Garlic oil could be used as complementary medicine for cancer patients receiving Chemotherapy / Radiotherapy, to ease the adverse effects of these treatments, reveals a study published in the Journal of Food Science.
Chemo and radiation therapy are effective against the cancer, but they also have many side effects that adversely affect the patient's body. Side effects such as anemia (causing fatigue, paleness, shortness of breath, and a fast heartbeat) and blood clotting problems (causing small red spots on the skin, bloody or black bowel movements or vomit, or bleeding from the nose or gums) are often seen with chemotherapy because these drugs and radiation adversely affect the body's production of healthy blood cells including RBC, WBC, and platelets.
AdvertisementWith the incidence of cancer cases rising globally, it has become imperative to find natural ways to reduce the adverse effects of the two major methods for cancer treatment, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Anticancer effects of garlic and its products have already been demonstrated by various studies but not much information is available on whether garlic benefits people undergoing chemo/ radiotherapy.
So, researchers at School of Public Health, Shandong University, China, set out to investigate the effects of garlic oil on the adverse effects of chemo/radiotherapy in mice with cancerous tumors.
In the chemotherapy test, the tumor-bearing mice were treated with cyclophosphamide (CTX) or CTX plus garlic oil for 14 days, while the mice received a single 5 Gy radiation or radiation plus garlic oil in radiotherapy test.
The findings showed that garlic oil did not enhance the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but they did have the following positive results with garlic oil co-treatment -
• CTX / radiation plus garlic oil suppressed the decrease of the peripheral total white blood cells (WBCs) count induced by chemo / radiation.
• Added garlic oil treatment significantly inhibited the decrease of the DNA contents and the micronuclei ratio of the bone marrow. Micronuclei are small nuclei in the DNA that are essential for reproduction.
• The garlic oil treatment also suppressed the reduction of the endogenous spleen colonies induced by CTX/radiation. Spleen colonies are stem cells located in the bone marrow that is responsible for the formation of RBC, WBC, and platelets and have the capability of self-renewal.
The findings thus support the idea that garlic oil does help reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
However, further research is needed to find out if garlic oil could reduce the adverse effects induced by other chemotherapeutic drugs.