Nutritional supplements like Reishi 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 Reishi 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 Reishi Mushroom supplements can benefit Merkel Cell Carcinoma patients on Hydroxyurea cancer treatment. But avoid Reishi Mushroom supplements if on Radiation treatment for Pilocytic Astrocytoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Reishi Mushroom can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MAX. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Reishi Mushroom when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene LZTR1.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Reishi 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 the molecular level – hence choose the right combination of supplements like Reishi Mushroom based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Reishi Mushroom? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene LZTR1? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MAX? Should you take it when diagnosed with Pilocytic Astrocytoma? Should you take it when diagnosed with Merkel Cell Carcinoma? Should you take it when on Radiation treatment? Should you continue taking Reishi Mushroom supplement if you change your treatment from Radiation to Hydroxyurea? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Reishi 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 Pilocytic Astrocytoma or Merkel 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 Reishi 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 Reishi Mushroom? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene LZTR1 the same as due to mutation of gene MAX? Are the implications of Pilocytic Astrocytoma same as Merkel Cell Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Radiation or on Hydroxyurea?
Reishi Mushroom – A Nutritional Supplement
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum or lingzhi) is a popular fungus used in Eastern medicine. Though Reishi mushrooms can be consumed as food, different parts of Reishi mushroom, including mycelia, spores, and fruit body are also used for producing various products. Reishi mushroom products are available commercially in various forms including powders, liquid, dietary supplements, and tea. (Sissi Wachtel-Galor et al, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition, 2011) Some of the potential health benefits of Reishi mushroom include:
- May help control of blood glucose levels
- May boost the immune system
- May improve heart health
- May reduce depression
- May reduce infections
However, Reishi mushroom use can lead to certain side-effects in some people such as:
- Dryness in the mouth and throat
- Skin Rash
- Bloody stools
- Stomach upset
Reishi Mushroom supplements contain many active ingredients including Ergosterol Peroxide, Linoleic Acid and Butyl Lucidenate at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Reishi Mushroom include MYC Signaling, P53 Signaling, Angiogenesis, Stem Cell Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR 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 Reishi Mushroom individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Reishi Mushroom for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Reishi Mushroom use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Reishi Mushroom Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Reishi 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 Reishi 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 Reishi Mushrooms should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Reishi Mushroom Supplements benefit Pilocytic Astrocytoma Cancer Patients undergoing Radiation treatment?
Pilocytic Astrocytoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KIAA1549-BRAF and BRAF leading to biochemical pathway changes in MYC Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, MAPK Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling. A cancer treatment like Radiation 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, Reishi Mushroom should be avoided for Pilocytic Astrocytoma along with treatment Radiation. Reishi Mushroom impacts pathways/processes like MYC Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR 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 Reishi Mushroom Supplements benefit Merkel Cell Carcinoma Patients undergoing Hydroxyurea Cancer Treatment?
Merkel Cell Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53 and RB1 leading to biochemical pathway changes in P53 Signaling, JAK-STAT Signaling, Apoptosis, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Cell Cycle. A cancer treatment like Hydroxyurea 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, Reishi Mushroom should be considered for Merkel Cell Carcinoma along with treatment Hydroxyurea. Reishi Mushroom impacts pathways/processes like P53 Signaling and JAK-STAT Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the disease and/or improve Hydroxyurea 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 Reishi Mushroom Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with LZTR1 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. LZTR1 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
LZTR1 mutation causes biochemical pathways Angiogenesis, Cancer Epigenetics, Nucleotide metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling and Hypoxia to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Reishi Mushrooms should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of LZTR1 for Central Nervous System and Hematological Cancer. Reishi Mushroom impacts pathways/processes like Angiogenesis and Cancer Epigenetics and creates adverse effects with LZTR1 and related conditions.
4. Are Reishi Mushroom 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/processes like Stem Cell Signaling, MAPK Signaling, Cell Cycle, MYC Signaling and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Reishi Mushroom supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in MAX for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Reishi Mushroom impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and MAPK 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 Reishi 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.