top of page
  • drkaycierosen

Should I Use Supplements For Breast Cancer Recovery?

Updated: May 6

The Short Answer: Yes


When I went through breast cancer treatment I wanted to utilize every possible type of support.  I reached out to colleagues who were experts in oncology, acupuncturists for support through chemotherapy, pilates instructors and physical therapists with expertise in rehab after surgery, and psychotherapists to help me process it all. In my medical practice, I always tell my patients that especially during a complex situation like cancer, having a team of experts helps you get the best support through breast cancer treatment. I  firmly believe that this is an optimal time to utilize every tool available to keep the whole system robust and full of vitality, minimize side effects of treatment, support mental and emotional health, and shift the internal environment of the body to minimize the risk of recurrence.


So, in the spirit of finding as much support as possible for the journey, when people ask me about whether supplements are appropriate during and after breast cancer, my answer is a qualified, but enthusiastic, yes.  


It’s imperative that you’re working with someone who understands where you are in your treatment journey. and they must be well versed in how each supplement may interact with other treatments. Additionally, the supplement must have a very specific, highly targeted role to play in your overall health.  


I encourage you to ask these questions about each supplements for breast cancer you are considering:


  • Do I know exactly why I am taking this supplement?

  • Am I sure it won’t negatively interact with something else I’ve been prescribed by my oncologist?

  • Will this supplement decrease or at least not change  my chances of recurrence?


As long as the answer to each of these is “yes”, supplementation can help you recover faster and more fully from Breast Cancer.



Supplements For Breast Cancer


Safety First


With that said, there are a few supplements that are generally a good choice for most breast cancer survivors. In this blog I will focus on four of my favorites:: Vitamin D, Omega 3, Green Tea, and Calcium. 


But, before we dive in, let’s go over some data-driven insights that reinforce the evidence that these supplements are safe. At the end of the day, this information is a blog written by an expert, but it is not custom-tailored care advice for any and everybody with breast cancer. Before starting any supplement regimen, check in with your Oncologist to make sure none of your medications would conflict. In my experience, these 4 simple supplements have helped hundreds of women feel better faster and stay healthy longer. 


Of course, I’m here as a resource to answer any questions, and I’d also encourage you to lean into our community of Thriving Survivors to see what other women in a similar position have to say!


Research-Backed Supplements For Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors


I have been using natural products to help patients for over 20 years, so I have a deep understanding of how different supplements are helpful for promoting optimal wellness and correcting imbalances. I also happen to be a research junkie, so when it comes to recommendations for breast cancer survivors, I always take a deep dive into the available literature to base my recommendations on the data.  


My methodology for choosing breast cancer support supplements is simple, but thorough. 


  1. The supplement must be targeted to meet an individual need

  2. The supplement must be proven to be safe and effective.

  3. The supplement must help prevent or at least not impact cancer recurrence 


With these things in mind, let’s take a deeper look at Vitamin D, Omega 3s, Green Tea, and Calcium.


4 Safe, Supportive Supplements For Breast Cancer 


Vitamin D: The Sunshine Supplement


Vitamin D plays an essential role in the health and recovery of breast cancer patients. Recognized and renowned for its immune-boosting properties, Vitamin D also plays a crucial role in enhancing mood and contributing to breast cancer prevention. 


Research shows a decreased rate of breast cancer with blood levels above 35, so it is worthwhile to have your doctor measure your Vitamin D levels and then choose a dosage that is appropriate for you. During recovery, especially when exposure to sunlight is limited, supplementation becomes mission critical. Usually somewhere between 1000 and 5000IU per day is sufficient.  Beyond immune support; Vitamin D is integral for bone health, a concept we’ll explore in more detail here shortly. 


Omega-3s: An Essential Nutrient For Fast And Full Recovery


Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, flax, chia, and walnuts,   are pivotal in supporting the body's recovery during and after breast cancer treatment. These essential fats are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which is a key facet of a plan to decrease the risk of recurrence.  Large scale studies have shown that women and breast cancer survivors with diets high in omega 3 fatty acids show a decreased risk of all causes of mortality. 


An additional benefit to high Omega 3 fats is if you have been experiencing hot flashes or night sweats as a result of your breast cancer treatment, they have been shown to have a modest effect on decreasing menopausal symptoms.  This is sort of an added bonus to including this in your comprehensive breast cancer recovery plan.


Green Tea: An Antioxidant Powerhouse That's Tasty Too


One of the most thoroughly researched plants out there for cancer prevention is green tea.  High consumption of green tea is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer, as well as a decreased risk of recurrence.  Studies have also shown it to work as a chemotherapeutic, and have a positive effect when paired with other hormone therapies against breast cancer. It is generally regarded as safe to drink on its own or along with other therapies.


Calcium: Fortified Bones To Support Mobility


Breast cancer treatments like chemotherapy and hormonal therapies such as arimidex can lead to a significant reduction in estrogen levels, a hormone intricately linked to bone health. A drastic decline increases the risk of osteoporosis and weakens bones, making it essential to counteract these effects with targeted nutritional support.


Calcium is a known cornerstone of bone health. Supplementing here serves in maintaining bone density and strength.  It is very important to strike the right balance with the amount of Calcium you take along with other minerals and nutrients.  Because calcification is associated with tumors, we have to give you the right amount of Calcium to give your bones the support they need to stay strong without overloading your system.  I like to supplement 300-500mg of Calcium per day, along with other minerals such as Magnesium and Boron, and Vitamins such as Vitamins D and K.


Conclusion


These 4 supplements for breast cancer have been a key component of my daily regimen as a breast cancer survivor, as well as for my patients. They are well researched and can be used as a part of almost any program for women who want to heal faster and stay well for the long term. 


For additional insights into how to recover fully from breast cancer treatment, be sure to check out the Thriving Survivors online program: Rebuild Health After Treatment. This course not only gives you deeper insights into how supplements can help during and after breast cancer treatment, it also provides an array of nutritional and lifestyle information to give you a well rounded understanding of the recovery process. If you’re interested in learning more about which supplements in particular I recommend to my patients, you can explore my online portal here


Wishing you well as you continue down this journey as a survivor or supporter.

30 views0 comments

Comentários


bottom of page