Saturday, October 17, 2020

Combination of Natural Supplements as Adjunct Cancer Therapy

A question I'm sometimes asked is “which supplements to choose” from this list of 78 natural anticancer substances. It really depends on the type and stage of cancer. Some cancers grow very slowly, like early-stage prostate cancer. The 5-year survival for this cancer in stages 1 and 2 is nearly 100%. In such cases, you probably shouldn't do anything outside standard medical treatment, unless you're eating a pro-inflammatory diet or have vitamin D deficiency.  According to this Phase III clinical trial, eating a diet high in vegetables may slow down disease progression in patients with prostate cancer.

However, if the prognosis is considerably less favorable it makes sense to combine standard therapy with a diet designed to slow down cancer, anticancer-supplements, and/or alternative therapies. The emphasis here is on trying to enhance standard care, not delay, or substitute any part of the conventional medical protocol because, in many cases, the decision to opt-out of (additional) conventional treatments seems to worsen outcome. Also, new technologies are rapidly changing tomorrow's cancer treatments.

But there's no doubt it's possible to improve outcomes with various natural products, as this randomized study with aloe arborescens in patients with metastatic cancer, and many other studies have shown. Some natural supplements can be very helpful adjuvant to drug therapies, for example through chemosensitization of tumor cells. Unfortunately, it seems that very often there's little or no follow-through when a readily available natural product shows great potential in cancer treatment.

That said, I've made a shorter list of supplements with anti-cancer properties. The main criteria used in this selection are safety, accessibility, chemopreventive potential, action against many types of cancer, different mechanisms of anticancer activity, possible synergies (see the arrows below), and scientific evidence of efficacy.

Supplements should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Supplements or herbal preparations shouldn't be used in combination with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, or any other cancer treatment unless the safety and efficacy of such combinations are established. It's especially important to make sure anything you add to the standard treatment will further improve the efficacy of that treatment, hence the importance of discussing any addition of supplements or dietary interventions during active cancer treatment with the oncologist.
  1. Artemisinin🛈 
      •  Magnolol   Sulforaphane🛈*         ↑    EGCg IP6*
    •        HDACi ðŸ›ˆ    → Melatonin  Curcumin ┘  Black cumin seed*
    •  Sodium Butyrate (+ Zn) →  Vit. D3🛈*     ↘ Berberine*
      • Aloe Vera    (Metformin)🟊🠕         
    • → AllicinðŸ”ĩ
    •  AHCC🛈  Fucoidan🛈 (+ 500mg ascorbic acid)
  2. ↳ Curcumin🛈
    •  *EGCg ðŸ›ˆ ðŸ‹
      • → Luteolin 
      •  *IP6 & Inositol🛈 (+ 10mg Zn) (+ 500mg ascorbic acid)
      •  Milk Thistle  
    •  *Black cumin seed oil🛈   Resolvins🛈 
    •          Melatonin🛈 (evening, 9 - 11pm) â„đ   Aloe vera
    •      ↘ Vitamin D3       Resolvins (+ Mg)
    •              *Sulforaphane→↖ Lycopene🛈
    •                           (+ Se)  
    • *Sulforaphane   (aspirin) ðŸŸŠ
    •  Ascorbic acid🛈 (don't combine with Artemisinin)
      • Riboflavin
      •  Ashwagandha (T⏶) *Sulforaphane
    •            ↘ ↓ Holy basil/Tulsi
    • → Galangal
    •  Azadirachta indica/Neem
  3. Mistletoe  Chaga🛈 (potent antioxidant)
💊 To improve absorption and bioavailability of fat-soluble supplements take with some ghee butter and /or coconut oil. Omega-3 fatty acids in ghee butter are mostly DHA and linoleic acid. The saturated fats in coconut oil consist primarily of lauric acid and myristic acid. In addition, special formulations can offer improved bioavailability. The optimal dosing of the compounds mentioned in this blog is not known.{ref} Please check the information 🛈 on each compound for suggested dosing and more.

⚡ Potential Synergistic Effects

Often a natural compound exhibits anticancer activity at concentrations that are too high to get any significant benefit. That's why synergies are so important because when taken in the right combination, some compounds become effective at much lower concentrations. 

 synergy with Artemisinin
 artemisinin with HDACi
 possible additive or synergistic antineoplastic effect
possibly synergistic
likely to be a good combination
  the combination may offer hepaprotective effects
 Metformin: possible additive effects/potentiation with Vitamin D, Sodium Butyrate, and Berberine (metformin is a prescription drug to treat high blood sugar levels caused by type 2 diabetes). ðŸŸŠ Caution with mutations in BRAF.
→ because of the low bioavailability of Curcumin, consider combining curcumin with other natural products that may enhance curcumin's anticancer properties:
** On days/cycles with Artemisinin avoid Curcumin and EGCg because these are iron chelators and could reduce the effectiveness of Artemisinin.

(+ ): depending on your diet you may need to supplement this mineral.

* = connections

🏃  Aerobic activity improves outcomesAt least 20 studies of people with breast, colorectal, prostate, and ovarian cancer have suggested that physically active cancer survivors have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and improved survival compared with those who are inactive.

🌞  Sunshine, Vitamin D, and cancer

🍔 10 Dietary Strategies to put the brakes on cancer growth

🟊   Drug repurposing in cancer therapy

 Ზ    A good article on the mind/body connection in healing.

 ♪     Healing Sounds & Music

Cautions regarding combining supplements and medication

✅ Read this first: Warnings, Terms of Use & Disclaimer

WARNING Don't exceed the maximum suggested dosagesstart with the lowest possible dose, and gradually increase if no side effect is observed.

If you take medications always check if the supplement(s) can be combined with those drugs, especially with chemotherapy, diabetes medications, anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications (including aspirin), benzodiazepines, etc. Ask a 'Drug Interaction Specialist' Online.

Stop taking supplements a week before surgery, or consult with your surgeon.

To combine various supplements add one at a time, start with the lowest possible dose, and gradually increase if no side effect is observed.

To discontinue a supplement taper off by cutting to a half-dose for a week before stopping.

Dosage, but also time is crucial to achieving a therapeutic effect.

A partial list of studies and reviews:

  1. From ancient herb to modern drug: Artemisia annua and artemisinin for cancer therapy.
  2. Methods for the treatment of cancer using piperlongumine and piperlongumine analogs
  3. The central role of citrate in the metabolism of cancer cells. "citrate has demonstrated anti-cancer properties when administered in excess, sensitizing cancer cells to chemotherapy."
  4. Turkey Tail and Polysaccharide-K
  5. Red (Panax) ginseng and cancer treatment.
  6. Absorption, metabolism, anti-cancer effect and molecular targets of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG): An updated review.
  7. Activation of tumor suppressor LKB1 by honokiol abrogates cancer stem-like phenotype in breast cancer via inhibition of oncogenic Stat3.
  8. Curcumin decreases Warburg effect in cancer cells by down-regulating pyruvate kinase M2 via mTOR-HIF1Îą inhibition
  9. Berberine Enhances Chemosensitivity and Induces Apoptosis Through Dose-orchestrated AMPK Signaling in Breast Cancer
  10. Curcumin And Berberine – Offers New Hope In The Treatment Of Breast And Other Cancers?
  11. Anti-cancer effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino (Jiaogulan)
  12. Withaferin A (WFA) inhibits tumor growth and metastasis by targeting ovarian cancer stem cells
  13. Therapeutic Interventions Using Ursolic Acid for Cancer Treatment
  14. Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of cancer
  15. Recent advances in the anti-cancer properties of Nigella sativa, a widely used food additive
  16. Phycocyanin: A Potential Drug for Cancer Treatment
  17. Pyrroloquinoline quinone induces chondrosarcoma cell apoptosis by increasing intracellular reactive oxygen species
  18. Oleanolic Acid Alters Multiple Cell Signaling Pathways: Implication in Cancer Prevention and Therapy
  19. Molecular Iodine Induces Caspase-independent Apoptosis in Human Breast Carcinoma Cells Involving the Mitochondria-mediated Pathway
  20. Brown Seaweed Fucoidan Inhibits Cancer Progression by Dual Regulation of mir-29c/ADAM12 and miR-17-5p/PTEN Axes in Human Breast Cancer Cells
  21. D-limonene rich volatile oil from blood oranges inhibits angiogenesis, metastasis and cell death in human colon cancer cells
  22. A novel therapeutic anticancer property of raw garlic extract via injection but not ingestion
  23. Nature curing cancer – review on structural modification studies with natural active compounds having anti-tumor efficiency
  24. Clinical Response of Metastatic Breast Cancer to Multi-targeted Therapeutic Approach: A Single Case Report
  25. Effects of supplements on medicines
  26. How does turmeric/curcumin interact with coffee/caffeine?
  27. Microalgae in modern cancer therapy: Current knowledge
  28. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function
  29. Vegetables, fruit, and colon cancer in the Iowa Women's Health Study
  30. Tumor Angiogenesis as a Target for Dietary Cancer Prevention
  31. Short chain fatty acids enriched fermentation metabolites of soluble dietary fibre from Musa paradisiaca drives HT29 colon cancer cells to apoptosis
  32. Natural Products and Synthetic Analogs as a Source of Antitumor Drugs
  33. Ursolic Acid—A Pentacyclic Triterpenoid with aWide Spectrum of Pharmacological Activities
  34. Plants Against Cancer: A Review on Natural Phytochemicals in Preventing and Treating Cancers and Their Druggability
  35. Salvia miltiorrhiza: Chemical and pharmacological review of a medicinal plant
  36. Phytochemicals of garlic: Promising candidates for cancer therapy
  37. Selenium a Potential Treatment for Cancer Metastasis
  38. Phenylbutyrate-induced glutamine depletion in humans: effect on leucine metabolism.
  39. Getting the Balance Right – Vitamin D Co-Factors
  40. Cancer Cells Upregulate NRF2 Signaling to Adapt to Autophagy Inhibition
  41. Autophagy supplies the amino acids necessary for driving mitochondrial OXPHOS in glycolysis-suppressed cells
  42. Synergistic Interactions in Natural Products and Medication
  43. Curcumin Nicotinate Selectively Induces Cancer Cell Apoptosis and Cycle Arrest through a P53-Mediated Mechanism
  44. Retrolective Studies on the Survival of Cancer Patients Treated With Mistletoe Extracts: A Meta-analysis
  45. Upon glycolytic suppression in multiple types of tumor cells, intracellular energy metabolism is reprogrammed toward mitochondrial OXPHOS in an autophagy-dependent manner to ensure cellular survival.
  46. Role of Plants in Stage IV Cancer
  47. Using the Heat-Shock Response To Discover Anticancer Compounds that Target Protein Homeostasis "Surprisingly, many of the strongly active compounds identified were natural products representing five diverse chemical classes (limonoids, curvularins, withanolides, celastraloids, and colletofragarones)"
  48. Neem components as potential agents for cancer prevention and treatment
  49. Anticancer and Cytotoxic Potential of Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Tulasi (Ocimum sanctum) and Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Extracts on HeLa cell line
  50. Curcumin-Artesunate Based Polymeric Nanoparticle; Antiplasmodial and Toxicological Evaluation in Murine Model
  52. Dying Cells Have Cellular 'Death Code'
  53. Peptides & Proteins
  54. Host defense peptides and peptidomimetics as new weapons for cancer treatment
  55. Synthetic and natural iron chelators: therapeutic potential and clinical use
  56. Natural Compound Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors (HDACi): Synergy with Inflammatory Signaling Pathway Modulators and Clinical Applications in Cancer
  57. Research Strategies in the Study of the Pro-Oxidant Nature of Polyphenol Nutraceuticals
  58. Inhibitors of DNA Methyltransferases From Natural Sources: A Computational Perspective
  59. Pathways in cancer - Homo sapiens (human)
This post was first published in July 2018 and has been updated several times since. Previous versions of this post are available on