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What supplements (or other strategies) do you take?

berries Member Posts: 80

As multiple studies show the benefit of certain supplements, minerals and vitamins, I am wondering what, if any, supplements you take?

I am looking for a oncology dietitian or an integrative oncologist to supplement western medicine (which I highly believe to be necessary), but I've spent hundreds of hours of time researching what I can do to help myself heal with food, supplements and vitamins.

A bit about me:

  • I am 35, diagnosed at 34 - Stage 1B according to new guidelines, IIIA according to old guidelines - don't think it really makes a difference in my treatment
  • I am currently on monthly Lupron since October 2019, went through dose-dense ACT, 2 surgeries and radiation. I will be starting Arimidex in 4 weeks.
  • For added benefit/insurance, I have requested to start Xeloda and my MO agreed! I start this week and add HT in about 4 weeks so we can isolate any SE

Strategies I am doing and supplements I am taking as I am in a high-risk category:

  • Intermittent fasting (16 to 18 hours daily)
  • Keeping a healthy BMI of 22-23
  • Plant-based, whole foods diet - I will treat myself when/if I feel like it, but mostly stick to whole, plant-based foods
  • Exercise 45+ minutes daily, sometimes over an hour - running about 20-25 miles per week
  • I see a psychologist 2x monthly to help manage anxiety/PTSD
  • I take: curcumin, Vitamin D3, 5mg melatonin at night, but looking/researching other supplements to add into my diet

Would love to hear what you are doing to beat this!



  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,588

    Hi Berries, I had been taking a daily multi, calcium with magnesium, fish oil, a B-complex and a D3. Since diagnosed with Stage IV with mets to spine, hip and femur my oncologist has stopped everything except the D3 and has added Arimidex. I'll begin Ibrance once I've finished radiation. My blood calcium levels were rising due to the cancer in my bones so that's why I stopped the calcium and the multi.

    Before all this went crazy with COVID 19 and mBC, I was taking all of the above, doing intermittent fasting and having a version of bullet-proof coffee each morning. Into a cup of half-caf I put a scoop of MCT powder, a scoop of collagen powder and a scant tablespoon of ghee. It blended up in my NutriBullet into the most creamy, foamy cup of joy! Since my local Starbucks closed and I stopped walking there every morning, I've started making coffee at home with my Nespresso machine. I've just been adding foamed milk to my coffee and am actually enjoying it. I think Starbucks may have lost a customer. ;)

    My diet is mostly plant based with occasional fish (salmon or tuna). My BMI has been steady at around 21. I have to work to keep it there. I haven't been walking quite as much, but the walking does seem to help my back pain. Lower body exercises are not recommended right now, which is sad because I do miss those. I get in maybe 4-6 flights of stairs a day, going from our front porch to the sidewalk, and am allowed to do upper body exercises. I feel like an "old lady" and I'm only 61! (Who wrote that?!?) I'm determined not to let this disease eat my life as well as my bones.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857

    I try to eat a balanced diet focusing on less-processed foods. I do eat some meat but more fruits and veg. I keep my healthy weight stable. My whole adult life, not including pregnancy, it's almost always been within a 10 pound range. I don't drink much alcohol or much caffeine.

    As to supplements, I take fish oil, D3, multivitamin, claritin, and baby aspirin. This is a good balance of help without fixation on using a large number of pills at multiple times a day.

  • totallytubular
    totallytubular Member Posts: 17

    most things I read say that food is the best medicine and a multi. I've tried some adaptogens powders from ancient herbs. check sun potion.

    im not sure if they work and had to run them by an integrated oncologist. all these things you are doing is great. it's especially good to be ably to check in with a psychologist as it's an emotional challenge to cope with the diagnosis and impt to check in. I need to follow some of your leads. vitamin d supposed to be good, but they overestimated how impt it was.

    best of luck and make sure to Give yourself a break because you've been through a lot!

  • paknc
    paknc Member Posts: 48

    I had my first appointment with a nutritionist who is part of the "integrative medicine" department at a respected academic healthcare system. She mentioned that she has other cancer patients so if you can't find an oncology nutritionist, potentially a general nutritionist with cancer patients may work. I sought her out due to odd symptoms I've had - tongue sores and a mouth ulcer that won't go away. She immediately diagnosed me as anemic (true, blood work showed this back in late May), and said I probably have a vitamin B deficiency and low vitamin D, because I've been low in the past. My anemia probably got worse due to poor diet when I had some severe mouth nerve pain from dental work and could not eat much.

    She has me on a high dose vitamin B supplement (through Fullscripts), chellated iron and a probiotic - because I said I was interested in reducing inflammation in my body. The goal is to get my gut balanced first, and figure out my food sensitivities so that I can absorb vitamins and minerals efficiently. I swear that the burning tongue improved dramatically in two days on the supplements. Also, the fissures in my tongue are closing - she was kind of horrified when she looked at my mouth, yet I had gone to a PCP repeatedly who kept sending me back to the dentist, who thought I just had dry mouth and there was nothing wrong.

