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Getting nutrients from foods rather than from supplements may be a wiser and cheaper choice. Toxicities and nutrient imbalances are less likely to occur when nutrients are derived from foods. For example, high intakes of some nutrients may decrease absorption of other nutrients.

People who are undergoing treatment for cancer should consult their doctors before taking vitamins, minerals or other supplements that might interact with the cancer drugs prescribed.

In the following table, we highlight some of the nutrients which may be beneficial to cancer patients. They are also available in the form of supplement.

Supplement and its natural food sourcePossible Risks

Calcium
Found naturally in many diary products, leafy green vegetables and some fish.
In rare cases, excessive consumption of calcium can lead to hypercalcemia, which can cause kidney stones, muscle pain, and mental confusion. People with advanced prostate cancer should avoid excessive consumption of dietary or supplemental calcium.

Potassium
Found naturally in foods including apricots, potatoes, bananas, oranges, pineapples, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans and lean meat.
People with low potassium levels in their blood should consult their doctors before taking potassium supplements. Taking excessive potassium supplements can cause potassium to build up in the blood, resulting in a condition known as hyperkalemia.

Selenium
It is found in soil all over the world in varying amounts.
A small amount of selenium is all the human body needs. Large amounts in supplement form can be toxic, may also cause selenium poisoning.

Vitamin C
Found in citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, and in green leafy vegetables, potatoes, strawberries, bell peppers and cantaloupe.
Taking excessive Vitamin C supplements can cause headaches, diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, stomach cramps and possibly kidney stones.

Coenzyme Q10
Found naturally in foods such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, beef, soyabeans, peanuts, and spinach.
Side effects may include headache, heartburn, and fatigue. Excessive dosage may cause involuntary muscle movements. It may interact with anticoagulant medications and pose a risk for prolonged bleeding.

Glucarate
Found primarily in apples, grapefruit, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and bean sprouts.
Glucarate may have potential as an anticancer agent; however, there is no evidence yet to show that the supplement is effective in treating cancer or lowering cancer risk in humans.

Hydrogen Peroxide
It is well known for its antiseptic properties.
It is harmful if swallowed. Drinking of concentrated solutions can cause vomitting, severe burns of the throat and stomach, and even death. Direct skin contact or breathing the vapors of hydrogen peroxide can also be harmful.

Laetrile
It is a compound produced from amygdalin, a naturally occurring substance found primarily in the kernels of apricots, peaches and almonds.
The use of Laetrile has been directly linked to cyanide toxicity and death in a few cases.

Lipoic Acid
Found naturally in certain foods, including red meat, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, yams, carrots, beets, and yeast.
Lipoic acid found naturally in foods is safe. Excessive dosage of lipoic acid supplements may damage cells and should be avoided.

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