion of therapy unless lost to follow-up or died.
- 69 patients elected to receive naturopathic/nutritional supplements (NNS): green tea extract (500–750 mg two times a day, standardized to 80% catechins), melatonin (20 mg daily at bedtime), vitamin C (500–1000 mg three times a day), and vitamin E (200–400 IU two times a day)
- 65 patients who elected not to receive supplements
- The results of this study demonstrate that NNS with antioxidant activity do not interfere with the effectiveness of radiation therapy as a definitive treatment for limited-stage prostate cancer.
- There was no PSA difference with the NNS group and the no supplement group
- Both groups showed decline in sexual function but the no supplement group declined more rapidly than the NNS group.
My Take on This:
Radiation oncologists discourage patients to consume antioxidant (AO) supplements do to fear that the AO’s will interfere with the treatment. Radiation therapy is a PRO-oxidant therapy (produces free-radicals) and its pro-oxidant activity is partially how the therapy works as explained here.
The different forms or radiation therapy for prostate cancer are found here at prostate.net.
The problem is that while trying to kill the original cancer with radiation therapy a few unwanted consequences may occur:
- Damage to the bladder (radiation cystitis) where somewhere down the line the patient develops urinary symptoms.
- Damage to penile tissue and nerves where impotence may occur
- Theoretically, other tumors may lurk in the future as mentioned here in the New York Times.
Most of my prostate cancer patients undergoing radiation take Advanced Prostate Support (APS), a group of naturopathic supplement pills (7 pills) I suspect offers protection from radiation toxicity at minimum – at least that has been my clinical observation. The goal is for radiation therapy to damage cancer cells while targeted dietary supplements like APS protect healthy cells without interfering with cancer cell death. Whether or not APS synergistically works with radiation therapy in having anti-cancer activity has not been objectively evaluated. My observation dictates a positive response for patients: less fatigue, functional with work and life, no to little urinary symptoms and stabilize PSA (most likely from the radiation therapy).
Before the Braun et al. clinical trial, there’e been no objective evidence indicating the unfounded idea that dietary supplement interferes with radiation therapy for men with prostate cancer. It’s important, however, for patients consuming dietary supplement during radiation to be guided by a nutritionally oriented physician or a naturopathic doctor – the Braun study highlights this one fundamental point in their conclusion.
Let me know your experience taking the dietary supplement while undergoing radiation if this is the case for you.
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Braun DP, Gupta D, Birdsall TC, Sumner M, Staren ED. Effect of Naturopathic and Nutritional Supplement Treatment on Tumor Response, Control, and Recurrence in Patients with Prostate Cancer Treated with Radiation Therapy. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Oct 4.