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Breast Care (Basel). 2010;5(6):383-387. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Nutritive Supplements - Help or Harm for Breast Cancer Patients?

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  • 1Department for Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Giessen and Marburg GmbH, Giessen, Germany.

Abstract

SUMMARY: Considerable numbers of patients and physicians believe that micronutrients may be useful with respect to prevention and treatment of breast cancer. However, the analysis of the literature shows that basic information on nutritional demands in cancer patients is lacking. It is unknown whether there is an increased demand of micro-nutrients in cancer patients in general and if there is an even more increased demand during the various types of treatment. As a result, there are only limited positive findings. Higher calcium intake in premenopausal women and higher intake of vitamin D seem to be able to lower breast cancer incidence. Vitamin E (800 IU per day) was found to have a modest effect on hot flashes during tamoxifen treatment. However, there are potential side effects especially when micronutrients are administered in high or very high doses. There is increasing evidence that dose-effect relationships are not linear but U-shaped. It seems that two thresholds exist for adverse effect, one at low doses for undersupply, and another at high doses for toxicity. Thus, arbitrary high-dose administration of micronutrients should be avoided. Supplementation of normal doses seems to be safe and acceptable from the medical point of view.

PMID:
21494403
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3076350
Free PMC Article
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