The #Science and #Controversy of #Supplementing for #Cancer

More than 80 percent of adults with cancer take at least one dietary supplement or use one or more as a complementary therapy. They include fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Still, many physicians warn against supplementing during cancer treatment.

Oncology patients are at increased risk for weight and lean body mass losses, as well as nutrient deficiencies and not eating enough as a side effect of some therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Because nutritional status influences disease prognosis, tolerance of treatment and quality of life for those diagnosed with cancer, nutrition intervention should be the health professional’s primary focus. If food interventions have proven inadequate, dietary supplements may be warranted.

Emerging research suggests some compounds in dietary supplements may help manage side effects of cancer treatment, helping to reduce discomfort caused by certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Evidence Analysis Library has found using supplements containing fish oil resulted in weight gain or stabilization in adult oncology patients who experienced weight loss because of treatment, although more research is needed to determine the optimal dose.

The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, provide anti-inflammatory effects that may help limit the neurotoxic effects of some chemotherapy drugs. However, caution is advised when taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements because side effects are possible, including an increase in bleeding and drug interactions.

Multivitamin and multimineral supplements that provide 100 percent of the Daily Value for nutrients can be considered safe for healthy individuals, but a person undergoing cancer treatment should be assessed by a physician or registered dietitian nutritionist to determine if this type of supplementation is needed based on symptoms and the amount of calories taken in from food. Certain minerals have been shown to reduce side effects of cancer treatment; strontium has been used to relieve bone pain associated with prostate and breast cancers.

Some research on antioxidant supplements has shown benefits, including reduced side effects, but many physicians fear these supplements may reduce the effectiveness of cancer treatment therapy. Study results remain mixed due to the variability in supplement dose, intake and treatment type. Curcumin (present in turmeric) has been shown to inhibit enzymes that stimulate inflammation; preliminary research suggests taking a dietary supplement containing turmeric extract may stabilize disease progression in some patients with treatment refractory colorectal cancer. However, curcumin can cause blood thinning, so caution should be used.

Glutamine powder, a conditionally essential amino acid, is another supplement that may help lessen cancer treatment side effects, such as mouth sores and diarrhea. Research shows it appears safe in doses up to 40 grams per day and appears to decrease the incidence, severity and duration of mouth pain in some patients undergoing chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant.

Many supplement interventions have not been studied in oncology patients, so additional research on safety and efficacy is critical. Research will likely continue to emerge on dietary supplements to help maximize the therapeutic effect while reducing toxicity of chemotherapy drugs.

Patients undergoing cancer treatment often take multiple drugs, which increases their risk of potential interactions. For safety, it’s important to disclose all supplements to health care providers and not begin taking new supplements without clearance from an oncologist. In addition, use caution and avoid products that claim to be miracle cures, breakthroughs or new discoveries, as well as those that claim to have benefits but no side effects, or are based on a secret ingredient or method. The American Cancer Society advises, “If a supplement claims to do the same thing as a prescription drug, you are right to be doubtful.”

Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, is a health writer and owner of Champagne Nutrition specializing in integrative health, oncology nutrition and nutrigenomics in Seattle. 

6 #Tips to a #Successful #Low-FODMAP #Elimination #Diet

Following a low-FODMAP diet can feel restrictive. Low-FODMAP diet educator Kate Scarlata, RDN, LDN offers expert tips to help people with IBS overcome barriers of the elimination diet.

Don’t Ditch Fiber

Picks for low-FODMAP fiber sources include chia seeds, rolled oats, oat bran, white potatoes with skin, navel oranges, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and quinoa.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important for people with digestive issues such as IBS. In addition to water, try iced tea, seltzer water or club soda with a splash of 100-percent fruit juice and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

You Can Still Have Dairy

Modifying lactose doesn’t mean the low-FODMAP diet is dairy-free. Choose low-lactose foods such as hard cheese and lactose-free milk, yogurt and cottage cheese.

Keep Snacks on Hand

Being prepared means you’ll never go hungry or feel forced to eat high-FODMAP foods. Try nut butter with gluten-free crackers, rice cakes or a banana.

Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

Make your own single-serving instant oatmeal by combining ¼ cup quick oats, 1 tablespoon walnuts and 1 teaspoon chia seeds with hot water.

