The use of nutraceuticals in cancer therapy

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2004 Jan;34(1):249-69, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2003.09.001.


The high prevalence of nutraceutical use among human patients with cancer suggests that the use of nutraceuticals in pet animals with cancer is probably common. Dogs with a wide variety of malignant diseases have significant alterations in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. These metabolic alterations may be ameliorated by using functional foods relatively low in soluble carbohydrate, moderate amounts of protein that includes sources of arginine, and moderate amounts of fat supplemented with omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Well-controlled clinical studies in a variety of species with cancer, including rodents, people, and dogs, have documented that increased dietary and serum levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a number of health benefits, including improved disease-free interval, survival time, and quality of life. Other nutraceuticals of interest in patients with cancer include antioxidant vitamins, trace minerals, glutamine, protease inhibitors, garlic, tea polyphenols, vitamin A, and shark cartilage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Animal Diseases / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Complementary Therapies / veterinary*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Food, Organic*
  • Minerals / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplasms / veterinary*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins