Everybody knows that conventional cancer therapies like radiation and chemotherapy are very toxic. But I'm here to tell you that in many cases they are needed. Why? It's simple. While natural therapies can be effective in some cancers, they often fail in aggressive or advanced cancers. The best way to approach these cancers is by combining natural therapies with conventional treatment. A recent article on the protective effects of a particular vitamin in people getting chemotherapy underlines the need for a combined approach.
Researchers decided to investigate whether or not taking vitamin E would be able to prevent a common complication of chemotherapy called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, or CIPN for short. CIPN is a serious condition. It happens when certain chemotherapy drugs damage the nerves in the arms and legs. It causes numbness and pain in the hands, fingers, feet, and legs, which can lead to weakness and a loss of equilibrium and balance. More often than not, the condition ends up being permanent. Even stopping the drugs won't bring about recovery.
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To investigate whether or not taking vitamin E prevents CIPN, the researchers performed a comprehensive search of all published articles from 1973 through July 2011 that looked at this question. They specifically analyzed controlled trials that compared vitamin E supplementation with placebo. They found a total of five studies involving 319 patients. When they pooled the results, they discovered that, "Vitamin E supplementation (300-600 mg/day) had a significant effect on CIPN prevention." How significant? Compared to the patients who got the placebo, the patients getting vitamin E were 57% less likely to get CIPN. And that's not all.
Of all the chemo drugs, the one that most commonly causes CIPN is cisplatin. When they looked specifically at the effects of vitamin E supplements on cisplatin, the risk was reduced as much as 74%! And what about side effects from vitamin E? That's simple — zero side effects. The authors concluded their findings with this, "Available data included in this meta-analysis show that vitamin E supplementation might significantly prevent CIPN."
So, if you or any of your friends or loved ones are getting chemotherapy, tell them to ask their doctor if the drugs they're getting could cause CIPN. If the answer is yes, tell them to take 600 mg (400 IU) of natural vitamin E every day. The vitamin E that I recommend in my clinic is Unique E by A.C. Grace Company. As its name implies, this product is a unique blend of all of the natural forms of vitamin E. You can find it online and in some health food stores.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Eum S, Choi HD, et al. Protective effects of vitamin E on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2013;83(2):101-11.