Diagnosed with Cancer? Your two greatest challenges are understanding cancer and understanding possible side effects from chemo and radiation.  Knowledge is Power!

Learn about conventional, complementary, and integrative therapies.

Dealing with treatment side effects? Learn about evidence-based therapies to alleviate your symptoms.

Click the orange button to the right to learn more.

Functional Foods, Supplements- Adverse Events

Share Button

Functional foods and supplements with naturopathic ingredients are commonly talked about in lifestyle magazines for their healing properties and furthermore can have positive effects on the side effects of cancer treatment.

A study done by TJ Lifestyle Medicine addresses this phenomenon more scientifically:

“ Cutaneous aging is the composite sum of biologic aging and extrinsic aging due to environmental factors including sunlight, smoking, pollution, and inflammation. Regardless of etiology, the aging process essentially involves the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) with subsequent signal transduction and activation of transcription factors activator protein 1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). AP-1 increases the secretion of matrix-degrading enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which results in the degradation of the dermal matrix, including collagen. Functional foods and ‘nutraceuticals’ include all kinds of food with health or medical effects. According to an international survey, about 69% of adults worldwide take vitamins, minerals, or food supplement products daily.” 

In short, your body produces enzymes with age that in turn decrease cell production. Cutaneous aging is a term used to describe the aging of the skin specifically.  Collagen is the protein in your body that makes connective tissue.

  • Collagen supplements can be taken to help continue their production.
  • Collagen Peptides are enzymatically formulated for enhanced bioavailability and absorption to support bone and joint health and strengthen hair, skin, and nails.
  • Collagen is used in beauty surgery to reduce aging, but the most low-risk way to reduce aging or stay healthy is through a diet with functional foods, as this study refers to them too. 

It’s an umbrella term that contains foods with nutritional value specific to them, like nuts which are high in protein, or oranges which have vitamins C and B, but these ingredients are increasingly popular as research shows how important they are.

Collagen -themed Blog Posts-

One of the most popular of these supplement categories is focused on brain and memory health. These kinds of supplements are called nootropics, and they seek to improve

  • memory,
  • focus,
  • mental energy,

and problem-solving skills. One of these natural supplements is called, Bacopa Monnieri, an herb used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Numerous clinical studies found that Bacopa Monnieri enhances memory retention, improves spatial learning, the ability to take in new information about one’s environment, and reduces stress.

Like this study here, scientists found that Bacopa Monnieri increases the length and branching of nerve cells, also known as dendrites, in the brain, which is linked to learning and memory. The main active compounds that do this are called bacosides. Some mushrooms are also shown to improve brain and nerve health and are sold in supplement form as well. 

Another supplement, Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in food. They can only be produced from fish and some nuts, but they have positive effects on cholesterol, heart health, and rheumatoid arthritis. Mayo Clinic reports more extensively here: 

“Fish oil is a dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids for many functions, from muscle activity to cell growth.. Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from food. They can’t be manufactured in the body. Fish oil contains two omega-3s called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Dietary sources of DHA and EPA are fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and trout, and shellfish, such as mussels, oysters and crabs. Some nuts, seeds and vegetable oils contain another omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).”

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Themed Blog Posts-

These are a perfect example of functional food that has all-encompassing health benefits, and David Emerson swears by them which is why I especially felt like I should mention them.

Alexander Emerson

  • Writer
  • Cancer Caregiver

I am the poster child for functional foods and supplements shown to heal cancer side effects. Or I guess I should say that I live with many long-term and late stage side effects that I manage with evidence-based, non-conventional therapies such as collagen and omega-3 fatty acids.

I am not saying that

  • collagen
  • nuts
  • omega-3 fatty acids

are silver bullets when it comes to healing my chemotherapy-induced premature aging or chemo brain. But conventional medicine offers no therapies for my long-term and late stage side effects and I have healed or stabilized all of the health challenges that resulted from my conventional myeloma therapies from ’94-’97.


Leave a Comment: