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Supplements to take during Chemo


DISCLAIMER: I am not a qualified physician and none of the below should be read as medical advice. I am merely sharing my research.


Immediately after my diagnosis, I took a lot of my supplement ideas from the books on my cancer reading list. However, a few years on, I am constantly updating my research and rejigging what I take to ensure it's in line with what my body currently needs, that it complements treatments I am doing, by either potentiating them or mitigating side effets, and that I am using the most up to date research. In this regard, it's possibly better to trawl research online via Google Scholar (which filters out rubbish from blogs such as this one:) where you can read the most up to date academic research, rather than reading books which may be a a year or so out of date by the time they are published. The books I mention however will still give you a good grounding in the subject. As well as trawling pubmed online, there is a free app About Herbs compiled by Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital which is a useful listing of hundreds of herbs, vitamins and other natural substances that claim to have anti-cancer effects. Each entry includes a clinical summary, mechanism of action, food sources and herb drug interactions, all heavily referenced with the scientific research underpinning each assumption. If you can't install the app for some reason, the same information is available online.  Most of the supplements I take are natural and available on iherb, however latterly, I have been delving more into repurposed drugs, some of which may require a prescription.





NB. This is  a work in progress that I will continue to update in the coming weeks!


I did 12 cycles of Folfirinox chemotherapy in 2016, where I blindly consumed every supplement recommended by cancer nutrition books and naturopaths as being "good to go with chemo". However, I don't believe one size fits all (in terms of individual or chemo regime), so this time round in 2018, I have painstakingly typed into pubmed every supplement I am considering taking along with each of the 4 chemo agents comprising Folfirinox: oxaliplatin, leucovorin, irinotecan and 5FU, to see where I could potentiate them and mitigate the side effects. These were my findings, however I appreciate that they are not proof as many studies are at the cellular level only, i.e. done in test tubes rather than on animals or humans. I am now looking to improve my research by making this clearer and including mainly in vivo studies:



Curcumin targets FOLFOX-surviving colon cancer cells via inhibition of EGFRs and IGF-1R.


Irinotecan is also improved by curcumin:


5Fu potentiated by curcumin:


Ginseng works synergistically with 5FU


Ashwaghanda potentiates oxaliplatin


Astragalus reduces platinum toxicities and reduces neuro toxicity of oxaliplatin


Huangqi Guizhi Wuwu may help with numbness and pain caused by oxaliplatin. I will be looking for this in Chinese medicine stores:


Huang Qin Ge Gen Tang enhances 5-fluorouracil antitumor activity through modulation of the E2F1/TS pathway


Milk Thistle 

Increases efficacy of 5FU


Good with oxaliplatin to reduce neuropathy


Glutamine may reduce gastro-intestinal toxicities associated with 5FU and irinotecan

Statins potentiate 5FU chemo including chemo resistant cells

Cerivastatin enhances the cytotoxicity of 5-fluorouracil on chemosensitive and resistant colorectal cancer cell lines.


Simvastatin plus irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil, and leucovorin (FOLFIRI) as first-line chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal patients: a multicenter phase II study.



Does NOT Improve (in vitro) apoptosis when combined with irinotecan: - Vit and E do however

But this study shows it increases DNA damage with irinotecan:


Melatonin protects against oxaliplatin damage:

Melatonin increases the effect of 5Fu:

And in Vivo:



Sensitises cells to chemo OXA and 5FU (mentions TP53):


And may lessen fatigue: 


BUT zinc depletion better for pancreatic cells than many chemo agents, which is confusing. (The COC recommend omitting zinc for cancer patients):


Biobran - available on Amazon. I take 2 per day during chemotherapy, and once per day when not receiving treatment. It's a plant-based immunomodulator that can restore the tumor-induced disturbance of the natural immune system resulting from chemo and other treatments:


Omega 3 Fish Oil -

Increases efficacy/apoptosis of 5FU

There are a lot of omega 3 fish oil products on the market that either taste fishy or give a fishy after taste which is pretty vile. After trying many of these, i can assure you that this Nordic Naturals brand is not fishy in the slightest! This has been shown to increase efficacy of carboplatin chemo and improve survival in NSCLC.  However it may reduce  activity of cisplatin so avoid on this chemo drug. 

I read another study that shows how superior fish oil is to flaxseed and other oils in terms of cancer prevention.

I have also been looking into the benefits of shark liver oil:





Reversal of paclitaxel induced neutropenia by Withania somnifera in mice.


Shark Liver oil: 

"Since alkyl-Gro are found in hematopoietic organs such as bone marrow, one may hypothesize that they have an important role in hematopoiesis, and could behave as precursors of PAF, which has stimulating functions in bone marrow cell lines"


Green Tea



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