    I'm 20 years older so I think that my diet has caught up to me more at my age - I don't eat much meat but don't pay attention to vitamins and minerals and the vitamin B deficiency probably crept up on me in the past few years. She noted that low Vitamin D has been linked to some cancers. I have a follow up with a different PCP at this academic health center to get labs done to see how my levels are looking later this month.

  • mariadelpilar
    mariadelpilar Member Posts: 37

    hi MountainMia,

    I am interested to know how the Claratin works in preventing recurrence? Is that why you take it? Any research you could share?

    Thank you so much.

  • santabarbarian
    santabarbarian Member Posts: 2,310

    For an Integrative Oncologist: I was very very happy with Dr Keith Block. He also has a book as well "Life Over Cancer." You can be treated by him if you go there (near Chicago) and he does MANY innovative practices incl nutritional IVs. I chose to be treated in my home area but had a comprehensive consult and was able to duplicate a lot of his program and recommendations. Most of the things I did are in the "Members Stories" thread (p 6) in the TNBC forum... supplements aplenty, high dose C injections, hyperbaric O2, heat, exercise, fasting mimicking, keto. Cold pitch black room for sleep.

    I am sticking to this for 3-5 years but I have loosened up a bit on diet and take supplements off/on. I feel wonderful.

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 770

    Next Tuesday I have a zoom appointment with an Integrative Consult in a major cancer center. I will ask her about supplements I take: calcium, vitamin D, fish oil, glucosamine, vitamin B complex and baby aspirin. OMG so many supplements!

    Do you have any questions I can ask her?

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,076

    Maria - I don't see that Mountain Mia recommended Claritin to prevent recurrence.

    I've been on these boards a fairly long time. Other than the traditional sinus issues, I've only seen Clairtin recommended for the bone pain from Neulasta shots that may be given after each chemo. To my knowledge, no one really knows why that works but it sure worked for me. Start with one the day before chemo & continue for 5-7 days after.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857

    Mariadelpillar, I'm not an expert on claritin (loratadine,) and I am not recommending it for anyone. I use it anyway, because I have persistent allergies. But my layperson understanding is it may have a beneficial effect for cancer patients, perhaps because it serves as an anti-inflammatory.

    Here is a link for the abstract of a piece of research that is looking at a short window pre- and post-diagnosis.

    This is the same lead researcher, I think, looking at malignant melanoma (a skin cancer)

    This is (I think) a different study using the same reference population

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,076

    Mountain Mia - Thanks for the links. I'll be interested to read the studies. Anti-inflammatories are always good.

  • kksmom3
    kksmom3 Member Posts: 101

    I take Vit D and Calcium, Boron, B12, A B Vit mix, Curcumin, a multi also, Vit C and cranberry to ward off UTI's. I have the beginnings of glaucoma, so I'm taking Omega 3,7 and 9, it's a gummy. Have no idea if anything is helping really, but these were prescribed to me by a naturopath dr. I sometimes take EGCG, baby aspirin, advil if I hurt, and various other things more on a whim, more than anything else.I definitely eat fruit and veggies a lot more, everyday, try to get a good 45 mt walk in 3-4 times a week. I need to do better with that. I try not to have too much dairy either. I take gabapentin 2x a day for nerve pain from the lump/rads and metoprolol for high blood pressure. I know this is a lot. I am starting to hate all these pills. I just went back to work, I gained 10 lbs all of a sudden, I wasn't active enough during Covid. Ugh, trying to get it off! I don't think letrozole helps!

  • mariadelpilar
    mariadelpilar Member Posts: 37

    dear minus two,

    You are right. She did not say Claritin was for recurrence. I misread that. It did work for me for bone pain after chemo also!

  • cm2020
    cm2020 Member Posts: 530

    I take the following: baby aspirin, zyrtec (for allergies and hives), vit D, vit B12, calcium, viviscal (hair vitamins), collagen. Prescriptions I take are: letrozole and plaquenil. I think that is all I take! I could be forgetting something.

  • dtad
    dtad Member Posts: 771

    Has anyone heard that collagen supplements are not good for hormone positive breast cancer?

  • cm2020
    cm2020 Member Posts: 530

    dtad...Did you read this somewhere or did you MO mention it? I have never heard that and I take collagen supplements daily. Now I guess I should do some research.

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311

    Hi dtad, I told my MO that I was putting collagen in my bkfast smoothie and she said that was fine. I take it for bone pain and stiff joints. I read that estrogen helps supply your body with natural collagen. Maybe those who are premenopausal can't take? I can't find any information where it says it increases your estrogen. Very confusing.

  • alain23
    alain23 Member Posts: 1


    I read it is important to ask your oncologist if it is safe to take supplements and if yes, which ones are safe (that they have no interactions that reduce the effectiveness of the treatment). And make sure she/he looks for the answer.

    I think it is also helpful to work with a professional dietitian specialised in oncology. Ask your oncologist to advise you one.

    It is a good way to have a good alimentation adapted to your situation without problems.

    Furthermore I read a study that talks about the interactions of certain supplements.

