One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients is weight loss due to loss of appetite. According to a study conducted by Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, lactoferrin, a protein most commonly found in milk, is shown help alleviate the metallic aftertaste side effect associated with this aggressive treatment.
“The prevailing symptom described by patients undergoing chemotherapy is a persistent metallic flavor or aftertaste, with or without food intake,” said Susan Duncan, Ph.D., R.D. at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Thus, cancer patients often suffer poor appetite, weight loss, depression, and diminished nutrition, all of which are detrimental to recovery, according to Manitoba Co-operator News.
After extracting lactoferrin from cows’ milk, researchers administered this protein to chemotherapy users as a dietary supplement and found that it helped reduce unpleasant flavors and even restored the appetite for many of the patients.
“Our research shows that daily lactoferrin supplementation elicits changes in the salivary protein profiles in cancer patients — changes that may be influential in helping to protect taste buds and odor perception,” said Duncan.
While October is typically associated with Brest Cancer Awareness Month,this dairy protein can be used to help relieve one of the negative side effects correlated to chemotherapy, a treatment used to help battle all forms of cancer.