top of page

Navigating Multiple Myeloma: A Holistic Approach

Multiple myeloma (MM), a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow, is a complex and challenging disease. While conventional treatment options like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation are crucial, research suggests that a holistic approach incorporating lifestyle modifications, nutritional supplements, and complementary therapies may significantly enhance overall well-being and improve outcomes for individuals living with MM.


Understanding Multiple Myeloma

MM develops when plasma cells, normally responsible for producing antibodies, become cancerous and multiply uncontrollably. These cancerous cells accumulate in the bone marrow, crowding out healthy cells and disrupting normal blood cell production. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including bone pain, fatigue, anemia, and frequent infections.


The Importance of a Holistic Approach

A holistic approach goes beyond simply treating the disease. It addresses various aspects of the patient's health and well-being, aiming to:

  • Enhance Quality of Life: MM treatment often involves side effects like fatigue, nausea, and neuropathy. Holistic therapies like diet, lifestyle, herbal and nutritional supplements can help mitigate these side effects and improve overall quality of life.

  • Immune System: MM and its treatments weaken the immune system, increasing the risk of infections. Dietary modifications, supplementation, and lifestyle choices can bolster immune function and fight off potential infections. Note - we are very careful with interventions in this area given the potential for interactions. Caution is warranted around immune-stimulating herbs which could theoretically stimulate cancer cells of the immune system.

  • Support Body's Natural Defenses: Several supplements and lifestyle choices can support the body's natural defense mechanisms and potentially work synergistically with conventional treatments.

  • Address Underlying Risk Factors: Data suggests that holistic approaches can help identify and address underlying risk factors associated with MM, potentially reducing the risk of recurrence or future complications.


Holistic Strategies for Managing Multiple Myeloma


Blood Testing

  • Nutrient Deficiencies: A 2020 study found lower risk of one complication in patients with MM in those with a higher level of one vitamin.[1]

  • Inflammation: Inflammation levels tend to be higher in myeloma - this can be tested and addressed. A 2022 study found that patients with MM taking on one type of natural anti-inflammatory had twice as high remission rate compared to placebo users.

  • Stem Cell Transplantation: A 2020 study on patients with MM undergoing stem cell transportation found that those with higher levels of one specific nutrient had a better overall outlook.

Dietary Modifications

  • Anti-Inflammatories: Certain dietary approaches and foods have been found in research to lower risk of multiple myeloma (2016 study)[2]

  • Anti-Cancer Compounds: Studies have found various foods that contain compounds that possess anti-cancer activity

  • Antioxidants: Foods that are high in various antioxidants may be associated with a lower risk of MM.


Supplements

  • Neuropathy: A 2014 study on patients with MM undergoing bortezomib therapy found that severe neuropathy was half as frequent in patients using this supplement compared to the untreated group.[3]

  • Mouth Sores: One amino acid has been found to reduce the severity of mouth sores and shorten hospital stays in MM patients undergoing melphalan therapy.


Important Considerations

  • Consult with a Healthcare Professional: Before starting any new supplements or complementary therapies, consult with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe and appropriate for you.

  • Individualized Approach: The optimal holistic approach will vary from person to person based on individual needs, medical history, and treatment plan.

  • Prognostic Measures: Monitoring specific blood markers can help track success


Conclusion

By working collaboratively with your healthcare team and adopting a holistic approach, you can actively participate in your MM journey, improve your overall well-being, and achieve the best possible outcomes. A combination of conventional treatments, lifestyle modifications, and complementary therapies may significantly enhance your quality of life and empower you to navigate this challenging journey with strength and resilience.


References


[1] B12 Vitamini Düzeyinin Multiple Miyelom Kliniğine Etkisi. Atakan Tekinalp,Sinan Demircioğlu,Hakan Bilgen,Hatice Zeynep Dikici,Özcan Çeneli Link

[2] Food of animal origin and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma: A review of the literature and meta-analysis

Author links open overlay panelSaverio Caini a, Giovanna Masala a, Patrizia Gnagnarella b, Ilaria Ermini a, William Russell-Edu c, Domenico Palli a, Sara Gandini b https://doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2016.02.011

[3] Callander N, Markovina S, Eickhoff J, Hutson P, Campbell T, Hematti P, Go R, Hegeman R, Longo W, Williams E, Asimakopoulos F, Miyamoto S. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma treated with bortezomib, doxorubicin and low-dose dexamethasone: a study from the Wisconsin Oncology Network. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2014 Oct;74(4):875-82. doi: 10.1007/s00280-014-2550-5. Epub 2014 Aug 29. PMID: 25168296; PMCID: PMC4175433.

11 views

Comments


bottom of page