Is it safe to take vitamins or herbal supplements during chemotherapy or radiation treatment?

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It is recommended that you not take extra antioxidant vitamin supplements during treatment. High levels of antioxidants may interact with cancer treatment. It is okay for you to take a standard multivitamin that provides 100% of the RDI (recommended daily intake) for vitamins and minerals. Herbal supplements should also be avoided, since they may contain antioxidants and other compounds that may interact with cancer treatments. The research on vitamins and herbals during treatment is not yet conclusive . There are several studies showing that vitamin supplements-- such as Vitamins C, E, and A -- can interfere with the effectiveness of cancer treatment. The theory is that since antioxidants protect the body's cells from damage, taking excess amounts may actually protect the cancerous cells from the chemotherapy or radiation treatment. This will decrease the effectiveness of the treatment. On the other hand, there have also been studies showing benefit from combining antioxidants and ... more
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