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Antioxidant-Rich Diet Helps Fight Leukemia

Kids undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia face a double whammy: They fight a devastating disease with conventional treatments that can be almost as toxic. However, kids can better withstand the toll of chemotherapy -- surprise, surprise -- by eating a diet chock full of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, according to a new study.

Scientists studied about 100 newly-diagnosed children with leukemia who underwent chemotherapy and had their antioxidant levels, antioxidant capacity and oxidative damage measured during their first six months of treatment. Overall, blood levels of vitamin E decreased over time, while total carotenoids and vitamin A increased. Vitamin C and oxidative damage increased over the first few months, then declined by the sixth month, researchers said.

However, children with higher concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin E and total carotenoids, tended to have fewer infections, an improved quality of life, less toxicity and spent less time in the hospital, according to the study. I also agree with the lead researcher's advice against taking supplements, because a diet with more fruits and vegetables will have a lot more protective benefits and help the child to tolerate the chemotherapy better.

But be VERY careful about using any product, even natural ones, as the ONLY approach to treating a complex illness like cancer, as it is likely to be counterproductive. Here are five more healthy alternatives you can use to fight cancer:

  • Avoid sugar as it is the primary fuel for most cancers. (There is not ONE SINGLE FOOD item that is generally more damaging to your health.)
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels as it is probably the single most important vitamin in preventing and treating cancers.
  • Take cod liver or fish oil.
  • Make sure you exercise, as this will help lower your insulin levels.
  • Get enough sunlight. December 27, 2004

Yahoo News December 27, 2004

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