Numerous Nutrients Found to Influence Cell Health in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, December 7, 2006, abstracted from “Nutrient Intake and Risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma” in the December 15, 2006 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology

As a form of cancer that afflicts 54,000 people each year, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) can occur at any age and is often marked by enlarged lymph nodes, fever, and weight loss. There are many different types of NHL, and they can be divided into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing) types, and are classified as either B-cell or T-cell NHL.(1)

While current treatment options for NHL range from radiation and chemotherapy to “watchful waiting”,(2) research has started to focus on food and supplements as a way to maintain cell health and reduce NHL risk. High consumption of dairy products or fried red meat increases NHL risk and high fruit and vegetable intake decreases NHL risk.(3) A new study(4) has now found that increasing intake of a number of nutrients, specifically fish oil vitamins C and (in the form of alpha-tocopherol), folic acid iron and fiber may influence cell health and the risk of NHL.

In the study, 591 patients with NHL and 460 patients without NHL from The Scandinavian Lymphoma Etiology Study(5) completed a food frequency questionnaire. Researchers identified a number of nutrients that help enhance cell health by decreasing NHL risk, specifically fish oil, fiber, vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene beta-carotene, folic acid, and iron.

For fish oil, those with intake greater than 300 mg per 1,000 calories per day had a 40% decreased risk of NHL compared to those consuming less than 100 mg per 1,000 calories per day. For fiber, intakes greater than 12 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories resulted in a 50% decrease risk compared to intakes less than 8.8 grams per 1,000 calories. Intakes greater than 8.7 mg per day of vitamin E per day had a 60% decreased NHL risk by 60% compared to intakes less than 5.8 mg per day.

Beta-carotene intake greater than 3,515 micrograms per day had a 40% decreased NHL risk compared to intake less than 1, 575 micrograms per day. Vitamin C intake greater than 147 mg per day had a 30% reduced NHL risk compared to those with less than 73 mg per day. Folic acid intake greater than 329 micrograms per day had a 40% reduced NHL risk compared to those getting less than 213 micrograms per day. Finally, those with 15.5 mg of Iron per day had a 50% reduced NHL risk compared to those with less than 10.5 mg per day.

For the researchers, “consumption of nutrients that suppress inflammation, prevent oxidation, or [control DNA damage] may decrease the risk of developing several types of NHL.”

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at or visiting his web site


1 “What You Need To Know About Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma” posted on the National Cancer Institute website

2 “Treatment Option Overview” posted on the National Cancer Institute website

3 Zhang SM, et al. (2005) Dietary factors and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in men and women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 14:512–20

4 Hans-Olov Adami. Nutrient Intake and Risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published on September 27, 2006. Am. J. Epidemiol. 2006 1641222-1232; doi:10.1093/aje/kwj330

5 Ekström Smedby K, Hjalgrim H, Melbye M, et al. (2005) Ultraviolet radiation exposure and risk of malignant lymphomas. J Natl Cancer Inst 97:199–209