Nutritional supplements like Red Clover 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 Red Clover 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 Red Clover supplements can benefit Rosai-Dorfman disease patients on Cladribine cancer treatment. But avoid Red Clover supplements if on Vinorelbine treatment for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Red Clover can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene SMAD4. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Red Clover when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MSH3.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Red Clover 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 Red Clover based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Red Clover? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MSH3? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of the gene SMAD4? Should you take it when diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma? Should you take Red Clover supplement when diagnosed with Rosai-Dorfman disease? Should you take it when on Vinorelbine treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Vinorelbine to Cladribine? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Red Clover.
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 Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma or Rosai-Dorfman disease, 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 Red Clover.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Red Clover? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene MSH3 the same as due to mutation of gene SMAD4? Are the implications of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma same as Rosai-Dorfman disease? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Vinorelbine or on Cladribine?
Red Clover – A Nutritional Supplement
Red clover is a herb native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The flowers of this plant have been widely used in traditional medicine for years. Following are some of the purported uses of red clover :
- Osteoporosis or weak and brittle bones
- Heart diseases
- High cholesterol
- Menopausal symptoms
- Respiratory problems
- Skin disorders
However, there isn’t enough evidence to support these uses. Red clover supplement use can lead to certain side-effects like headache, rashes, nausea, vaginal bleeding, and muscle pain.
Red Clover supplements contain many active ingredients including Biochanin A at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Red Clover include PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, MYC Signaling, Estrogen Signaling, Inflammation 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 Red Clover individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Red Clover for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Red Clover use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Red Clover Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Red Clover for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Red Clover 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 Red Clover should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Red Clover Supplements benefit Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Patients undergoing Vinorelbine Cancer treatment?
Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like NFIB and MYB leading to biochemical pathway changes in PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Notch Signaling and Cholesterol Metabolism. A cancer treatment like Vinorelbine 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, Red Clover should be avoided for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma along with treatment Vinorelbine. Red Clover impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Red Clover contains key active ingredients like Biochanin A which have CYP3A4 (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Vinorelbine treatment, and hence should be avoided by cancer patients undergoing this treatment. (Pius S Fasinu et al, Front Oncol., 2019; Michaela Kopečná-Zapletalová et al, Xenobiotica., 2017) 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 Red Clover Supplements benefit Rosai-Dorfman disease Patients undergoing Cladribine Cancer Treatment?
Rosai-Dorfman disease is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KRAS and MAP2K1 leading to biochemical pathway changes in MYC Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, MAPK Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling. A cancer treatment like Cladribine 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, Red Clover should be considered for Rosai-Dorfman disease along with treatment Cladribine. Red Clover impacts pathways/processes like MYC Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Rosai-Dorfman disease 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 Red Clover Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with MSH3 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. MSH3 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
MSH3 mutation causes biochemical pathways Estrogen Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, DNA Repair and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Red Clover should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of MSH3 for Endometrial Cancer. Red Clover impacts pathways/processes like Estrogen Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and creates adverse effects with MSH3 and related conditions.
4. Are Red Clover Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with SMAD4 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
SMAD4 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. SMAD4 mutation causes biochemical pathways Inflammation, MAPK Signaling, Nucleotide metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling and Cell Cycle to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Red Clover supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in SMAD4 for Colon Cancer and Gastric Cancer. Red Clover impacts pathways/processes like Inflammation and MAPK Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with SMAD4 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 Red Clover, 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.