“I Will Beat This, I Will Be Back.” Roman Reigns Steps Out of the Ring to Wrestle LeukemiaCancer
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
If you watch WWE wrestling, you have probably seen Roman Reigns perform in the ring under the spotlight. He weighs 265 pounds and is 6 feet 3 inches tall. And with his incredible athletic achievements, you might even think he is superhuman.
But the 33-year-old, who is cousins with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, recently revealed to the public and his many fans that he is a cancer victim and has been fighting this beast for 11 years. Reigns, whose real name is Leati Joseph Anoa'i, was diagnosed with leukemia at just 22-years-old. He went into remission not long after his diagnosis.
“Though he quickly went into remission, he has been fighting the disease since,” according to one report.
Also a husband and father, Reigns has a lot to fight for and is remaining positive.
"I'm not going to lie, I'll take every prayer you can send my way but I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm not looking for you to feel bad for me, because I have faith," Reigns said when he announced his illness.
“I will beat this, I will be back, and you will see me very, very soon.”
We’ve previously discussed leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Depending on the type of leukemia a person has (Reigns has not revealed what type he has), treatment options may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other forms of treatment.
But nutritional therapy is also an important weapon to be utilized against this cancer.
What is nutritional therapy?
According to the National Cancer Institute, medical nutritional therapy is simply treatment based on nutrition.
“It includes checking a person’s nutrition status [for example, via a nutrient test], and giving the right foods or nutrients to treat conditions such as those caused by diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It may involve simple changes in a person’s diet, or intravenous or tube feeding. Medical nutrition therapy may help patients recover more quickly and spend less time in the hospital.”
The pH health care team has recently discussed nutritional therapy to help treat health issues such as epilepsy, anxiety and substance abuse. There is a large body of evidence to support the conclusion that being nutritionally balanced may be helpful when you are undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy for cancer. Although these treatments may be very effective, they can be hard on the body and immune system.
“Your disease and treatment may increase your body's need for calories and protein. For instance, chemotherapy, other drug therapies and radiation therapy all create a need for more calories and protein each day. Side effects [like nausea and loss of appetite] of your treatment may make it difficult to take in enough calories and protein,” says the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
(And if you are not getting enough calories, you are likely not getting enough nutrients to maintain your health for the duration of the treatment).
Certain cancer treatments may even make it more difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from food.
So it is important to identify those nutrients you may not be absorbing and consult with a competent healthcare specialist to replace them either through diet or supplementation. Providing the body with essential nutrients, such as the right protein, vitamins and minerals, is important in maintaining strength and an efficient immune response.
According to the National Cancer Institute, 50 percent of cancer patients suffer from malnutrition at diagnosis, and “[i]n cancer patients, malnutrition is associated with treatment toxicity, complications, reduced physical functioning, and decreased survival.”
Nutritional Therapy for Leukemia.
“For leukemia patients who undergo a stem cell transplant, nutrition may play an essential role in your care plan. After the transplant, your blood cell counts, including infection-fighting white blood cells, will likely drop, increasing your risk of infection,” reports the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Credible research has shown that vitamin D may be an important nutrient in cancer prevention, and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America agrees that this vitamin is important for leukemia patients.
In addition to this, a 2016 study found evidence that a higher risk of leukemia is linked to low sunlight and low vitamin D levels.
"People who live in areas with low solar ultraviolet B exposure tend to have low levels of vitamin D metabolites in their blood," said one of the study leads in one report.
"These low levels place them at high risk of certain cancers, including leukemia."
Another recent study involving mice suggested that vitamin C may help prevent leukemia. The theory is that stem cells use unusually high levels of vitamin C, which then regulates their function and suppresses the development of leukemia.
“The techniques led researchers to discover that every type of blood-forming cell in the bone marrow had distinct metabolic signatures -- taking up and using nutrients in their own individual way. One of the main metabolic features of stem cells is that they soak up unusually high levels of ascorbate [vitamin C],” according to a report on the study.
“It has been known for decades that people, men in particular, with below-average levels of vitamin C are at increased risk of cancer. That’s where the recommendation comes from that people should eat lots of fruit,” said one of the leads of the study in another report.
Another nutrient, which you may not be very familiar with, that may be key in the treatment of leukemia is glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that plays an important role in immune system and gut health.
A study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that children with leukemia benefitted from undergoing nutritional therapy that included glutamine. These children had improved nutritional status and immune function.
There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Approach
As mentioned, there are different types of leukemia and every person has different nutritional needs. This is why it is important to get tailored advice from a competent healthcare professional when it comes to the prevention and treatment of diseases like cancer.
One thing we all have in common is the need for the right balance of the six basic nutrients - water, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals - so we can be our healthiest. Imbalances in any of these nutrients may affect our health and ability to successfully fight diseases.
The good news is that you can objectively determine or measure the balance of nutrients in your body and take steps to ensure all nutrients are at optimal levels. This ability to monitor your nutrient levels gives you the best ability to successfully fight diseases like cancer.
We will continue to follow Roman Reign’s journey and wish him the best.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.