Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes, and other substances that may be “supplemented,” or added to a diet, in order to complete dietary needs or to make up for a nutrition deficiency-they are not intended to replace a healthy diet. Dietary supplements may be found in many forms, including pills, capsules, powders, drinks, or energy bars. Supplement use can also be considered a type of complementary or alternative medicine. It is important to remember that supplements are not required to go through the same stringent testing as over the counter and prescribed medicine, and are not regulated as closely by the Food and Drug Administration.
While there is no scientific evidence that an individual’s diet promotes curing cancer, medical nutrition therapy provided by a registered dietitian may be a component of your regular medical care. You should be aware that some Dietary Supplements that are potentially helpful in decreasing the risk of developing cancer have been shown to reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy during cancer treatment. There are also many possible side effects from certain diets, such as weakness, diarrhea, or kidney problems, and many claims made by manufacturers of such supplements are not scientifically proven.
Minerals are nutrients that are required to maintain health. Your body needs minerals either from your diet or from supplements. Examples of mineral include calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Antioxidants protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals (by-products of the body’s normal chemical processes) and can also protect against some side effects of cancer treatment such as organ damage, low blood counts, and diarrhea.
Enzymes are proteins that are produced by the body to start and accelerate chemical processes such as digestion. Some enzymes can be taken as supplements.
Amino acids are the building blocks of the body’s proteins. Proteins are necessary for growth and development. Some amino acids are produced by the body and some (essential amino acids) come from your diet.
Plant extracts are sometimes used by practitioners of Chinese medicine to help nourish the body. Traditional Chinese medicine works to restore a balance of energy, body, and spirit for good health. When cancer causes imbalances, practitioners may attempt treatment with combinations of herbs, minerals, and plant extracts.
Hormones are chemicals produced in glands in the body that affect the functions of organs and tissues.