Supps to Soothe Chemo Pain

By Lisa Marshall

A natural sleep remedy, a tea extract, and a good ol’ multivitamin can help alleviate fatigue and pain among cancer patients, new research suggests. The study by researchers at Cancer Treatment Centers of America looked at 50 pancreatic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. All were taking pain medication, but 36 also took green tea extract, melatonin, and multivitamins. The patients rated their pain and fatigue levels at zero, three, and six months. The group using complementary treatments improved on both fronts (40 percent considered their pain manageable at the onset, while 67 percent had manageable pain six months later; fatigue averaged 55 at the onset, and 35 three and six months later). Meanwhile, the other 14 got worse. Researcher Timothy Birdsall, ND, says taking supplements may help pain meds work longer and lift the haze that accompanies analgesics. He recommends 1,000 mg of green tea extract a day, 20 mg of melatonin at bedtime, and a daily multivitamin with 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Just remember to keep your oncologist in the loop about your supplement use.