Cancer and Shakeology®: To Shake or Not to Shake while Undergoing Chemotherapy or Radiation
It's pretty evident that I love Shakeology®. I've been drinking it daily for years, and I believe it's truly the "healthiest meal of the day." Up until now, there have only been a few occurrences of me stepping off of my soapbox and suggesting that someone might ought to reconsider before adding it to their daily routines.
However, that's exactly what I'm doing now.
Recently, I've had some clients come to me with questions about how Shakeology® could help them in their battles against cancer. And, the truth is that I'm not sure. Every cancer patient is fighting something different. A different form of cancer, a different set of health issues accompanying their cancer struggle and a different treatment plan. Because there are so many variables, there isn't a safe one-size-fits-all answer about whether Shakeology® has a place during a patient's cancer treatment.
But, what about the fact that Shakeology® can help build immunity and keep your body healthy? Lots of people ask me this when I hesitate to recommend my favorite shake during chemo or radiation treatments. And, it's true: Shakeology® is the perfect tool to foster one's immune system when it's repressed. It provides nutrition when people may need it most. Many cancer patients experience difficulties eating -- whether prompted by appetite loss, nausea or mouth soreness. It becomes difficult for them to eat normally, so they need extra nutrition that could be provided by Shakeology®. It would help ensure that they receive the vitamins, nutrients and other good "stuff" they need to be healthy (or healthier). It would be "good" calories for them to consume, rather than empty calories provided by many alternatives.
And, what about the fact that Shakeology has antioxidants? Aren't they supposed to be good to fight cancer? Of course, they are! But, again, the many variables get in the way of making an easy recommendation for it.
Let me explain: When a patient is undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation, there are many of their "normal" prescriptions that have to be changed up due to interactions between medications. There are certain nutrient interactions that can interfere with the effectiveness of their cancer treatment medications, too. Specifically, the antioxidants and phytochemicals in Shakeology® may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
Interactions Reduce the Effects of Chemotherapy
Studies have suggested that many antioxidants and phytochemicals (such as Co enzyme Q10, Vitamins A, C and E) prevent cell damage. They actually protect cells. In doing so, they inadvertently protect cancer cells, too, decreasing the effects of chemo. As a result, many experts discourage high doses of antioxidant supplements during any cancer treatment.
A 2008 cancer study demonstrated that Vitamin C blunted the effectiveness of chemo by 30 to 70 percent.
Another study has shown that L-glutamine (taken orally) decreases the peripheral neuropathy associated with oxaliplatin, a colorectal chemo drug.
The National Institute of Health's National Cancer Institute reports that pharmacokinetic interactions are common with the use of many dietary supplements (including ones like Shakeology®). The biologically active compounds in them alter the way a chemo drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized or eliminated.
The bottom line is: I can't tell you if you should consume Shakeology® if you're undergoing cancer treatments. Of course, when you're finished with your treatment plan, I think Shakeology® is the best game plan out there to build yourself back up and recover from your battle.
If you're undergoing treatment (or preparing to do so), talk to your oncology and radiology teams and a clinical professional (possibly a registered dietitian) who is well versed in working with medication interactions, etc. about how it might affect your progress. (I suggest talking it over with someone with advanced degrees in nutrition , because physicians aren't always trained in the principles of how food and nutrition affect your body and contribute to illness.) Because no patient receives the exact same treatment plan, it's impossible to determine what the answer will be without seeking their input. And, be aware that as your treatment plan changes, so will their views on Shakeology®.
More and more research is becoming available about how supplements impact cancer treatment. But, many questions still surround how supplements should be used to build the body up, while also attacking cancer cells.
I wish I had a more definitive answer on this issue, but I'd be negligent if I didn't err on the side of caution and direct you to your medical team. With the combined knowledge of both your doctors and a licensed nutritionist, you will be armed with the best possible treatment to beat your disease and live a healthy, happy life.
Learn More about the many natural health benefits that are in Shakeology's ingredients: