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Weight Loss Due to Cancer Treatment Using Protein Powder

Weight loss is common during cancer treatment. Weight loss may be due to cancer, the type of treatment (chemotherapy and radiation), other medications, emotions, pain, fatigue, or problems that may hinder digestion. Good nutrition is necessary for faster recovery before, during, and after treatment.

You may not feel hungry when you are fighting cancer. Many cancer treatments may cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, taste changes and dry mouth. If you do not take a proper diet, it may also increase the risk of complications. Though you might not feel like eating due to various side effects of treatments, you must maintain your calorie, protein, and fluid intake during cancer treatment. Protein powder for cancer patients may serve as a simple source of nutrition that supports the cancer fight. Research has shown that it can be a valuable part of a cancer patient’s recovery efforts. It is a condensed nutrition that can help patients maintain muscle mass. More, protein powder has proven benefits toward immunity as well as anticancer properties.

Why does cancer cause weight loss?

Several factors can contribute to cancer-related weight loss. Cancer cells demand more energy than healthy cells, so your body may burn more calories at rest than it normally would. The cells also release substances that affect how your body uses calories from food, which also can contribute to weight loss.

As your body tries to defend itself against cancer, the immune system produces substances called cytokines that increase inflammation. Cytokines can alter metabolism and interfere with the hormones that control appetite, causing further loss of weight.

Some types of cancer are more likely to lead to weight loss than others. Cancers that affect the mouth or throat may make chewing or swallowing difficult. Patients with nausea, a common side effect of cancer, may have little or no appetite and may be unable to keep food down. Tumors that affect organs near the abdomen, such as ovarian cancer, may press on the stomach as they grow, so patients feel full even though they’re eating less.

Effects of treatment

Weight loss also may be related to cancer treatments. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause nausea and vomiting, as well as a loss of appetite. Some patients develop sores in their mouths, which make it challenging or painful to eat normally. Cancer patients face significant risk of declining muscle mass during chemotherapy. Muscle loss sets forth a host of potential dangers. Declines could lead to an increased rate of postoperative infections, delayed recovery after surgery and higher risk of treatment toxicity. Ultimately, it could negatively impact quality of life and lessen the chances of survival.

Cancer can take not only a physical toll, but an emotional one as well. Along with fatigue and weakness, patients may have stress, depression or anxiety — all of which can have a negative effect on appetite and energy levels.

Why is protein important for cancer patients?

Protein is necessary 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.

The importance of protein powder for cancer patients

 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.

Due to some side effect of the cancer treatment, you may lose your appetite and do not want to eat anything. Adding protein powder to food or drinking it with water juices can manage the deficit of protein in body.  Protein powder can reduce the risk of muscle decline among those undergoing treatment, protein is the foundation of muscle. Protein powder is high in leucine, a branched chain amino acid that’s key to initiating muscle protein synthesis.

A study found that malnourished, advanced cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy had improved body composition, strength weight and lesser chemotherapy toxicity after three months of whey protein supplementation.

Muscle health is only one concern that comes with cancer recovery. Evidence has shown that immune suppression associated with cancer contributes to the progression of the disease. Protein powder supports immunity, and by way of the same processes, appears to have a cancer-fighting role.

Alternatives to food

  • If food is not appealing, have a nutritious beverage instead.
  • A high-protein powder shake or smoothie can have as many calories as a small meal or large snack.
  • Have a ready-to-drink liquid nutrition supplement when food is not appealing.
  • Cancer and cancer treatments may cause malnutrition.
  • Eating the right amount of protein and calories is important for healing, fighting infection, and having enough energy.
  • Nutrition support helps patients who cannot eat or digest food normally.
  • Milkshakes, smoothies, or protein shakes can be made with yogurt, milk, ice cream, protein powder, fruit, and other ingredients using a blender. Have these ingredients available for times when a drink sounds better than a meal.


Proper nutrition is an essential element toward successfully navigating the journey back to health. Experts recommend a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains and limited consumption of non-veg items. Sometimes it is difficult for the patient to eat food due to several side effects of cancer treatment. In such a situation, protein powder accomplishes all the body’s needs and saves from malnutrition.

Why is protein powder important for cancer patients?

  • It gives nutritional support to patients who cannot eat or digest food normally
  •  It helps in healing, fighting infection, and having enough energy.
  • If food is not appealing, have a nutritious beverage instead.


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