During your cancer journey, there are many ways you can support yourself holistically through naturopathic medicine and holistic nutrition.
These alternative therapies do not replace conventional cancer treatments, but can support and enhance the functionality of conventional treatments for some patients during or after their active treatments.
Did you know that when you take a vitamin or mineral supplement, you don’t actually absorb 100% of it?
That can be for many reasons like age, gut dysfunction, or fillers in the supplements. Your body also has to convert the vitamins into their active forms and we lose some of it in the process.
Secondly, our bowels actually have a tolerance for how much of a supplement they can handle before there are some negative side effects like diarrhea or vomiting.
Unlike supplements that are absorbed by the stomach, IVs are run through the kidneys, so they’re unaffected by the liver and the gut.
This means we can do a much higher dose and 100 percent of it is absorbed by the body.
Not all IVs can be done while someone is on active treatment, so it’s very individual based on chemotherapy and the oncologist’s recommendations.
What we can usually do is administer IVs during someone’s break weeks, but this is always assessed on a case by case basis.
One IV therapy treatment in particular is really powerful and very interesting. It’s Vitamin C! Who knew!!
IV vitamin C can help patients with some of their side effects. And it also helps sensitize the chemotherapy (make it more effective).
It’s important to note that vitamin C IV isn’t compatible with all chemotherapies, which is why it’s important to work with a practitioner who works with cancer patients.
Intravenous vitamin C reduces inflammation. It can promote tissue and wound healing repair. It's helpful for many chemical reactions in the body. And it's very helpful for the immune system. So therefore, it can play a supportive role in cancer care.
I know what you’re thinking: No, you can’t just take a ton of vitamin C in supplement form and have it equate to an IV.
When taking vitamin C in capsule form, you can only take so much (about 2-5 grams) before you get diarrhea. When administering vitamin C through an IV, the dosage can begin at 10 grams.
There is a lot more vitamin C that's absorbed and it's going to stay in your body for at least six to nine hours vs urinating out the excess vitamin C from a capsule within a few hours.
Vitamin C is known to be an antioxidant. When it's administered in very, very high doses (like through IV therapy), it creates hydrogen peroxide in the cells, which is toxic to cancer cells, but nontoxic to regular cells. Patients can use that on their chemotherapy off weeks as a benefit to helping them get their energy back and feel better overall. This effect is not achieved with capsules.
Another cool thing about IVs is that they are very customizable and can be tailored to a patient’s unique needs so if they're deficient in other nutrients, they can add those into the IV alongside vitamin C.
Mistletoe is an aggressive therapy option commonly used as an integrative cancer treatment plan in Europe. Even more than intravenous vitamin C.
In terms of the research, it's actually way more researched than IV vitamin C. And in clinical trials that involve both humans and animals, which is also important. It's extremely safe and it's nontoxic.
Mistletoe (yes, THAT mistletoe you see people kissing under at Christmas) contains special compounds that have immuno-stimulating properties.
It helps the immune system by increasing the natural killer cells while at the same time protects the DNA of the healthy cells. So it has cancer-killing effects, but also protects healthy cells.
Mistletoe is heavily studied with many chemotherapeutic agents as well as radiation. So it is safe to use and it can be administered two ways: an intravenous treatment, or the second way, which is easier for patients, is called subcutaneous, which is basically an injection under the skin.
Both IV therapy and mistletoe are great options for people after active treatments ends, as part of a holistic prevention protocol, especially because pharmacists and oncologists are more likely to be on board since there’s no interaction with chemotherapy or radiation.
There are a couple of medicinal mushrooms, like reishi and coriolus, that are heavily researched, especially with breast cancer.
But before you go off and buy random medicinal mushroom supplements, you need to proceed cautiously.
Mushrooms need to be extracted properly to achieve the right therapeutic dosages and not harm the liver.
This is why it’s important to work with a qualified practitioner so that you are fully supported and know that what you are taking completely addresses your goals and enables you to feel safe and supported in your prevention plan.
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