Dr. Patrick Quillin discuss the importance of diet, especially in cancer patients. He also discusses how to get those patients the nutrition their bodies need when it’s so hard to eat anything during treatments.
Scott: Let’s go back to the patient that’s undergoing chemo, radiation, and we talked about how important it is for them to get the proper nutrition. A lot of times in that situation they don’t want to eat. They can’t eat.
Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS: Good point.
Scott: They don’t feel like eating.
Dr. Quillin: Good point.
Scott: What can be done?
Dr. Quillin: Let’s look at why should nutrition should be included in any cancer patient’s comprehensive care. Number one, 40 percent or more of cancer patients actually die of malnutrition. And you just mentioned one of the reasons is chemotherapy. First of all, they’re depressed because they got this diagnosis of cancer. Maybe things aren’t looking too good. Then they’re given chemotherapy, which further removes appetite, causes nausea. And then oftentimes chemo changes the body’s ability to digest and absorb the food. If you went from marginal malnutrition, now you’ve got serious malnutrition. In my book, Beating Cancer With Nutrition, I talk about, among other things, this dragon slayer shake and I have found many patients have given me feedback. They said it’s very helpful. Basically, taking some fruit and vegetable, puree it in a high speed blender, add a tablespoon or two of whey protein, or something like that, and then add a half of a frozen banana, and it has the consistency of a milkshake, and yet it’s got good nourishment, vital chemicals, some protein, and even when patients are feeling nauseated, tired, depressed and can’t eat a meal, they can still drink this and it will keep their bodies nutritional status at an adequate level. So nutrition is vitally important for that.
Number two, nutrition is important because it’s going to help protect the body against the damaging effects of chemo and radiation. These are non- selective poisons. They kill everything in their pathway. But a well nourished patient will find that those cytotoxic therapies are going to be more toxic to the cancer and not to the healthy tissue. We also find that the immune system is built from and repaired by nutrients in the diet. And that’s another important reason for nutrition. We also find sugar. We mentioned cancer is a not a good glucose metabolizer. Not just the amount of sugar you eat, but nutrients that help you metabolize it and lower your blood glucose levels. Herbs, like cinnamon. Nutrients, like fish oil. Magnesium. Chromium. These are all part of the body’s regulation ofblood glucose.
And then the fifth thing is that nutrients become biological response modifiers. Studies have shown that fish oil, selenium, a whole assortment of vital chemicals literally become magic medicines in the body. And the only reason you don’t hear about it more often is because there’s no champion of those. We have a $2.4 trillion a year medical industrial complex, of which $280 billion is the pharmaceutical industry, and some of it’s useful. But none of them are going to champion these things like fish oil or ellagic acid because you can’t get a patent on a natural substance, therefore, your doctor doesn’t know about it and it’s not widely used in cancer hospitals.