    Here is the link to the study :

    Best whises (sorry for my english it is not my native language)


  • BlueGirlRedState
    BlueGirlRedState Member Posts: 900

    flashlight - estrogen is not an option for those with ER+ BC . It seems like the thinking is any estrogen is bad. Even at menopause the body needs it, even if in very small amounts. I take an AI to block estrogen,resulting in hair loss/thinning. I think it also contributes to bone loss and stiff joints. If you learn about supplements etc that help with the SE of AIs, without interfering, please post. I do take "New Chapter Bone strength" for the bones, and turmeric and glucosamine for the joints. I think biotin helps with nails, but does not help with hair.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,076

    Biotin did indeed help with my hair - "hair, skin & nails". I had stopped two years ago and my podiatrist told me to get back on it due to continuing problems with big toe nails that detached during chemo. I definitely noticed a difference in my hair before/after and now before/after a second time.

    I have Prolia shots every 6 months for my bone strength. And take Citracal with Vit D.

    You don't want me to list all the other things I take. I take no prescription drugs except the Prolia, but it seems each doc wants me to add something else.

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311

    Hi BlueGirlRedState, These are some of the supplements I take total omega-3, CoQ10, triple action joint health, and B-complex for energy. I also take biotin and it is working for me as well. Someone else had posted a question about the safety of collagen and I continue to add 1-5 to my smoothie. I will check out New Chapter Bone strength. I also started the keto diet and 12 hour fasting. My truncal lymphedema has greatly improved. My pedal edema from the tamoxifen has lessened.

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 770

    This month I am taking a supplement vacation. I was overdoing with turmeric+fish oil that thinned the blood and I was getting bruises for no reason. I am a fan of New Chapter supplements and they are very effective. I think I was taking 3 tablets as per direction and it was too much for me, it pushed me to hypercalcemia. I have stopped them all. An Oncology nurse told me to take no more than 1000IU of vitamin D3 and up to 800mg of calcium. I am planning to get back to supplements next month and I will be using half the dose.

  • paknc
    paknc Member Posts: 48

    Does anyone know if Moringa tea interferes with Tamoxifen? I've been working with a integrative medicine nutritionist, and based on an analysis of my micronutrients, she recommended that I start drinking Moringa tea once a day because I'm deficient in Vitamin A plus some protein metabolism leading to some malnutrition. I read about the herb and it looks like it has some great health benefits, I just don't want to interfere with the Tamoxifen efficacy. I'm thinking of potentially having a cup of tea 3x/week. I've found some mixed articles so far - some say that it may help reduce the carcinogenic effects of Tamoxifen whereas another article mentioned a woman taking high doses of Moringa who may have experienced estrogenic effects that negated the Tamoxifen working. I'm not sure what qualifies as a "high dose." I have my six-month check in mid-December so will ask my provider then as well.

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929

    PAKNC, according to MSK there is very little information on this in humans and more studies are needed to show benefits.

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 770

    PAKNC, pharmacists, nurses and doctors told me there is not enough evidence and research to find the interactions of relatively new drugs (yes, tamoxifen and AI included) and supplements. I was a supplement "junkie" who recently gave up in all supplements I was taking because I start having certain side effects no one could explain. A cup 3xweek may not be a problem but every day it may. Let us know how it goes.

  • paknc
    paknc Member Posts: 48

    Thanks all for this info. I'm going to try the Moringa tea 2 or 3 times a week for a month and see if it makes a difference in my labs. I don't intend to do this long term. Unfortunately, my body was messed up when I experienced nerve pain in my mouth after dental surgery for a few months and had a hard time eating well. My nutritionist is more about eating right than taking supplements as well.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857

    LillyisHere, I didn't realize turmeric is a blood thinner. Thank you for your comment on it. I'll stop taking it now, as I also use a daily baby aspirin.

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 770

    MountainMi, turmeric, fish oil and aspirin are all blood thinners and I was taking them all at the same time until I realized I was getting bruises here and there. Turmeric with the food is healthy but not in large amounts or supplements. I am talking about my experience but please mention to your doctor or nurse the next time you see them.

  • Beclyn20
    Beclyn20 Member Posts: 18

    My NMD has me on Sam-E, calcium d-glucarate and Tumeric. I have myself on Probiotics, B-complex, vitamin D and one liver support capsule at night. I also supplement everyday with Iodine. Smile

  • racheldog
    racheldog Member Posts: 209

    I was looking for a chat area on Vitamins and Supplements during chemo. This topic is all over the place. I did a Zoom meeting with a University based oncologic dietician who cautioned against a lot of supplements. My 2nd opinion University based oncologist said the same thing, but the community oncologist seems too laid back about all of it and says supplements are fine.

    I read and read about this and have decided on Vitamin D, a bone builder with Calcium supplement, a daily Multivitamin and two fiber tablets. That is it. I have only used Tylenol during chemo and am cautious about nsaids and they can dump your platelets. So much has been said about antioxidants before and during chemo as a risk for recurrance. I know there are always comments about getting your nutrition through food but when you are nauseated who can eat a lot?

    I am leery of Naturopathic supplements as well.

  • husband11
    husband11 Member Posts: 1,287

    Look into lactoferrin. It is a bone builder with anti cancer and anti viral properties.