Nutritional supplements with demonstrated activity against lymphoma cells include:
Curcumin. Curcumin, an extract from the spice turmeric, blocks the growth of various types of lymphoma cells, including Burkitt’s lymphoma and EBV B-cell lymphomas (Han SS et al 1999; Ranjan D et al 1999; Wu Y et al 2002b). In addition to arresting the growth of lymphoma cells, curcumin also causes lymphoma cell death by reducing the levels of some genes (c-myc, bcl-2) and mutant p53 proteins (Han SS et al 1999; Ranjan D et al 1999; Wu Y et al 2002c). Curcumin has an additional benefit in that it blocks the production of growth factors that cancer cells require to invade other organs (Dulak J 2005). Clinical studies have shown curcumin supplements to be safe in doses of up to 3.6 grams a day (Gescher A 2004).
Soy Extract. Genistein, found in soy extracts, induces cell death in lymphoma cells (Baxa DM et al 2003; Buckley AR et al 1993). It increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy for lymphoma by making cells more susceptible to agents that cause lymphoma cell death (Mohammad RM et al 2003). Genistein also reduces the ability of cancer cell spread (angiogenesis) by blocking the production of proteins (angiogenesis growth factors) that cancer cells need to form new blood vessels (Dulak J 2005).
Vitamins A and D. Natural and synthetic vitamin A (also known as retinoids) promote normal cell differentiation and have been used to treat T-cell lymphomas (Kempf W et al 2003; Mahrle G et al 1987; Zhang C et al 2003). Vitamin D blocks the growth of lymphoma cells (Mathiasen IS et al 1993).
Green Tea. Green tea, which contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), triggers lymphoma cell death (Bertolini F et al 2000; Katsuno Y et al 2001). In addition, EGCG from green tea reduces the ability of lymphoma cells to invade other organs by blocking the production of growth factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the glycoprotein messenger interleukin-8 (IL-8), which lymphoma cells need to spread (Dulak J 2005).
Vitamins C and E. In experimental studies, vitamin C has improved the effectiveness of chemotherapy in inducing lymphoma cell death (Chen Q et al 2005; Nagy B et al 2003; Prasad SB et al 1992). Vitamin E supplements boost the function of immune cells capable of killing lymphoma cells (Ashfaq MK et al 2000; Dalen H et al 2003b; Dasgupta J et al 1993). Alpha-tocopheryl succinate, a semisynthetic analogue of vitamin E, is a potential adjuvant in cancer treatment (Dalen H et al 2003a).
Reishi. The active constituents of Reishi mushroom include polysaccharides, a unique protein named LZ-8, and triterpenes (Bao 2001; Xu 2011; Yeh 2010). Among its broad-spectrum immune-boosting effects are the following:
- Reishi promotes specialization of dendritic cells and macrophages, which are essential in allowing the body to react to new threats, vaccines, and cancer cells (Cao 2002; Lai 2010; Jan 2011; Ji 2011; Chan 2005).
- Reishi’s effects on dendritic cells have been proven to boost the response to tetanus vaccine; the mushroom’s proteins are also under investigation as “adjuvants” to emerging cancer DNA vaccines and other immune-based cancer treatments (Lai 2010; Chu 2011; Lin 2011; Zhu 2012).
- Reishi polysaccharide triggers growth and development of bone marrow, where most immune cells are born; following bone marrow eradication by chemotherapy, Reishi increased production of both red and white blood cells (Zhu 2007). Reishi polysaccharides provide immune-boosting function to circulating cancer-killing white blood cells of various types (Xu 2011).
- Reishi increases numbers and functions of virtually all cell lines in the immune system, such as natural killer cells, antibody-producing B cells, and the T cells responsible for rapid response to a new or “remembered” antigen (Jan 2011; Wang 2012; Jeurink 2008).
Laboratory and animal studies confirm that Reishi stimulates an appropriate anticancer immune response while quashing a cancer-promoting inflammatory one. A few small human studies have demonstrated reishi's ability to enhance immune function in patients with advanced cancers (Wang 1997; Ooi 2000; Gao 2003).
Reishi extracts have also proven useful in inducing cell death in various “white blood cell cancers” such as lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma (Muller 2006). In each of these cancer types, Reishi mushroom extracts have been shown to prevent new tumors from arising, and in many cases to shrink existing tumors or pre-cancerous masses (Lu 2001, 2002; Oka 2010; Joseph 2011). These effects, because they may stop a tumor in its tracks before it ever reaches a detectable or dangerous size, can be considered successful cancer prevention by immunosurveillance (Lu 2001, 2002).
Resveratrol. Resveratrol, a naturally occurring substance found in grapes, blocks the growth of lymphoma cells and also increases their rate of cell death (Bruno R et al 2003; Park JW et al 2001). Resveratrol sensitizes chemotherapy-resistant lymphoma cells to treatment with paclitaxel-based chemotherapy (Jazirehi AR et al 2004). Resveratrol also reduces the production of growth factors such as VEGF and IL-8, and theoretically should be beneficial in reducing the ability of lymphoma cells to spread to other organs (Dulak J 2005).
Ginger. Extracts from ginger, known as galanals A and B, induce cell death in human lymphoma cells (Miyoshi N et al 2003).
Fish Oil. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in fish oil induces cell death in lymphoma cells (Heimli H et al 2001, 2002, 2003). Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil normalized elevated blood lactic acid in a dose-dependent manner, increasing disease-free survival and survival time for dogs with Stage III lymphoma (Ogilvie GK et al 2000).
Garlic. Garlic extracts can induce death in lymphoma cells (Arditti FD et al 2005; Scharfenberg K et al 1990). Indeed, in a recent study, conjugation of a garlic extract to the antibody rituximab (which targets lymphoma cells) led to the death of these cells (Arditti FD et al 2005).