I have breast cancer and am taking a lot of supplements to build up my immune system.

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Many thanks for replying so promptly to my enquiry. I have been in contact with a nutrition consultant who is Dip ION MNCA qualified. He has recommended that I eliminate the following things from my diet: tea, coffee, sugar, salt, alcohol and dairy products. I am aware of maintaining a healthy balanced diet.

The supplements I am taking are produced by BioCare and are as follows:

  • AD-206 herbal nutrient complex – adrenal function
  • PT-208 herbal nutrient complex – pituitary nourishment
  • Opti zinc – ie zinc methionine
  • Nutriguard forte – very powerful antioxidant with beta carotene and lycopene
  • Hypoallergenic Femforte – nutrient complex food supplement formulated for women
  • Herbal Buccalzyme – immune system nourishment
  • Phytosterol complex – herbal combination food supplement containing plant oestrogens

I am also taking Efamast, (gamolinic acid), prescribed by my general practitioner doctor for breast pain.

I am confused by two apparently conflicting opinions:

  1. If I don’t get colds very often its a sign of a strong immune system.
  2. If I don’t get colds very often its a sign of a weak immune system.

Have you any ideas? Thank you for your suggestions for discussing this with my GP (general practitioner). I will do so next time I see him at one of my frequent check-ups.

I do not know what a Dip ION MNCA qualified nutrition consultant is as we don’t have them in the US where almost all states license who can call themselves a nutritionist. So check the educational credentials of this nutrition consultant yourself and with your doctor. There are registered dietitians in the United Kingdom and you can contact the British Dietetic Association to find a registered dietitian near you.

I checked BioCare’s United Kingdom website for information on their supplements. Unfortunately they don’t provide nutrient or ingredient information about their supplements online so I can’t tell what or how much of any nutrient or herbal is in these supplements. It doesn’t appear that BioCare makes Buccalzyme.

The supplement bottle label reflects what is in the bottle which is required in the US by the 1994 Supplement Act. Bring your vitamin and herbal supplement bottles to your next doctor’s appointment.

Efamast is gamma linolenic acid, a fatty acid available in the oils from the seeds of evening primrose, borage and blackcurrant. Don’t know if this interferes with any medications your doctor prescribed so bring this bottle with to the next cancer doctor’s appointment.

I don’t see any reason with your history of breast cancer to eliminate salt or dairy products. If you are vomiting due to chemotherapy or radiation, you will be losing salt and will need to make sure you replenish with salt in the foods you eat. Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. As to whether you eliminate coffee, tea or sugar that is up to you. Alcohol intake would be at your discretion and no more than 1 alcoholic beverage per day would be advised.

Regarding the frequency of getting colds, certain populations have more frequent colds. Infants, the elderly, people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or are immunosuppressed like with AIDS would be at higher risk. Unfortunately there are no antiviral drugs that are effective against the common cold. Talk to your doctor about your frequency of colds and your immune system.