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Pediatric Cancer- Nutritional, Herbal

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Pediatric Cancer patients endure greater toxicity achieving cures though these patients may experience greater health challenges later in life

Pediatric Cancer management is more difficult than adult cancer management. Parents are often both primary caregivers as well as primary decision-makers. Taking care of an adult cancer patient is difficult enough. It puts even more stress on the parent/caregiver if they must think like both the parent/caregiver and the cancer patient/child.

Image result for photos of pediatric cancer survivor

Nutritional and herbal supplementation for pediatric cancer patients can be an adjuvant cancer therapy that can improve quality of life (the kid feels better due to fewer side effects), improves outcomes (enhanced efficacy of chemotherapy) and the toxicity of the primary cancer therapy may be reduced.

A good example of what I am talking about is a well-studied supplement called curcumin. As the bottom study below shows, curcuminis cytotoxic (kills) brain cancer.

I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. Research and experience has taught me that pediatric cancer patients must use every evidence-based therapy at their disposal- whether its conventional (FDA approved) or non-conventional therapies such as curcumin.

Scroll down the page to post a question or a comment. I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Nutrition — Herbs and Nutritional Supplements

“…nutritional supplements are products that may contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or enzymes whereas herbal supplements are products containing herbs or botanicals either alone or in mixtures (nccam.nih.gov). The term “herb” when used medically refers to any part of the plant used for therapeutic purposes.

Potential Application for Children with Cancer

Herbal and nutritional supplements are among the most commonly used CAM therapies by children with cancer. Data from evidence based studies is limited for the use of nutritional supplements in children with cancer.  However, studies have shown safety and potential roles for l-carnitine, glutamine, whey protein, probiotics, Traumeel SÒ and essential fatty acids in children. Herbal supplements such as echinacea, ginger, chamomile, valerian, aloe vera, and lavender have been traditionally used in pediatrics, although research data is limited.”

The use of a protein and energy dense eicosapentaenoic acid containing supplement for malignancy-related weight loss in children.

This study evaluated the clinical effects of a protein and energy dense EPA containing nutritional supplement in a group of pediatric cancer patients receiving active chemotherapy treatment…

RESULTS:At 3 months, there were significantly fewer patients in the treatment group as compared to controls that showed losses in body weight, and a negative deviation in weight percentile. In addition, remission rate was significantly higher in the treatment group as compared to controls.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates a decrease in cancer-induced weight loss in pediatric patients fed a protein and energy dense nutrition supplement containing EPA.”

Component of Common Spice Turmeric Shows Promise in Brain Tumor Treatment

Among pediatric brain tumors, medulloblastoma is the most common malignant form. Despite advances in treatment, favorable outcomes lag behind many other childhood cancers and therapy often results in severe long-term side effects. Thus, it is imperative to identify safer, more effective treatments for medulloblastoma…

They showed that curcumin can kill human medulloblastoma cells cultured in the laboratory. But more importantly, they also found that curcumin reduces tumor growth and increases survival in models of medulloblastoma. This finding is very important because it shows that curcumin can be effective in crossing the blood-brain barrier…”

The Most BioAvailable Curcumin Formulas

“Based on a review of these studies, it is evident that better bioavailability of formulated curcumin (CU) products is mostly attributed to improved solubility, stability, and possibly low first-pass metabolism”

A search of the Pubmed database for the word curcumin yields 601 studies spaning health topics from multiple myeloma and colorectal cancer, to chemotherapies that synergizes with CU, to Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis and more. Based on years of reading studies and personal accounts, I think it is safe to say that CU supplementation is safe and relatively inexpensive.

I have read about myeloma patients taking daily doses of CU from 400 milligrams to 8 grams (1000 milligrams = 1 gram). By almost any measure, CU is a safe, inexpensive wonder drug.

The only challenge is that CU is famously difficult to absorb in the body. In other words, a person has to mix curcumin with some sort of fat (coconut oil, chocolate, etc.) or take a brand of curcumin capsule that is already formulated to be more “bioavailable” in order to derive the full benefit of CU.

The study linked and exerpted below reviews different formulations of CU. The study itself lists the three most bioavailable formulation/brand of CU and I’ve added an excerpt from a further review from Consumerlab.com that lists four additional bioavailable brands of CU.

I consult the independent evaluation service Consumerlab.com frequently. For one low annual payment, I can read about and evaluate all of the nutritional supplement that I take.

David Emerson

  • Myeloma Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:


CU is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is sold as an herbal supplement, cosmetics ingredient, food flavoring, and food coloring.[1]

Bioavailable curcumin formulations: A review of pharmacokinetic studies in healthy volunteers.

“Curcumin is a widely studied natural compound which has shown tremendous in vitro therapeutic potential. Despite that, the clinical efficacy of the native CU is weak due to its low bioavailability and high metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract. During the last decade, researchers have come up with different formulations with a focus on improving the bioavailability of curcumin. As a result, a significant number of bioavailable curcumin-based formulations were introduced with the varying range of enhanced bioavailability.

The purpose of this review is to collate the published clinical studies of CU products with improved bioavailability over conventional (unformulated) CU. Based on the literature search, 11 curcumin formulations with available human bioavailability and pharmacokinetics data were included in this review. Further, the data on clinical study design, analytical method, pharmacokinetic parameters and other relevant details of each formulation were extracted.

Based on a review of these studies, it is evident that better bioavailability of formulated curcumin products is mostly attributed to improved solubility, stability, and possibly low first-pass metabolism. The review hopes to provide a quick reference guide for anyone looking information on these bioavailable curcumin formulations.

Based on the published reports,

exhibited over 100-fold higher bioavailability relative to reference unformulated CU. Suggested mechanisms accounting for improved bioavailability of the formulations and details on the bioanalysis methods are also discussed.”

According to Consumerlab.com:

“Novasol has the highest bioavailability (185 x compared to unforumulated CU), followed by Curcuwin (136 x), Longvida (100 x), Meriva (48 x), BCM-95 (27 x), Curcumin C3 Complex + Bioperene (20 x), and then Theracumin (16 x).”

Leave a Comment:

bridget marker says 8 years ago

What dosage of turmeric can I give my 8 old child who has just had a medulloblastoma tumor removed and is about to go through 7 weeks of radiation and 7 cycles of chemo. Please advise. thank you

    David Emerson says 8 years ago

    Hi Bridget-

    I am sorry to learn of your child’s brain cancer diagnosis. Please, please, please consider integrative therapies to both enhance the efficacy of the chemo and radiation that your son endures but also to reduce the toxicity of the chemo and radiation. The long-term and late stage collateral damage that pediatric patients sustain from chemo and radiation are well-documented. Integrative therapies should reduce the late stage and long-term side effects.

    Though curcumin does have cytotoxic action in brain cancers I do not know of specific doses for kids. I cancer coach adult cancer patients. I have no experience with pediatric patients. Further, curcumin is notorious for NOT being absorbed into one’s blood stream. You must use one of those brands with a formula designed to enhance what is called “bioavailability.”

    In order to learn what therapies are integrative to the chemotherapy that you son has you must get the name or names of the chemotherapy in order for me to research it.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Hang in there,

    David Emerson

      Olga says 4 years ago

      Hi David, my 23 months old daughter has been diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma. I’m interested in integrative therapies available. Could you please advise anything?

        David Emerson says 4 years ago

        Hi Olga-

        I will reply to you via your email address. Hang in there-


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