5 Natural Products That Can Interfere With Conventional Cancer Care

April is Cancer awareness month. Here’s our most recent article from the Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin – please pass on to any friends or family that might find it helpful! – Tara

It’s easy to assume that natural solutions are also risk-free ones. But as the complexity of a health complaint increases, so do the stakes in self-prescribing. That’s certainly the case with cancer care.

There are supplements and nutrients that can affect cancer treatment, either by inadvertently promoting cancer growth, or by interfering with conventional care.

  1. St John’s Wort and some other herbs like Echinacea, Licorice, Ginseng and Gingko have been shown to interfere with the metabolism of chemotherapeutic drugs. This can be extremely dangerous because many chemotherapeutics have a narrow safe range of use. By taking these herbs you may inadvertently make those drugs ineffective or, worse still, toxic.
  2. Iron favors cancerous cell growth by forming free radicals and suppressing the immune system. Iron-rich sites in the body are often sites of primary cancer growth. There is evidence that the host cells and cancer cells fight over iron – the reason for this is largely unknown. Be cautious and choose multivitamins that are free of, or very low in, iron.
  3. Copper is essential for cancer cells to grow their own blood vessels to ensure they have a continuous supply of nutrients. Anti-copper drugs and diets have been shown to diminish the ability of tumors to make these blood vessels. Choose multivitamins that are low in or free from copper.
  4. Quercetin should not be taken with chemotherapeutics in the taxane family such as Taxol.  It prevents the cancer cell from taxol-induced death, making the drugs less effective.
  5. Curcumin is indicated in many types of cancers, but can interfere with certain chemotherapeutics especially Adriamycin, and Cytoxan.  It inhibits the activation of an enzyme essential to the drugs effectiveness.

Consult a doctor trained in supplement and nutrient interactions before taking any natural health product while undergoing conventional cancer treatment.

You can book a 15-min complimentary visit with a Collingwood naturopath to learn more about alternative cancer care by calling 705-444-5331.

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