How a Diet Can Affect the Efficiency of Radiation Therapy

Cancer affects millions of people every year, and doctors and medical scientists are constantly looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy and chemotherapy for their patients. One method that has been gaining new ground is the use of restricted calorie diets and certain types of foods. This has been shown to increase the efficiency of radiation therapy.

Radiosensitizers Are Used to Help Increase Effectiveness

Before discussing the way diet effects radiation therapy, it is important to understand the other methods that help. Radiosensitizers are medicines or compounds that help increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy. These are generally medicines such as PKC inhibitors and Cox-2 inhibitors, items that have been shown to increase the effect radiation has on tumors.

Scientists have studied the effect that diet, and particularly individual foods, can have on the positive nature of radiation therapy. They have classified restricted calorie diets and certain types of foods as powerful radiosensitizers. Anyone struggling with cancer deserves to understand how an improved diet can improve their radiation treatment.

Restricted Calorie Diets Help Improve Radiation Therapy

Radiosensitizing medicines have been combined with a restricted calorie diet to increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy on cancer treatment. One study used two groups of mice with tumors and gauged the effectiveness of a daily reduction in calories versus occasional fasting for improving radiation therapy for cancer treatment.

They found that mice with a daily reduction of calories suffered from less severe tumors and an increase in the growth of a factor 1 receptor pathway. This insulin-like item was shown to be crucial to fighting off cancer tumors and was particularly effective when combined with a restricted diet and radiation therapy.

Foods That Are Considered Powerful Radiosensitizers

There are many foods that are considered effective radiosensitizing agents. However there are also foods that should be avoided while undergoing radiation therapy. The following are the most doctor-recommended foods for helping to improve radiation therapy:

  • Fruits – Apples, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, currants, grapes, etc.
  • Beans – Particularly dry beans
  • Vegetables – Broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cucumbers, etc.
  • Grains and spices – Black pepper, black cumin, buckwheat, flax seed, garlic, green tea, etc.

Foods that should be avoided include ginger, mint, anti-oxidant supplements, multivitamins, and genistein. These foods and supplemental items often cause complications with radiation therapy and should be avoided as much as possible. Foods that are high in fat or rich in calories are also not a good ideas, as they can complicate a restricted-calorie diet.

Carefully managing a diet and focusing only on the best possible items is a great way to fight off the dangers of cancer. Talk to doctors like those at Firelands Regional Medical Center for more ways to increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy.