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Do vitamins and minerals interfere with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy?

By March 13, 2012November 14th, 20232 Comments

I am frequently asked this by patients because they have been advised not to take supplements during treatment. The scientific literature has clearly addressed this question:

•The early clinical studies were performed at the National Cancer Institute using an antioxidant called N-Acetyl Cysteine that was found to protect the heart from the cardiac toxicity of adriamycin, but did not interfere with the tumor-killing capability of the drug. An antioxidant, dexrazoxane (ICRF-187), protects the heart from the effects of adriamycin without affecting the antitumor effect. Cellular studies, animal studies, and human studies demonstrate that vitamins A, E, C, and K, beta-carotene and selenium, as single agents or in combination, all protect against the toxicity of adriamycin and enhance its cancer-killing effects.

•In vitro cellular studies and animal studies using vitamins C, A, K, E, D, B6, B12, beta-carotene, selenium, or cysteine as single agents or in combination given concomitantly with chemotherapy, or tamoxifen, or interferon alpha-2b, or radiation, or combinations of these modalities show the same effect: Increased tumor killing and increased protection of normal tissues.

•Human studies involving over 1,960 patients have been done using single or multiple nutrients in combination with systemic treatment and/or radiation treatment demonstrating that nutrients produce a higher response rate, lower side effects, and even increased survival.

There are many effective and supportive measures available to patients who may be undergoing Chemotherapy and/or Radiation Therapy. I have always been dedicated in my practice to being knowledgeable about these measures and how they are applicable for my patients suffering from cancer.


  • Karen McKinney says:

    I was wondering your thoughts on essential oils during Chemo. They claim that there is a combo of a few that would aid in shrinking cancerous tumors. Or are there some that maybe should be avoided during treatment.

    • Dr. Jason Porter says:

      Research confirms the idea that essential oils can assist in killing cancer cells. They do this frst or foremost through there ability to become part of the cell membrane and enhancing oxygen absorption into healthy and cancerous cells. Oxygen saturation within individual cells protects against cancer formation as discovered by Dr. Otto Warburg. In addition, oxygen transport across the cell membrane enhance all oxidative or cancer killing therapies including high dose Vitamin C therpay, radiation, and even chemotherapy. Essential oils have also been shown to protect healthy cellls from radiation therapy. The other great affect from essential oils comes from there ability to increase blood viscosity. Blood that flows faster leads to reduction in metastases, which is the cause of 90% of all cancer deaths.