Nutritional supplements like Chaga Mushroom 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 Chaga Mushroom 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 Chaga Mushroom supplements can benefit Angiosarcoma patients on Vincristine cancer treatment. But avoid Chaga Mushroom supplements if on Ifosfamide treatment for Testicular Germ Cell Tumors. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Chaga Mushroom can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene KIT. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Chaga Mushroom when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene BLM.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Chaga Mushroom 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. 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 Chaga Mushroom based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Chaga Mushroom? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene BLM? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene KIT? Should you take it when diagnosed with Testicular Germ Cell Tumors? Should you take Chaga Mushroom when diagnosed with Angiosarcoma? Should you take it when on Ifosfamide treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Ifosfamide to Vincristine? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Chaga Mushroom.
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 Testicular Germ Cell Tumors or Angiosarcoma, 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 Chaga Mushroom.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Chaga Mushroom? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene BLM the same as due to mutation of gene KIT? Are the implications of Testicular Germ Cell Tumors same as Angiosarcoma?
Chaga Mushroom – A Nutritional Supplement
Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) are parasitic fungi that grow on the trunks of birch trees. Chaga mushrooms are considered to have anti-bacterial, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. (Yoo Kyoung Park et al, Biofactors., 2004) Hence, these mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for various health conditions. These mushrooms produce a woody growth, called conk, which absorbs the nutrients from the wood and is used to make medicine. Chaga mushrooms are available in the form of dietary supplements and its powder is also brewed as herbal tea.
Chaga Mushroom supplements contain many active ingredients including Betulin, Betulinic Acid and Ergosterol Peroxide at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Chaga Mushroom include Oxidative Stress, Adherens junction, Estrogen Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling and Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition. 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 Chaga Mushroom individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Chaga Mushroom for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Chaga Mushroom use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Chaga Mushroom Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Chaga Mushroom for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Chaga Mushroom 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 Chaga Mushroom should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Chaga Mushroom Supplements benefit Testicular Germ Cell Tumor Patients undergoing Ifosfamide Cancer treatment?
Testicular Germ Cell Tumors are characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KIT and KRAS leading to biochemical pathway changes in Oxidative Stress, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling and MAPK Signaling. A cancer treatment like Ifosfamide 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, Chaga Mushrooms should be avoided for Testicular Germ Cell Tumors along with the treatment Ifosfamide. Chaga Mushroom impacts pathways/processes like Oxidative Stress 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 Chaga Mushroom Supplements benefit Angiosarcoma Patients undergoing Vincristine Cancer Treatment?
Angiosarcoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53 and MAP3K9 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Adherens junction, Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, Hypoxia, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MAPK Signaling. A cancer treatment like Vincristine 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, Chaga Mushroom should be considered for Angiosarcoma along with treatment Vincristine. Chaga Mushroom impacts pathways/processes like Adherens junction and Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition which either obstruct drivers of the disease (Angiosarcoma) 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 Chaga Mushroom Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with BLM 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. BLM is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
BLM mutation causes biochemical pathways Estrogen Signaling, Post Translational Modification, Stem Cell Signaling, DNA Repair and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Chaga Mushrooms should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of BLM for Breast Cancer. Chaga Mushroom impacts pathways/processes like Estrogen Signaling and Post Translational Modification and creates adverse effects with BLM and related conditions.
4. Are Chaga Mushroom Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with KIT Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
KIT is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. KIT mutation causes biochemical pathways Stem Cell Signaling, Hypoxia, Nucleotide metabolism, RAS-RAF Signaling and MAPK Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Chaga Mushroom supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in KIT for Gastric Cancer and Hematological Cancer. Chaga Mushroom impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and Hypoxia and creates a supportive effect in those with KIT mutation 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 Chaga Mushroom, 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.