10 Best Anti-Cancer Supplements 2022

When it comes to dietary supplements, there are far too many options to choose from. If you’ve ever walked by the vitamin aisle of your local health or grocery store, you may have noticed how many different kinds of vitamins and supplements there are.

 
People take supplements for different reasons. The main function of dietary supplements is to do exactly what the name implies — supplement an existing diet. Vitamins and mineral tablets aren’t meant to take the place of a healthy and nutritious diet.

That being said, taking the right supplements with a nutritious and well-rounded diet can provide a host of added health benefits.

For example, supplements can fill in the nutritional gaps of your diet, and can even assist the body in preventing and assisting in the treatment of certain kinds of illnesses, including cancer.
 

Cancer and supplements

When it comes to cancer of any kind, it’s important to realize that no dietary supplement can fully treat or cure cancer, according to BreastCancer.org. However, there are some supplements that can potentially help prevent cancer or assist in your cancer recovery.

While many vitamins and minerals can benefit your general health, there’s a huge market of unregulated supplements that may provide no added benefit to your health. Certain supplements even have the potential to negatively impact cancer treatments. This is because some supplements can counteract medications or medical therapies.

If you’re thinking about supplementing your diet with anti-cancer vitamins, always talk to your doctor first.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Most people use fish oil supplements to enhance the amount of omega-3’s in their diet. However, fish oil was shown in one study on mice (2015)Trusted Source to possibly reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy, and for that reason ground flax seed is a worthy alternative.

Flax seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of certain cancers. When supplementing, try to avoid flaxseed oil because it lacks the nutrients of ground flax seed.

Ground flax seed can be purchased online or found in many larger grocery store chains. Simply sprinkle some ground flax seed on your food and enjoy.

Findings from a new study performed in mice, research from Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston demonstrated omega-3 fat could reduce tumor growth by 67% (R).

The research was presented April 4, 2022 at the annual Experimental Biology meeting in Philadelphia. The animal model showed that omega-3 fatty acids helped promote the cancer-fighting activities of immunotherapy and anti-inflammatory therapy.

Related: Researchers Showed Omega-3 Could Cut Tumor Growth by 67%

2. Garlic

Garlic is a great choice when it comes to giving your body a little extra protection. To reap the benefits of garlic, you should eat one clove per day, or 300 to 1,000 milligrams (mg)Trusted Source of garlic extract.

Protective effects may include:

  • antibacterial properties
  • blocking and halting the activation of cancer-causing substances
  • enhanced DNA repair
  • a reduction in cancer cells spreading
The active component in garlic is allicin, a compound that has been shown to kill off cancer cells in multiple test-tube studies (SourceSourceSource).

Several clinical studies have found an association between garlic intake and a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

One study of 543,220 participants found that those who ate lots of Allium vegetables, such as garlic, onions, leeks and shallots, had a lower risk of stomach cancer than those who rarely consumed them (Trusted Source).

A study of 471 men showed that a higher intake of garlic was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer (Trusted Source).

Another study found that participants who ate lots of garlic, as well as fruit, deep yellow vegetables, dark green vegetables and onions, were less likely to develop colorectal tumors. However, this study did not isolate the effects of garlic (Trusted Source).

Based on these findings, including 2–5 grams (approximately one clove) of fresh garlic into your diet per day can help you take advantage of its health-promoting properties.

Despite the promising results showing an association between garlic and a reduced risk of cancer, more studies are needed to examine whether other factors play a role.

3. Ginger

Ginger is suggested to play a beneficial role against cancer because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.

When it comes to adding ginger to your diet, ginger supplements can be too concentrated and aren’t recommended. Instead, cut up and add fresh ginger root to a meal or purchase ginger candy for a quick snack.

Avoid excessive amounts of ginger, as it may interact withTrusted Source blood thinners and affect certain people’s blood sugar levels.

4. Green tea

Several in vitroin vivo, and epidemiological studies have reported that the consumption of green tea may decrease cancer risk. Green tea also contains chemicals called polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

If you have cancer, consider drinking up to 3 cups of green tea per day to experience the benefits. Green tea pills are also available, but may be too concentrated.

5. Selenium

The mineral selenium removes free radicals from the body, making it a potential defense against cancer. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that attack cells and can eventually lead to cancer if they’re not removed.

Too much selenium can be toxic, but doses as high as 300 micrograms (mcg) have been shown to reduce certain kinds of cancer, including cancers of the:

  • esophagus
  • colon
  • lung
  • liver

The recommended daily amount of selenium is 55 mcg. You can get your daily dose via supplements, or through foods like cereal, grains, and Brazil nuts.

6. Vitamin D

Vitamin D can absorb calcium and help the immune, muscle, and nervous systems function properly.