Know Your Soy Options

Soy can be confusing when it comes to FODMAPs. Soy milk and silken tofu are high in FODMAPs, but firm tofu is low in FODMAPs and soybean oil contains no FODMAPs.

#Bad #diet can lead to #weight #gain

western-dietA bad diet has consequences on the immune system which can lead to weight gain and other signs of obesity, a recent study has revealed.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Immunology, the researchers studied the impact of a western-style high fat diet on the immune system and came out with two surprising results.

“Our research looked at whether bad diets have consequences before we notice an increase in body weight. We found that over-consumption of saturated fats is a form of malnutrition: one that needs to be taken seriously,” Abigail Pollock, a researcher at the University of New South Wales, said.

The researchers examined the impact of dietary lipids on a class of immune cells — T lymphocytes or T cells in which a diet rich saturated fats can impact immune function.

“We fed mice a western-style high fat diet for nine weeks to observe if this diet would impact the T cell response before the animal gains weight. Despite our hypothesis that the T cell response would be weakened we actually saw the opposite: the percentage of T cells multiplying increased,” added Pollock.

One clinical ramification of overactive T cells may be autoimmune disease where the immune system begins attacking healthy parts of the body, suggested the study.

According to the study, the other unexpected finding was that T cell responses were altered even in the absence of obesity and obesity induced inflammation.

Dietary lipids do in fact directly influence T cell activation and responsiveness by altering the composition and the structure of the T cell membrane, suggested the study.

“T cells are actually affected prior to the mice becoming overweight. Lipids in the diet change the abundance of lipids in the cell membrane, which in turn changes the structure of the cell altering the responsiveness of the T cells and changing the immune response,” added Pollock.

5 #ideal table top #plants to make your #work #desk lively

A work desk not only sets up the mood of a working environment but is also a reflection of one’s personality. Considering the space crunch with piles of paper and stationery on the desk, decking up your workstation with minimal accessories is the way to go. And what’s better than jazzing up your desk with table-top plants, making the place look lively.

To know more about the plants which would be ideal for an office environment, we spoke to Sanya Ahuja, Founder & CEO of Greenish- a plant gifting company. “Table-top plants require minimal maintenance and do not occupy a lot of space—they are less than half-a-feet tall, thus making them suitable for the office desk. An ideal plant is chosen on the basis of whether it acts as an air purifier i.e., absorbs toxins from the environment, beautifies or is easy on maintenance. They are mostly priced between INR 450-600,” said Ahuja.

Read to know more about the five ideal table top plants, according to Ahuja, and pick the one which would make your desk look lively at work:

1. Golden Pothos

Golden Pothos belongs to the money plant family and is very easy to maintain too. This is an air purifying plant which means it absorbs toxins from the air apart from producing oxygen. They are tolerant of low light conditions and erratic watering—they need to be watered only when its soil starts to dry. It needs to be kept in the sunlight only once a week. The beauty of this plant lies in the texture of its leaves.

2. Syngonium

There are six to seven shades of Syngonium of which pink and green have a greater demand. These air-purifying plants are preferably grown using organic manure instead of soil. Organic manure is light in weight, has more nutrients than plain soil and it also tends to retain moisture for a longer time. Thus, this plant needs to be watered and kept in the sunlight only once a week, making them an ideal choice for the busy bees.

3. Philodendron

The beauty of this plant lies in the ‘cut’ of its leaf —the fast growing Philodendron hybrid has red leaves and extremely attractive foliage. It requires bright but indirect exposure to sunlight once a week to get the best foliage colour and should be watered only when the soil dries up. The brown leaves could be cut or trimmed as per the need.

4. Sansevieria

Interestingly known as mother-in-law’s tongue, these are air purifying plants and are available in different types like straight, golden and green. These plants have hard-textured leaves and hence are perfect for beginners. Sansevieria needs to be watered once in few days and are also ideal to be kept in bedrooms as they are known to produce oxygen even at night.

5. Chlorophytum

This again is an air-purifying plant. They have dark green leaves with white margins and are extremely tolerant to harsh conditions– thus making them an ideal choice for beginners or forgetful owners.