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Cisplatin is a common form of chemotherapy. But once relief that the treatment worked has faded, gradually the after-effects may start niggling us: they can sometimes last a lifetime. So it's worth finding out what exactly causes them.
Cisplatin can damage our kidneys. Instead of recycling the so-called electrolytes, they lose them in the urine. The main electrolytes are magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium, but copper loss can also cause problems (http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/pharm/cisplat.htm - 7.7). This is apart from general malabsorption of nutrients, which adds problems of its own.
Over the last six years I have learned to identify the symptoms of deficiency or surplus of most of these. Our bodies need a balance, and you can have too much of a mineral or other nutrient, as well as too little. If you have been treated with cisplatin, instead of trusting your body to look after this balance, you may have to adjust it yourself, with the help of supplements.
I suppose using a multivitamin/mineral is better than nothing, but often the amounts are not enough for us. Also, multi's give nutrients together, which ought to be taken separately.
Symptoms of over- or underconsumption of magnesium, potassium and the like, vary per person. If you look it up, you will find a whole list of complaints caused by for instance, magnesium deficiency. Every one of us has to experiment for ourselves and find out which problem is caused by what.
Here is an example of common complaints, caused by the lack of one or other of the above:
* Leg or toe cramps; restless legs in the night: magnesium deficiency.
* Evening indigestion; lack of energy: potassium deficiency.
* Stomach cramps; low blood sugar: natrium deficiency. Don't be too afraid of salt, though seasalt is much better for you than table salt.
* Eye problems: probably due to various deficiencies, calcium and magnesium for instance, and lutein and taurine. Eye problems can take a long time to show themselves, so it is important to keep dosed up with the relevant nutrients.
* General tiredness: l-carnitine deficiency. Red meat helps!
* Heart palpitations, strong food cravings: lack of copper.
* Headache: too much calcium or magnesium.
As I said, the list will vary from person to person, it's best to look it up - or by all means ask me, I've got quite a file by now.
With love, and don't hesitate to email me. Annemieke Wigmore.
3d stage cc, chemoradiation and brachytherapy finished 3d June 2006