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
cells including RBC, WBC, and platelets.
With 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/
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
CTX / radiation plus garlic oil
suppressed the decrease
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
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
However, further research is
needed to find out if garlic oil could reduce the adverse effects induced by