Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

An Alternative Treatment for Lymphoma?

I am trying some natural approaches for stage 2, diffuse, large B-cell lymphoma. I found a doctor who does intravenous alpha-lipoic acid treatments to shrink the tumors and was wondering what you thought about that.

Answer (Published 2/25/2011)

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a cancer of B-lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. In this disease, B-lymphocytes are larger than normal, do not respond to signals that should limit their reproduction, and do not function well to defend the body. Left untreated, DLBCL is fatal, but with timely and appropriate treatment, more than half of all patients can be cured.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Cancer Support - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Do you or a loved one have cancer? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide has simple, effective preventive health information and tools including an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Join today and get 14 days free!

This very serious disease should be managed by an oncologist. I certainly wouldn’t rely on alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) in any form to reduce the size of lymph nodes or address the disease process.  ALA is vital to cellular energy production, and helps to neutralize damage caused by free radicals, and alpha-lipoic acid supplements have been studied for treatment of diabetic neuropathy, HIV, liver ailments such as chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis, and glaucoma. ALA may also improve long-term memory via its protective effects on brain and nerve tissue, and it shows promise as a treatment for stroke and other brain disorders, which often involve damage from free radicals.

Although ALA is nontoxic, I have seen no evidence suggesting that it is an appropriate treatment for cancer of any type, although I am aware that it is being promoted for both the prevention and treatment of malignancies. Because they function as antioxidants you should know that ALA supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of both chemotherapy and radiation, therapies which rely on oxidative damage of cancer cells.

When dealing with cancer, first determine what conventional therapies have to offer. Then try to find an oncologist who is open to an integrative approach; see Integrative Oncology edited by Donald Abrams, M.D. and me (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Read more from Dr. Abrams: Treating Cancer With Integrative Medicine and Preventing Cancer With Integrative Medicine.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here