Nutrition for Multiple Myeloma

It is a good idea to talk with your doctor before making any major changes to your diet or taking any additional supplements. The content on this page is for information purposes, and not any kind of recommendation or promotion of products.

Foods that help fight multiple myeloma, nutrition

Immunocomprimised Diet Guidelines, This diet is used to help decrease the amount of bacteria a person who has a weakened immune system eats, including multiple myeloma patients.
(PDF, from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center)

Health Maintenance - Diet and Nutrition (IMF)

The Right Diet May Offer Myeloma Prevention (From Everyday Health)



Iron to help with anemia

The following foods contain iron:



Be sure to include fiber in your diet, whole grains, legumes, beans

Fats (from: The Good, The Bad And The Multiple Myeloma)

Sodium and Salt


Because multiple myeloma affects kidneys, sodium may need to be limited. If your sodium needs to be reduced, it is a good idea to examine food labels for the amount of sodium per unit.

Salt Calculator calculate the percent of an adult daily minimum
Sodium Calculator calculate sodium or calculate salt

To calculate the salt content, find the sodium content in milligrams (mg) found in the nutritional facts label.
Then divide this mg amount by 0.4 (salt is 40% sodium) and then multiply by the weight in grams of the food per serving.
Finally, multiply this number by 0.10 (a conversion factor) to get the percent salt.

Which lower-sodium foods taste best? (from Consumer Reports)

Mrs. Dash seasonings are sodium free
Trader Joe's has a number of low sodium products, including salsa
Hunt's has no salt added ketchup

Sodium Girl, Adventures in a low sodium life, lots of tips and recipes

Sodium chart of foods sodium information
USDA create your own list by nutrient
Sodium Content of Foods (by dietgrail)

Restaurant Websites

Example: Olive Garden (on restaurant sites, this may be on the bottom of the page or in the sitemap)

Pesto Alfredo has 1120 mg of sodium, but a Marinara sauce has 720 mg. You can request the sauce on the side and only use a portion of it.

House salad with standard dressing: 740 mg
House salad without the dressing: 250 mg. You may request vinegar and oil to be brought to the table, which contain 0 mg of sodium.

Supplemental Foods

Healthy Eating

Eat This, Not That (these books analyze what is healthy to eat for a variety of products)

Foods that increase anxiety

Spices and Turmeric


Garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, basil, rosemary, and coriander add a cancer-fighting nutrients.

Thymoquinone from black cumin, (blog reference, scientific study)


Turmeric (containing curcumin)

Patients should not take turmeric capsules without first consulting with their doctor.

Turmeric combined with piperine, found in black pepper, increases the absorption of curcumin by a significant factor (reportedly up to 1000 times)

Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers (NCBI)

How turmeric kills cancer and how to optimize curcumin absorption

Turmeric Health Benefits: Have a Happy New Year With Turmeric (Huffington Post)

Study on curcumin showing how it may reduce risk of becoming resistant to certain chemotherapy drugs
Another study including thalidomide and bortezomib

25 Reasons Why Turmeric Can Heal You

How to Remove Turmeric Stains


Blog: Cooking with Turmeric, and World’s Healthiest Foods

People who have obstructed bile ducts or gallstones should not take curcumin as well as those taking blood-thinning drugs such as coumadin (Reference: Margaret's Corner Blog)

Turmeric and Curcumin, talk was given at LearnMMORE About Myeloma (11:38 minutes)



Reishi, a hardwood tree mushroom, has been shown in some studies to have an effect on multiple myeloma. Since reishi is usually in a capsule, the patient should check with their physician if they are receiving any treatment to see if they may take the supplement.

A pure, organic source of reishi is available from Host Defense.

Reishi is sold in the Madison area at:


Technical article at:


If you live in the country, have your water tested for agricultural chemicals. If there are agricultural chemicals present, you may have to look into bottled water or a filter

Bottled water should have been treated to be safe, reverse osmosis treated, distilled and filtered through an absolute 1 micron or smaller filter or “one micron absolute.”

Check and see if your city water is safe, and what has been added to it.

Links for Madison and Dane County

Dane County Water Testing (Public Health Madison and Dane County)

Madison & Dane County Environmental Report Card - 2012 (PDF - see page 27 for water quality)

Testing Your Drinking Water (PDF)
Tests for Drinking Water from Private Wells (PDF)
Drinking Water Quality Information



Sugar, from IMF

From the IMF: "The sugar/insulin balance is under very tight control in the body. One key point is to avoid what is called "glucose intolerance," when sugar and insulin levels are out of sync. Dexamethasone and other steroids push the body toward glucose intolerance. That is why patients taking dexamethasone need to track blood sugar and use medication such as metformin (Glucophage) to control insulin/sugar levels as needed. The relationship between sugar and insulin may be important and related to myeloma cell growth, since insulin has been shown to trigger sugar uptake and myeloma cell growth in laboratory experiments.

Michael Pollan's "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual" provides an excellent guide.

Reduce meat consumption

Research shows that vegetarians are about fifty percent less likely to develop cancer than those who eat meat.
Choose leaner meats, such as fish, chicken, or turkey. If possible, buy organic.


From The Myeloma Beacon Forums, there seems to be a link between dairy products and multiple myeloma
Diet, dairy and multiple myeloma


An article suggests it may help myeloma cells to flourish,


Raw food, because the immune system is compromised, avoid raw fish, unpasturized foods such as apple juice, raw eggs, and so on.

EWG's Dirty Dozen: Cancer Prevention Edition


Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk from National Cancer Institute

Other food products

Potassium Bromate

Scores of Baked Goods Contain Possible Cancer-Causing Additive (potassium Bromate)

Avoid Dry Cleaning

The Real Reason to Ditch Dry Cleaning (from Rodale Wellness)

Hair Coloring

Avoid or limit dark brown and black permanent and semi permanent hair dyes, which contain carcinogens (from Rodale Wellness)


The Good, The Bad and The Multiple Myeloma

Nick's Myeloma Blog

Diet and Multiple Myeloma: Danny Parker’s dietary recommendations

Diet facts and evidence

Diet tips from Healthline

187 Fake Cancer "Cures" Consumers Should Avoid

Ted Talks William Li Diet and Cancer video (20 minutes long)