Nutritional supplements like Arnica have many health benefits and are being widely used by cancer patients and those at-genetic-risk of cancer. But, is it safe to take Arnica supplements for all types of cancer and without considering any ongoing treatments and other lifestyle conditions? A common belief but only a myth is that anything natural can only benefit me or do no harm. As one example, the use of grapefruit with certain medications is not recommended. Another example, the use of spinach with some blood thinning medications can cause adverse interactions and should be avoided. For cancer, nutrition which includes the food and natural supplements has been shown to influence outcomes. Hence a frequently asked question by cancer patients to dieticians and doctors is “What Should I eat and What Should I Avoid?”.
Taking nutritional Arnica supplements can benefit Myxofibrosarcoma cancer patients on Fluorouracil treatment. But avoid Arnica supplements if on Prednisone treatment for Richter syndrome. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Arnica can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene PTEN. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Arnica when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene SMAD4.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Arnica is safe or not. And also that this decision needs to be constantly revisited as conditions change. Conditions like cancer type, current ongoing treatments and supplements, age, gender, weight, height, lifestyle and any genetic mutations identified matter. So a legitimate question for you to ask for any recommendation of food and natural supplement is how it is related to your individual context.
Nutritional supplements – vitamins, herbs, minerals, probiotics, and other specialty categories are increasing. Supplements are high concentrations of active ingredients which are also found in different foods. Difference being foods contain more than one active ingredient at lower diffused concentrations. Remember that each of these ingredients has its own science and biological mechanism at molecular level – hence choose the right combination of supplements like Arnica based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take supplement Arnica? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene SMAD4? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene PTEN? Should you take it when diagnosed with Richter syndrome? Should you take Arnica supplement when diagnosed with Myxofibrosarcoma? Should you take it when on Prednisone treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Prednisone to Fluorouracil? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Arnica.
Cancer remains an unsolved problem statement. The improved availability of personalized treatments and monitoring of cancer via blood and saliva have been significant factors to improve outcomes. The earlier the intervention – the better the influence on outcome. Genetic testing has the potential to assess cancer risk and susceptibility early. But besides regular monitoring in most cases there are no therapeutic intervention options available. After diagnosis with cancer such as Richter syndrome or Myxofibrosarcoma, the treatments get personalized to tumor genomics and factors like staging of disease, age and gender. During cancer remission (after treatment cycle is complete) – monitoring is used for assessment of any relapse and accordingly decide next steps. A large majority of cancer patients and those at-risk do take nutritional supplements like Arnica.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Arnica? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene SMAD4 the same as due to mutation of gene PTEN? Are the implications of Richter syndrome same as Myxofibrosarcoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Prednisone or Fluorouracil?
Arnica – A Nutritional Supplement
Arnica is a perennial yellow flowering herb that is commonly found in Europe, Siberia and the United States. Arnica is considered to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antitumor, antioxidant, antifungal and immunomodulatory properties. (Priyanka Kriplani et al, J Pharm Pharmacol., 2017) Some of the purported uses/benefits of Arnica supplements include its use for relieving :
- Muscle soreness
- Joint aches
Arnica is also commonly used in Homeopathy for various conditions though scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness is limited. If not taken in the right amounts, high oral intake of Arnica supplements can lead to serious side-effects like irritation of the mouth and throat, skin rashes, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, breathlessness, rapid heartbeats, high blood pressure, heart problems, organ failure, bleeding, coma, and even death.
Arnica supplements contain many active ingredients including Helenalin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Arnica include Cell Cycle, DNA Repair, Inflammation, Inositol Phosphate Signaling and P53 Signaling. These cellular pathways directly or indirectly regulate specific cancer molecular endpoints like growth, spread and death. Because of this biological regulation – for cancer nutrition, the right choice of supplements like Arnica individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Arnica for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Arnica use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Arnica Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Arnica for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Arnica may be harmful or safe. Along with which cancer and associated genetics – the ongoing treatments, supplements, lifestyle habits, BMI and allergies are all factors deciding if Arnica should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Arnica Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Richter syndrome undergoing Prednisone treatment?
