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Benefits Of Protein Powder During Cancer Treatment

Benefits Of Protein Powder During Cancer Treatment

What is protein?

Proteins are large molecules in the body that do most of the work in our cells; and in effect, our tissue and organs. Proteins are made up of amino acids.

Why is protein important?

Protein is a must for body maintenance, growth, and repair. Protein is present in almost all body cells and has many functions, such as:

  • Formation and maintenance of muscles, connective tissues, red blood cells, enzymes, and hormones.
  • Transporting many body compounds, as well as medications.
  • Maintaining the balance of body fluids.
  • Fighting infections and strengthening immunity.

Generally, your diet provides enough protein; however, while undergoing surgery or treatment for cancer, your protein needs may increase. It is important to be aware of the food sources of protein; and to include these foods at every meal and snack. 

Why is protein crucial for cancer patients?

“Protein helps build and maintain muscle, which is important for cancer patients who might be having problems eating and are losing weight;” Schreiber says. “When they lose weight, it’s often muscle and not fat, so protein is vital during treatment.”

Other benefits of protein include enhanced cell growth and repair, as well as improvements in blood clotting and infection fighting.

Why protein powder?

Most healthy people can easily get enough protein in their diet, but surgery and cancer treatment can increase protein requirements and make it harder for some people to meet these needs. The optimal amount of protein in people with cancer has not been determined, but recommendations often range between 1.2 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, according to nutrition and cancer guidelines established by The European Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 

Cancer treatment can reduce the appetite and increase the need of protein for a patient. In such cases, it gets hard to get enough nutrition through food. This can lead to poorer results of treatment and leave the patient weak and delay the recovery.

This problem can be addressed by choosing an appropriate nutritional supplement. Now there are many supplements available which can help the patient with ample nutrition without really worrying about eating. There are several different protein supplements you can look into as well such as soy protein, whey protein powder, hemp protein powders. Consult with a certified dietitian to figure out the best way for you to obtain protein.

Protein powder can help you with weight loss

Weight loss is a concern during cancer treatments like radiation and chemo because side effects can include nausea, appetite loss and painful swallowing. To gain or maintain weight during this difficult time, people with cancer can try adding high-calorie, protein-rich beverages to their diet.

"Cancer and cancer treatments can lead to poor appetite, nausea, taste and smell changes, feeling full too quickly and difficulties digesting food," explains Rachel Dudley, RD, a clinical dietitian at the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Houston. And not getting proper nutrition during treatment puts a person with cancer at risk for weight and muscle loss, poor energy and dehydration, she adds.

The best way to prevent weight loss is to eat well at every meal, but many people with cancer find they're unable to dine the way they used to. To make eating more tolerable — and tasty — during cancer treatments, consider drinking your calories. The National Cancer Institute suggests liquids like smoothies, juices and soup when solid foods are less than appealing. Ready-to-drink oral supplements and shakes are often an easy and well-tolerated way for people in cancer treatment to increase calorie and protein intake throughout the day.

High protein supplements can alleviate cancer: Study

In one case study done in one Hyderabad hospital suggested that the head and neck cancer patients who took high quality protein supplements, recovered faster. Also their quality of life improved significantly compared with the patients who couldn’t afford to take these supplements and were discharged much earlier.

Have a speedy recovery.

The treatment a cancer patient goes through is stressful and it takes a serious toll on their body therefore they need every bit of help they can get for a speedy and healthy recovery. This is especially true concerning protein as it makes up critical cell structures in muscle, organs, blood cells, connective tissue, and skin. So if you or a loved one is going through cancer treatment then find how much protein you need and start figuring out how many changes you need to make to take the required amount of protein. It sounds like work but it'll be really helpful for a healthy recovery.

To sum up

Protein supplements are proven to be a good source of energy and improve the quality of life during and after treatment. However, they can be expensive. If one can take enough nutrition from food, they can choose the food wisely, which gives them everything they need.

Supplements can be a boon for those who are unable to do so. Please refer to your dietician or doctor while choosing the right supplements for you!

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