Diet and Supplements: What Do CLL Patients Need to Know?

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How do changes in diet affect CLL treatment? Are supplements safe to use? Find out now from CLL experts, Dr. Michael Keating and Dr. Jeff Sharman, what patients should know before altering their daily intake of food and sources of nutrition. They also discuss the psychology behind making dietary restrictions, and where patients can go to find out more information on nutrient substitutions.

Provided by CLL Global Research Foundation, which received support from AbbVie Inc., Gilead Sciences, TG Therapeutics, Pharmacyclics LLC and Janssen Biotech, Inc., and Genentech. Produced by Patient Power in collaboration with The US Oncology Network, Compass Oncology, and Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Can you do with diet or supplements that these folks think makes sense?

Dr. Keating:         

I have so many patients that change their life and their diet. I don’t think they enjoy eating anymore. I enjoy eating, so I say, “As far as I can see, there's no evidence that changing the diet changed anything about CLL except carrot juice.”

There's this lady that was juicing for her husband. He came in looking orange. The same time, his spleen doubled in size and his white count went from something like 15,000 to 70,000. When I told him to stop, everything went back to normal.

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. Jeff?

Dr. Sharman:       

I think that we've talked about fear before, and the anxiety. I think that controlling your diet and controlling your supplements is one way in which patients feel like they can regain some control over their disease. As much as financial toxicity comes up, so does supplements in my clinic. Let me just state for the record real quickly, marijuana does not cure CLL. Just to be clear.

Dr. Sharman:       

In the last year, I’ve taken care of three ICU patients who had supplement misadventures.

Andrew Schorr:

Really? 

Dr. Sharman:       

There is a fabulous documentary put out there by Frontline, which is a PBS—it’s called Supplements and Safety. I have a ground rule in my clinic. I will not talk about supplements until you’ve seen Supplements and Safety. It is an unregulated industry.

About half the time, what’s on the label isn’t in the bottle. There is nothing to prevent me from setting up a supplement shop tomorrow and selling you whatever I choose to sell you. I think that this notion that if it’s natural, it can't hurt me is false. I would say less is more in many cases. Eat a healthy diet, exercise. Remember, you're in this, and CLL may not be the cause of your eventual death. I would take an extreme caution although to supplements, because I do not agree with the notion that it’s natural, and therefore, can’t harm me.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on January 17, 2018