Those on dialysis or facing cancer treatments each face unique health needs. These recent studies looked at what nutrients may be of some benefit for these challenging conditions.
Better Quality of Life on Dialysis
Those on dialysis to cleanse the blood when the kidneys stop working often have inflammation and abnormal blood lipids, raising chances for heart problems. Doctors wanted to see if flax could improve lipid profiles.
In this study, 30 people on dialysis with high triglycerides and low levels of HDL—the good cholesterol—ate their normal diet with or without 4 grams (1/7th ounce) of flaxseed per day. After eight weeks, compared to no flaxseed, the flaxseed group saw triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and signs of inflammation all improve.
Doctors said that the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed may prevent fat forming in the liver and may help break down fats and eliminate them from the body. Also, omega-3s in flaxseed may help reduce several types of inflammation in the body.
Reference: Hemodialysis International; 2013, Vol. 17, No. 2, 275-81
People on dialysis are more likely to have calcified arteries, raising chances for heart problems. Vitamin K activates a protein in the body that helps inhibit artery calcification, and those on dialysis usually have high levels of the inactive form of the protein.
In this study, 200 people on regular dialysis took 360 mg, 720 mg, or 1,080 mg of vitamin K2 per day. There was no placebo group. After eight weeks, all three groups saw decreases in the inactive form of the calcium-inhibiting protein, with benefits increasing as the dosage of vitamin K2 increased.
Doctors said they hope vitamin K2 can slow the process of artery calcification and improve the quality and quantity of life for those on dialysis.
Reference: Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation; November, 2013, Published Online
New study finds ginseng reduces fatigue, pain, anxiety, and increases appetite in cancer
Both men and women benefit
Fatigue is the most common symptom in those with cancer, and there are few options for boosting energy. People also often experience pain, anxiety, loss of appetite, and disturbed sleep. In this study, 30 men and women with cancer-related fatigue, pain, anxiety, loss of appetite, and disturbed sleep took 800 mg of Panax ginseng per day.
After 15 days, using standard measurement tests, fatigue scores had decreased by 39.7 percent, pain scores by 28.4 percent, and appetite scores had improved by 32.5 percent.
After 29 days, while pain, fatigue, and appetite scores continued to improve, participants also scored a 32.4 percent improvement in sleep quality and had 52.2 percent lower anxiety scores.
This was an “open label” study, meaning no placebo group. Doctors suggested larger placebo-controlled studies to help confirm these promising findings.
Reference: Integrative Cancer Therapies; 2015, Vol. 14, No. 5, 419-27
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have a medical condition or take medications. For example, flaxseed and ginseng thin blood and K2 is contraindicated with blood thinners.
Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.