Nutritional supplements like Butyric Acid 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 Butyric Acid 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 Butyric Acid supplements can benefit Basal Cell Carcinoma patients on Vismodegib cancer treatment. But avoid Butyric Acid supplements if on Ibrutinib treatment for Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Butyric Acid can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MAX. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Butyric Acid when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene FLCN.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Butyric Acid 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 Butyric Acid based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Butyric Acid? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene FLCN? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MAX? Should you take it when diagnosed with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia? Should you take Butyric Acid supplement when diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma? Should you take Butyric Acid supplement when on Ibrutinib treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Ibrutinib to Vismodegib? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Butyric Acid.
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 or Basal Cell 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 Butyric Acid.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Butyric Acid? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene FLCN the same as due to mutation of gene MAX? Are the implications of Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia the same as Basal Cell Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Ibrutinib or on Vismodegib?
Butyric Acid – A Nutritional Supplement
Butyric acid is a fatty acid produced when the good bacteria in the gut breaks down dietary fiber. Butyric acid supports gut health and is the main source of energy for the colon cells. (Roberto Berni Canani et al, World J Gastroenterol., 2011) Butyric acid helps promote overall health. Following are some of the health benefits of butyric acid:
- May aid in digestion
- May improve gastrointestinal health
- May aid in weight loss
- May help reduce inflammation
- May help regulate blood sugar levels
- May help regulate cholesterol levels
Butyric Acid is an active ingredient found in various food items. Sorghum, Cocoa and Butter contain Butyric Acid at different concentration levels along with other active ingredients. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Butyric Acid include Chemokine Signaling, Oxidative Stress, Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, Cell Cycle and MYC 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 Butyric Acid individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Butyric Acid for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Butyric Acid use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Butyric Acid Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Butyric Acid for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Butyric Acid 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 Butyric Acid should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Butyric Acid Supplements benefit Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia Patients undergoing Ibrutinib Cancer treatment?
Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like MYD88 and CXCR4 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Chemokine Signaling, NFKB Signaling and Cancer Epigenetics. 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, Butyric Acid should be avoided for Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia along with treatment Ibrutinib. Butyric Acid impacts pathways like Chemokine Signaling 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 Butyric Acid Supplements benefit Basal Cell Carcinoma Patients undergoing Vismodegib Cancer Treatment?
Basal Cell Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like PTCH1 and CSMD3 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Oxidative Stress, Cell Cycle, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, MAPK Signaling and Small Molecule Transport. A cancer treatment like Vismodegib 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, Butyric Acid should be considered for Basal Cell Carcinoma along with treatment Vismodegib. Butyric Acid impacts pathways/processes like Oxidative Stress and Cell Cycle which either obstruct drivers of the disease and/or improve the treatment effect.
3. Are Butyric Acid Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with FLCN 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. FLCN is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
FLCN mutation causes biochemical pathways Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, Stem Cell Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Angiogenesis and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Butyric Acid should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of FLCN for Kidney Cancer. Butyric Acid impacts pathways/processes like Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Stem Cell Signaling and creates adverse effects with FLCN and related conditions.
4. Are Butyric Acid Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with MAX Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
MAX is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. MAX mutation causes biochemical pathways Cell Cycle, MYC Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, MAPK Signaling and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Butyric Acid supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in MAX for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Butyric Acid impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle and MYC Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with MAX 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 Butyric Acid, 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.
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