What is the correlation between cancer and fatigue?

Dr Kevin Conners answers this common question with the most common reason, as well as offers some practical steps to take to help reduce fatigue. x

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Dr. Conners
Hello everybody. This is Dr. Kevin Conners. Welcome to another of our podcasts. On this podcast, we are going to address some questions that you have that were sent in by some listeners. And the question that we want to address today is the fatigue and cancer. The question was, why is does a cancer patient have fatigue? Quite specifically, why do I have so much fatigue with my cancer?

Let’s jump right into that. So the main reason why a person with cancer would have fatigue has to do with anemia. So there’s different types of anemia and there is a type of anemia that will be seen on a CBC out of blood test that will show red blood cells and hemoglobin, that’s called anemia of chronic disease. Now when we talk about a person with cancer, we know what the chronic disease is. So why would a cancer patient have an anemia? Well, several reasons, but one of the reasons is the most common reason, is that cancer cells, okay. So cells that are in a state of rapid replication are going to draw a lot of iron, they’re going to need iron for replenishment of cellular membranes and cellular tissue that is being created in the replication of new cells, they are going to need energy. They’re going to need oxygen. So iron is going to be depleted in a rapidly replicating cancer. So a person with cancer and the cancer is growing, an increased growth is taking place. One of the first signs that you’re going to see is a relative anemia. So when you do a blood tests, you see a low red blood cell count, you see a low hemoglobin count and you know, you have a cancer diagnosis, that’s one of the first things you’re going to consider. Now, one of the things that your Dr. may recommend is that you start taking iron supplementation in this case. You will not be able to get a transfusion unless your hemoglobin is typically below seven, 7.5, depending on the rules of the hospital. But iron supplementation, may be in order. The problem is is that, I said a growing cancer tends to gobble up iron. Now that can be an issue, am I just feeding my cancer by adding iron supplementation? Well, yes and no. First of all, let’s state that the type of iron that a person should take, whether they have cancer or not, should be a whole food form iron. Typically, what’s recommended is a ferrous sulfate. I don’t recommend that. That will typically constipate a person. It’s very difficult to digest and the absorption rate is low and the usability rate, once it gets into the blood, is low. We recommend a food base iron that’s going to be better absorbed. It’s not going to cause any of the issues with gut issues that ferrous sulfate will. Secondly, will iron supplementation be the smart thing to do if it’s going to feed my cancer? Well it is in a situation of catch 22, because we don’t want to leave a person in a state of anemia that’s going to be fatigue, that’s going to cause all sorts of issues.

But there’s the knowledge that there are certain cancer killing herbs that tend to follow iron. We can take advantage of that. So if a person has anemia, typically we recommend a food base iron supplement plus taking the herb, Artemisinin. Artemisinin is an herb that can be a cancer killer and since it tends to follow iron by coupling it with iron, with a person, with an anemia. If the cancer is gobbling up the iron, it will gobble up the artemisinin as well. And that could be beneficial to help kill the growing cancer. So typically we recommend taking artemisinin with the iron supplementation and that’s going to be your best bet. Now it’s difficult to deal with a rapidly replicating cancer that’s gobbling up iron solely with supplementation. So you want to make sure that you’re getting a CBC, a blood test done, so that your hemoglobin isn’t dropping below that range. And we do recommend you either get packed red blood cells or a transfusion if it does drop below that range, it can be very beneficial as far as how you feel, if it makes you feel like the world of difference.

Another reason, another type of an anemia that you could get with cancer as B12 deficiency anemia that is not an uncommon problem as well. Now if you’re going to take B12 supplementation, again, you could do a blood test to find this out, but if you’re going to take B12 supplementation or if you’re a cancer patient and you’re currently taking B12 just for health benefits, make sure you look at the back of your bottle. We don’t recommend methylated B12 and it’ll say methyl cobalamine on it. The reason is, is that methyl groups, they’re so beneficial for all of us. But for cancer patients, what methyl groups do is they turn off genes, and many people, especially with MTHFR defects can have a deficiency of methyl groups and that could be an issue.

And then taking Methylcobalamin might be appropriate for non-cancer patients, but typically for cancer patients, we don’t recommend supplementing with methyl groups. You’re going to get enough dietary methyl groups by eating your vegetables in your greens. We don’t recommend supplementing with methyl folate or Methylcobalamin because it can aid in or hinder by turning off tumor suppressor genes. And we don’t want to turn off tumor suppressor genes. So we don’t use methyl groups in our office. That’s your choice. We typically recommend if we’re going to use a B12, a hydroxocobalamin or Adenosyl-cobalamin. They’re both very available. They available in our store, most clinics and you could buy them online. Hydroxocobalamin or Adenosyl-cobalamin, not Methylcobalamin not Cyanocobalamin.

The other reason why a person could be deficient or can have energy deficiency with cancer is simply that the growing cancer is gobbling up your ATP, your energy sources. So there’s a lot of ATP, lot of energy that’s required to produce new cells. That’s what’s taking place with a growing cancer. So, that can be an issue as well. So we do not recommend supporting with mitochondrial supplements. That’s very common out there in the natural marketplace. That’s not what we recommend with cancer because you could be supporting the mitochondria of the cancer cells themselves. We do want to look at, if this is the case, is the person eating enough? That is a common problem with later stage cancer. Especially if the person doesn’t have an appetite, they’re not eating enough and they’re just not getting enough calories. So getting good quality calories, not just, you know, some of the prepared drinks that are out there, are not a good choice. You want good quality calories with good quality fats with cancer. So make sure you contact our office about that as well. Okay, so hopefully that covers some broader things about the energy issues and fatigue with cancer. Make sure if you appreciated this video that you “like” it. We do appreciate that, that you subscribe to us so you get our podcasts and share it on Facebook. That’s helpful to us to get the word out there so that we can help more people. And again, if you need anything, go to www.connersclinic.com look at our clinic. We’re gladly there to answer questions. And we do have a nutrition store that you can click out through there and get anything you’d need as well. So again, Dr. Conners, Thank you very much.