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What should I Eat?

is the most common question asked by cancer patients.
Choose food and nutritional supplements which avoids bad interactions with your cancer treatment and is good for you.

is the most common question asked by cancer patients. Choose food and nutritional supplements which avoids bad interactions with your cancer treatment and is good for you.

Start Personalized Nutrition Planning for  and answer these questions.

Start Personalized Nutrition Planning for and answer these questions.

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For Which Cancer Types Should I Avoid Dandelion Supplement?

May 19, 2021

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Highlights

Nutritional supplements like Dandelion 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 Dandelion extract/root supplements for all types of cancer 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 Dandelion extract/root supplements can benefit cancer patients with Parathyroid Carcinoma on Radiation treatment. But avoid Dandelion supplements if on Ibrutinib treatment for Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (Relapsed Refractory). Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Dandelion can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene CDKN1B. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Dandelion when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MRE11.

The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Dandelion 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. 



Brief Overview

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. The 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 Dandelion based on individual context and conditions. 

Dandelion Supplements for Cancer Treatment and genetic Risk

So the question is should you take the supplement Dandelion? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MRE11? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene CDKN1B? Should you take it when diagnosed with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (Relapsed Refractory)? Should you take Dandelion extract/root supplement when diagnosed with Parathyroid Carcinoma? Should you take it when on Ibrutinib treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Ibrutinib to Radiation? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Dandelion. 

Cancer

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 Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (Relapsed Refractory) or Parathyroid Carcinoma, 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 Dandelion.

So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Dandelion? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene MRE11 the same as due to mutation of gene CDKN1B? Are the implications of Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (Relapsed Refractory) the same as Parathyroid Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Ibrutinib or on Radiation? 

Dandelion – A Nutritional Supplement

Dandelion is an edible herb with yellow flowers which is native to Europe, but grows in different parts of the world. Dandelion root has strong antioxidant properties and has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for managing various health conditions including stomach and liver conditions. Some of the purported uses/benefits of dandelion include:

  • May reduce bad cholesterol
  • May help reduce blood sugar
  • May help reduce gastro-intestinal disorders
  • May reduce heartburn
  • May help reduce blood pressure
  • May help reduce inflammation

Dandelion intake can result in the following side-effects in some people:

  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Upset stomach
  • Allergic reactions

Dandelion supplements contain many active ingredients including Beta-carotene, Artemetin, Caffeic Acid, Quercetin, Luteolin and Retinol at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Dandelion include NFKB Signaling, Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, Stem Cell Signaling, MYC Signaling and RAS-RAF 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 Dandelion individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Dandelion for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Dandelion extract/root use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.

Choosing Dandelion Supplements for Your Cancer

The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Dandelion for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Dandelion extract/root 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 Dandelion extract/root should be avoided or not and why.

1. Will Dandelion Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (Relapsed Refractory) undergoing Ibrutinib treatment?

Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (Relapsed Refractory) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like BTK and TBL1XR1 leading to biochemical pathway changes in NFKB Signaling, MYC Signaling, B Cell Receptor Signaling and Phospholipase Signaling. A cancer treatment like Ibrutinib 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, Dandelion should be avoided for Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (Relapsed Refractory) along with treatment Ibrutinib. Dandelion impacts pathways/processes like NFKB Signaling and MYC Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Dandelion supplements contain many active ingredients like Beta-carotene, Caffeic Acid, Quercetin, Luteolin and Retinol which have CYP2D6 and/or CYP3A4 (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Ibrutinib treatment and hence should be avoided by patients undergoing this treatment. (Himanshu Rastogi and  Snehasis Jana, Phytother Res., 2014; L de Zwart et al, Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2016; Luigi Quintieri et al, Biochem Pharmacol., 2008Fang-fang Zhang et al, Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban., 2006; Dawn E Colburn et al, Hematology., 2004; Xinsheng Gu et al, J Biol Chem., 2006) 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 Dandelion Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Parathyroid Carcinoma undergoing Radiation Treatment?

Parathyroid Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like CDC73 and RAD50 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, RAS-RAF Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, DNA Repair and Cancer Epigenetics. A cancer treatment like Radiation 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, Dandelion supplement may benefit and should be considered for Parathyroid Carcinoma/Cancer along with treatment Radiation. Dandelion supplement impacts pathways/processes like Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition and RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Parathyroid Carcinoma and/or improve the treatment effect.

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3. Are Dandelion Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with MRE11 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. MRE11 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing. 

MRE11 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling, Angiogenesis, Estrogen Signaling, DNA Repair and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Dandelion should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of MRE11 for Breast Cancer. Dandelion impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and Angiogenesis and creates adverse effects with MRE11 and related conditions.

4. Are Dandelion Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with CDKN1B Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?

CDKN1B is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. CDKN1B mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling, FOXO Signaling, Cell Cycle, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Cell Cycle Checkpoints to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Dandelion supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDKN1B for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Dandelion supplement impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and FOXO Signaling and creates a protective effect in those with CDKN1B mutation and related conditions. 

Which Cancer Types to Avoid Dandelion Supplement

* Other Factors are also included like BMI, Lifestyle Habits, Treatments

In Conclusion

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 Dandelion, is an effective tool which can be controlled by you, while facing cancer.

“What should I eat?” is the most frequently asked question to cancer dieticians and physicians. The right answer depends upon cancer type, underlying genomics, current treatments, any allergies, lifestyle information, and factors like BMI.

The addon personalized nutrition plan keeps you safe from adverse nutrition interactions.

Get started NOW with answering questions on type of cancer, current treatments, supplements, allergies, age group, gender, and lifestyle information.

Top 10 Foods and Supplements to Avoid for Cancer

Go beyond same nutrition guidelines for everyone and make personalized decisions with confidence.


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.