Did you get a chance to read the National Center for Alternative and Complimentary Medicine report, Complimentary, Alternative or Integrative Health: What’s in a Name? In it, you should have noticed that by far the most commonly used approach involves natural products. And in that category, nutritional supplements easily tops the list.
My short primer isn’t going to focus on things like acupuncture and Tai chi. Instead, let’s jump-right-in and review things that multiple myeloma patients can do to supplement their diets in a way that discourages myeloma activity, while enhancing the ability of ongoing chemo to do its job.
Our healthy lifestyle columnist, Danny Parker, has explored this topic extensively over the past several years. Instead of providing you links to some of his past columns, I’ll make it easy for you. In no particular order, here’s a list of the top ten foods with anti-myeloma properties:
2) Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage
4) Blueberries, raspberries and acai berries
8) Common fruits like grapes and apples
9) Radishes, kale and bok choy
10) Cooked tomatoes
OK, so I cheated and grouped several of them together. But you get the idea. Every food on this list has been proven to discourage the growth of myeloma cells in the lab. How well this translates in the human body is open to interpretation.
Regardless, these are all very healthy suggestions for a number of reasons. Our motto: What can it hurt?
Additionally, several of the foods on this list may actually enhance the effectiveness of IMiDs (thalidomide, lenalidomide, pomalidomide) and proteasome inhibitors (bortezomib, carfilzomib). So let’s start another list.
There aren’t enough of these to form a “top ten.” Instead, here are the runaway leaders–those that are head-and-shoulders above the rest–for the top five best supplements for multiple myeloma patients:
2) Ursolic acid
4) Fish oil
5) Herbs like parsley, sage, basil and holy basil
Want corroborating evidence to back up everything and anything on my lists? Simply type “Danny Parker” into the query bar on the right hand side at the top of the page. Keep hitting “previous entries” until you reach references to his first column back in 2011.
Pulling-up some of his older posts, I was startled by how less sophisticated our work was back then. I was just switching from Blogger to WordPress as blogging platforms; some older posts never translated well. But fortunately Danny joined the MMB team just as I was transitioning, so all of his important work was saved and is accessible to you. Dozens and dozens of links to research studies that support these conclusions; a few may be broken since then, but most still work.
Next week I will continue my complimentary medicine series, this time focusing on the foods and supplements that multiple myeloma patients may want to avoid.
Until then, feel good and keep smiling! Pat