Healthy vitamin regimen for survivors?


Question from Bright Eyes: I am a 15-year survivor of breast cancer. I am now 49 years old and would like to know what a general, overall healthy vitamin regimen would be.
Answers - Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. As a woman who is either in menopause or near menopause, there are several things that you need to consider when looking at what you can do to improve your overall health, and vitamin supplements are just part of the process. The first thing that you need to consider is what a healthy weight is for your body size, as extra body fat can be a potential source of estrogen and therefore that would be the first starting point in developing a plan for your overall health and wellness. When it comes to a vitamin supplement, I recommend that my patients who are nearing menopause take a basic vitamin supplement such as a Women's One-A-Day vitamin and since you have had cancer, there are several vitamins that have very high antioxidant potential that should be included. Among those, Vitamins A, E, and C. Selenium, zinc, and CoQ-10 are very important factors. These are found naturally occurring in many foods but to obtain the vitamin amounts that you need to be effective, eating those amounts of food would be prohibitive. The important thing to remember when taking antioxidant supplements is to discuss this with your physician, as many agents we use to treat cancer can be counteracted by the strong antioxidants. Since it has been 15 years since your diagnosis, this should not be an issue. The calcium supplementation is also very important as your bones are nearing the point where osteoporosis and bone mineral loss may begin to be seen. The other factor that you need to add at your age is regular exercise with strength training, as this can help to rebuild bone mineral loss and help prevent osteoporosis. The Vitamin D should be included in the regular One-A-Day vitamin.
Gary Deng The best way to get some of these micronutrients is by a balanced diet. Don't think a vitamin regimen is a replacement for that kind of dietary plan. So pay primary attention to the food you're eating instead of supplements.

On Wednesday, July 18, 2007, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Vitamins and Herbal Supplements. Gary Deng, M.D., Ph.D. and moderator Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about how to safely and sensibly incorporate vitamins and supplements into your diet.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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