Naturopathic Medicine and Cancer Treatment – Personalized Care


Naturopathic medicine at the Ayre Clinic offers personalized care by analyzing each aspect of diet and lifestyle in a patient. A tailored plan consisting of nutrition, herbal, and lifestyle recommendations is created to assist in supporting the body’s immune response to give a patient the best shot of fighting back against the disease.

Naturopathic doctor and clinical nutritionist, Dr. Michael Robinson of Nourish Healthcare and The Ayre Clinic, along with Dr. Thomas Hesselink, take a multifaceted approach to supporting cancer patients during and after their conventional treatment. This consists of:

1. Designing a nutrition plan aimed at supporting the body’s metabolism aimed at slowing cancer growth and supporting the body’s optimal immune function.

2. Utilizing botanical medicine reducing the side effects of chemo and radiation, allowing your standard care to go more smoothly. Botanical medicines are full of beneficial and powerful phytonutrients that can be effective at each stage of your cancer journey.

3. Designing plans to both prepare you for the draining effects of chemo and radiation as well as building your body back up after each treatment, enabling you to go into your next session ready to fight. 

4. Reviewing your current supplement regimen to ensure your current protocol is safe, as well as designing an evidence based nutritional and herbal protocol supporting your immune system and normal metabolic pathways.

Dr. Robinson’s services are adjunctive care for those undergoing traditional drug, surgical, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments. It is required that cancer patients are under the care of a medical doctor concurrently while utilizing naturopathic cancer services. Therefore, patients may see Dr. Hesselink at the Ayre Clinic for medical treatment.

Cancer-Related Pain and Naturopathic Medicine

According to the NDNR, authors Dicken Weatherby, ND and Donald R. Yance, CN, MH, RH, “Pain occurs in one-quarter to one-half of patients with newly diagnosed malignancies, in one-third of those undergoing treatment and in more than three-quarters with advanced disease. Overall, 75% of cancer patients who experience pain have pain severe enough to require treatment with opioids. Analgesic regimens used are often inadequate, causing patients to experience unnecessary pain, as well as debilitating side effects such as constipation, lack of appetite, fatigue, depression and psychological distress.” Many oncologists prescribe morphine, which although is an effective pain relief option, is an opioid that has adverse side effects. These side effects may include drug dependency, respiratory depression, decreased mental alertness, and constipation. Botanical compounds offer another option without the serious mental and physical side effects. “Cancer patients with chronic pain need botanical support to build up their life force in order to have the energy to relieve pain and get well.”

Naturopathic Botanicals and Cancer Treatment

While there are many herbs and nutrients contraindicated in cancer, naturopathic medicine offers a wealth of knowledge of the effects of many nutrients and phytochemicals in supporting the body during conventional cancer care. Traditional oncologists have not received substantial training in herbal medicine and nutritional biochemistry. Dr. Robinson has spent six years of graduate school specifically studying food as medicine. He will work with your oncologist or Dr. Hesselink to create a team approach and provide any research necessary to support recommendations. 

Using certain botanical compounds may have a profound effect on relieving pain and associated side effects, improving the quality of life, and even improving overall health. It is imperative that healthcare providers be adept at the evaluation and treatment of cancer pain, especially with the availability of excellent botanical-based analgesic therapies.

These botanical compounds and vitamins may include:

Panax ginseng extract

May exert protective effects against morphine-induced depression as well as the possibility of potentiating the drug’s pain-relieving effect. Therefore, P. ginseng extract supplementation may effectively reduce the dosage of morphine, concurrently reducing the adverse side effects.

Vitamin D

Essential in the treatment of bone metastasis and bone pain. “Vitamin D prevents generalized and localized bone loss and works well with bisphosphonates.” 

Vitamin K

Another supplement that is imperative in maintaining bone health. “There is a consistent line of evidence in human epidemiologic and intervention studies that clearly demonstrates that vitamin K can improve bone health.”

Natural Neuropathic Pain Relief Options

  • Intravenous magnesium
  • Specific B-vitamins such as B12, B1 and B6
  • Specific amino acid compounds, including glutamine (preferably as magnesium glutamine chelate) and acetyl-l-carnitine
  • Lipoic acid
  • High doses of the fatty acid compounds GLA and EPA/DHA
  • Adaptogens, including Panax and Epimedium 

Integrative Cancer Care: Where Naturopathic Medicine and Oncology Meet

According to the AANMC “Integrative care combines these traditional treatments with evidence-based supportive therapies to help manage side effects, resulting in a better treatment outcome due to the collaboration of the medical and naturopathic clinicians. Besides helping with symptom alleviation during treatment, integrative care can be used to help educate patients at the time of diagnosis and assist with recovery after the medical treatments are completed as a means of bringing the patient back to full health.”

Cancer patients are provided with a collaborative approach to their treatment plan at the Ayre Clinic. Integrative care is at its core the very philosophy of naturopathic medicine, which is treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. As Sharon Gurm, ND, FABNO states, “I realized I wanted to practice medicine differently—in a way that embraced whole-person healing, not just treating the disease.”

The Ayre Clinic is a full-service integrative oncology clinic that includes medical cancer care using Insulin Potentiation Therapy to enhance our chemotherapy regimens, as well as services such as IV vitamin C. We also have providers that specialize in nutrition, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, lymphatic therapy, psychotherapy, and more. Check out the promos for some of these treatments for Whole Health and The Ayre Clinic in our bimonthly newsletter. The Ayre Clinic for Contemporary Medicine offers cancer patients integrative care incorporating naturopathic medicine for a whole-body care system that truly supports treatment providing the patient with the potential for the best possible outcome.

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