According to BreastCancer.orgresearch suggestsTrusted Source that certain cancers such as breast cancer, can have a higher risk of occurring when the body has low levels of vitamin D.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 15 mcg. Vitamin D can be absorbed through sunlight, or with the following diet:

  • fatty fish
  • egg yolks
  • fortified milk

7. Turmeric

The Indian spice turmeric can be extremely helpful when it comes to fighting cancer. Studies show that the curcumin in turmeric may kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth. This preclinical research has taken curcumin from the lab to the clinic. 

In 2022, there are more than 50 clinical trials with curcumin, most of which are still ongoing.

The benefits of curcumin may include: 
  • blocking cancer cells from multiplying
  • killing colon, breast, prostate, and melanoma cancer cells
  • slowing tumor growth

Add some turmeric to your next dish, or take a supplement containing curcumin to experience the benefits of this powerful substance.

8. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an excellent cancer-fighting nutrient. Vitamin E is fat-soluble and acts as a strong antioxidant, helping the body remove cell-damaging free radicals.

Vitamin E can significantly decrease the risk for prostate, colon, and lung cancers. In fact, low amounts of vitamin E may increase the risk of cancer. It’s important to get enough of this vitamin daily from diet or supplements.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin E is 8 to 10 mg. You can also eat the following foods to supplement vitamin E in your diet:

  • almonds
  • avocado
  • broccoli
  • beans
  • mango
  • spinach
  • olive oil

9. Quercetin

Quercetin is an antioxidant flavonol that's found in foods such as red grapes, green tea, elderflower and onions, to name a few.1 As the health benefits of the supplement become more widely known, the market has grown rapidly (R). According to market research, quercetin market was worth $261.12 million in 2020 and is expected to reach $406.58 million in 2027.

A paper published in August 2022 in Nutrition Research analyzed the pro-apoptotic effect that quercetin has on aging cells. The paper reviewed preclinical and early phase data using quercetin as a senolytic agent and found the data showed it was effective in “preventing or alleviating cancer formation.”

The authors reviewed the importance of cellular aging in the development of cancer cells and the effect that quercetin may have on the suppression of cancer cell proliferation. Research has found that cellular aging can suppress tumor development, but paradoxically can also enhance cancer development (R).

Cellular senescence is a dynamic and multi-step process that is associated with alterations in metabolic activity and gene expression.11 This can compromise tissue regeneration and contribute to aging. On the other hand, by removing senescent cells, age-related dysfunction can be attenuated and potentially extend the lifespan.

One paper published in 2008 recognized that animal studies had demonstrated quercetin could prevent chemically-induced cancer growth and epidemiological studies found it was associated with preventing lung cancer. One study focused on the effect that physiologically attainable doses of quercetin had on the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation. The researchers believed their study demonstrated quercetin had chemopreventive properties.

Lab studies have also demonstrated that quercetin is a strong antioxidant and has pro-apoptotic effects on tumor cells, with the ability to block growth at different phases of the cell cycle. Research also has demonstrated that quercetin can promote the loss of cell viability and autophagy through several pathways, including those involving mitochondrial function and glucose metabolism.

Data indicate that quercetin could play a role in cancer treatment as it reportedly has synergistic effects in combination with chemotherapy agents or radiation therapy. Quercetin has also shown promising results with chemoprotective and radioprotective properties, by protecting normal cells against the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

One paper identified some of the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiproliferative properties quercetin has that enhances breast cancer treatment, while another evaluated its effect on the treatment of ovarian cancer, which is a serious cancer growth and threat to women's health.

According to Mount Sinai, quercetin should be used with caution as it may interact with certain antibiotics by reducing the effectiveness of the drug. It may also enhance the effect of some blood thinners, which can increase your risk of bleeding. In addition to these, it may interact with corticosteroids, digoxin, cyclosporine and fluoroquinolones.

10. Vitamin C and B6

Obese women who took vitamin C and B6 at amounts that exceeded the recommended daily intake levels were associated with a lower risk of breast cancer, according to a five-year long South Korean cohort study. 40,432 women without a history of cancer at baseline were included in this study.



Precautionary note: Please do not take dosages that exceed recommended daily intake without the guidance of a trusted medical provider.

Outlook

When interpreting scientific studies, let’s remember that cell culture results are trumped by mouse results. Mouse results are trumped by human results. Case studies & small human trial results are trumped by double-blind placebo controlled ones.

The best way to prevent cancer is by maintaining good health, like from eating a nutritious whole-food diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, and exercising. While there’s no silver bullet vitamin, there are some anti-cancer supplements on the market that may help you keep the disease at bay or stop it from getting worse. Whether you’re living with cancer, a survivor, or just concerned for your health, talk to your doctor to determine the best treatment for you.

Adapted and updated based on the following reference: https://www.healthline.com/health/anti-cancer-supplements

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