Richter syndrome is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like MYC and TRAF3 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Cell Cycle, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MYC Signaling. A cancer treatment like Prednisone works through a specific pathway mechanism of action. The goal is to have a good overlap between the treatment and cancer driving pathways for a personalized approach which is effective. In such a condition any food or nutritional supplement which has a contrary effect to the treatment or reduces the overlap should be avoided. As an example, Arnica should be avoided for Richter syndrome along with treatment Prednisone. Arnica impacts pathways like Cell Cycle which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Some of the factors which should be considered when choosing nutrition are type of cancer, treatments and supplements being taken currently (if any), age, gender, BMI, lifestyle and any genetic mutation information (if available).
2. Will Arnica Supplements benefit Myxofibrosarcoma Cancer Patients undergoing Fluorouracil Treatment?
Myxofibrosarcoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53 and NCOR2 leading to biochemical pathway changes in DNA Repair, P53 Signaling, Microtubule Dynamics, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MAPK Signaling. A cancer treatment like Fluorouracil works through specific pathway mechanisms. The goal is to have a good overlap between the treatment and cancer driving pathways for a personalized approach. In such a condition any food or nutritional supplement which has a compatible effect to the treatment or reduces the overlap should be considered. As an example, Arnica supplements should be considered for Myxofibrosarcoma along with treatment Fluorouracil. Arnica supplement impacts pathways DNA Repair and P53 Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the disease (Myxofibrosarcoma) and/or improve the treatment effect.
Foods to Eat After Cancer Diagnosis!
No two cancers are the same. Go beyond the common nutrition guidelines for everyone and make personalized decisions about food and supplements with confidence.
3. Are Arnica Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with SMAD4 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
Different companies offer panels of genes to be tested for assessing genetic risk to different cancers. These panels cover genes associated with cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, prostate, and gastrointestinal system and others. Genetic testing of these genes may confirm a diagnosis and help guide treatment and management decisions. Identification of a disease-causing variant may also guide testing and diagnosis of at-risk relatives. SMAD4 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
SMAD4 mutation causes biochemical pathways Inflammation, Cell Cycle, Lipid Metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling and MAPK Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Arnica should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of SMAD4 for Colon Cancer and Gastric Cancer. Arnica impacts pathways Inflammation and Cell Cycle and creates adverse effects with SMAD4 and related conditions.
4. Are Arnica Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with PTEN Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
PTEN is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. PTEN mutation causes biochemical pathways Inositol Phosphate Signaling, Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, Insulin Signaling, Cancer Epigenetics and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Arnica supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in PTEN for Breast Cancer and Kidney Cancer. Arnica impacts pathways Inositol Phosphate Signaling and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and creates a supportive effect in those with PTEN and related conditions.
*Other Factors are also included like BMI, Lifestyle Habits, Treatments
The two most important things to remember are that cancer treatments and nutrition are never the same for everyone. Nutrition which includes food and nutritional supplements like Arnica, is an effective tool which can be controlled by you, while facing cancer.
What food you eat and which supplements you take is a decision you make. Your decision should include consideration of the cancer gene mutations, which cancer, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, lifestyle information, weight, height and habits.
The nutrition planning for cancer from addon is not based on internet searches. It automates the decision making for you based on molecular science implemented by our scientists and software engineers. Irrespective of whether you care to understand the underlying biochemical molecular pathways or not - for nutrition planning for cancer that understanding is needed.
Get started NOW with your nutrition planning by answering questions on the name of cancer, genetic mutations, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, habits, lifestyle, age group and gender.
Personalized Nutrition for Cancer!
Cancer changes with time. Customize and modify your nutrition based on cancer indication, treatments, lifestyle, food preferences, allergies and other factors.
Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer. Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.