Monday, June 4, 2007

Wham: Adaptogens for Cancer Fatigue

Adaptogens are once again in the news. In this case, North Central Cancer Treatment Group researchers, based at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have generated preliminary data suggesting that a form of American ginseng provides greater improvements in fatigue and vitality in patients who receive the highest doses tested, compared to lower doses or no treatment. Here's a clipping from this research work, which was presented on June 3rd at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Many cancer patients face extreme fatigue after diagnosis and during treatment. Getting more sleep or rest often does not relieve the fatigue, nor is it related to activity levels. Other than exercise, there isn’t a good solution available for these patients.

“Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most profound and distressing issues patients face,” one of the authors, Dr. Barton, says. "This unique type of fatigue can have dozens of causes, and for patients who have completed cancer therapy, fatigue is among their foremost concerns, second only to fear of disease recurrence.”

The success of this herb points to its characteristics as an adaptogen -- a substance that helps the body overcome the effects of environmental stress. Since cancer patients have stressors ranging from the psychological stress of diagnosis to the physiological stresses of chemotherapy and radiation, if this protocol helps, the researchers think it would be a valuable addition to currently available therapies.

“With animal data indicating the possibilities with respect to increased swimming endurance, and the availability and verified product quality of Wisconsin ginseng, we decided to move forward with a pilot study,” says Dr. Barton.

The investigators enrolled 282 patients in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, averaging 71 patients per each of four arms, with between 39 and 48 patients in each arm completing the eight weeks of treatment. Treatment arms consisted of placebo, and three different daily doses of Wisconsin ginseng -- 750, 1,000 and 2,000 milligrams.

Of the four treatment arms, patients receiving the placebo and the lowest dose of ginseng reported very little improvement in fatigue or other areas of physical or psychological well-being. The patients receiving the larger doses showed improvements in overall energy levels, reporting higher vitality levels and less interference with activity from fatigue. They also reported an improvement in overall mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being.

Adaptogens in general have the ability to provide both a mental and physical uplift, a "back to the body's norm" as opposed to the over-stimulation that comes from coffee or herbs like Guarana. Congratulations are due to these Mayo researchers who had the guts to experiment with herbs in an atmosphere that must be entirely focused on pharmaceutical options.

An excellent article about cancer fatigue is linked to the headline of today's post. Alternatives to American Ginseng for cancer fatigue include two of the most powerful adaptogens in the world today, MIND BODY & SPIRIT a Rhodiola rosea supplement, and Adapt 232®, a combination of the three super adaptogens, Rhodiola, Eleuthero, and Schizandra.


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