Expert Q&A

Vitamins: Important during Cancer Treatment?

Should I take a vitamin supplement while undergoing cancer treatment?

It depends on your diet. If your diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat or protein alternatives, and whole grains, a vitamin and mineral supplement is not necessary. However, if you are not eating a balanced diet, then a daily complete multivitamin supplement is a good idea. By taking a supplement, you will be helping your body get the vitamins and minerals which may be missing from your diet.

It is important to remember that when looking for a multivitamin, you should make sure that it does not exceed 100% of any vitamin or mineral. Taking high doses of vitamins (especially antioxidants A, C, E, and selenium) could damage your treatment. Also, if you are 65 years or older, look for multivitamins that do not contain iron. Inform your doctor of any vitamin or mineral supplements you take.

Dena McDowell, MS, RD
Contributing Expert

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