Avoid Antioxidant-Drug Interactions During Cancer Treatment

Few patients are aware of how potential drug-nutrient interactions can affect cancer treatment. It is important to consider these interactions given the significant use of supplements and other self-treatment options during cancer care. (courtesy ASCO Post)

Can diet be a potential source of interference?

A normal, varied diet should not be a problem. It is useful, however, to caution patients to avoid practices that can concentrate antioxidants such as severe “mono-diets” and juicing vegetables. Also, some sports drinks and protein supplements are fortified with levels of nutrients that may interfere with treatment. Consult the label.


The botanicals associated with traditional Chinese medicine and other Asian healing arts face the same challenges as Western herbs, namely that we do not always know how much antioxidant activity they contain.

Are herbal medicines a potential source of antioxidant interference?

Some botanicals have more than 50 pharmacologically active alkaloids, many of which have antioxidant activity. Those that have been scientifically tested, standardized for their active ingredients, and manufactured with good quality control will behave predictably. For others, we simply don’t yet have enough data to know all of their actions.

When uncertain, the safest course is to assume the agent has antioxidant activity and separate it from treatment.

For the future, as we advance our knowledge with new research, it is possible that dietary and botanical antioxidants will find a place in conventional oncology care.  http://www.ascopost.com/issues/july-25-2014/avoiding-antioxidant-drug-interactions-during-cancer-treatment/