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What should I eat after Cancer Diagnosis?

is a very common question asked.​
Choose food and supplements personalized to your cancer, genes, ongoing treatments and lifestyle.

is a very common question asked. Choose food and supplements personalized to your cancer, genes, ongoing treatments and lifestyle.

Personalized cancer Nutrition Planning for only .

Personalized cancer Nutrition Planning for only​ .

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For Which Cancer Types Should I Avoid Saffron Supplement?

May 25, 2021

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
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Highlights

Nutritional supplements like Saffron 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 Saffron 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 Saffron supplements can benefit Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) cancer patients on Nelarabine treatment. But avoid Saffron supplements if on Cisplatin treatment for Hepatoblastoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Saffron can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene CDKN1B. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Saffron 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 Saffron 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 Saffron based on individual context and conditions. 

Saffron Supplements for Cancer Treatment and genetic Risk

So the question is should you take the supplement Saffron? 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 Hepatoblastoma? Should you take Saffron supplement when diagnosed with Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL)? Should you take it when on Cisplatin treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Cisplatin to Nelarabine? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Saffron. 

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 Hepatoblastoma or Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL), 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 Saffron.

So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Saffron? 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 Hepatoblastoma same as Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL)? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Cisplatin or on Nelarabine? 

Saffron – A Nutritional Supplement

Saffron is an expensive spice which is derived from a flower called crocus sativus. The dried stigmas, the thread-like parts of the flower, are used to make the Saffron spice. It is widely cultivated in countries like Iran, India and Greece. Saffron has very strong antioxidant properties. Following are some of the possible health benefits of Saffron:

  • May help reduce depression
  • May improve mood
  • May reduce premenstrual syndrome
  • May help reduce appetite

Saffron supplements contain many active ingredients including Crocetin, Quercetin, Retinol, Kaempferol and Crocin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Saffron include Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, Oxidative Stress and MAPK 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 Saffron individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Saffron for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Saffron use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.

Choosing Saffron Supplements for Your Cancer

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

1. Will Saffron Supplements benefit Hepatoblastoma Patients undergoing Cisplatin Cancer treatment?

Hepatoblastoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like CTNNB1 and NCOA3 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, Oxidative Stress, P53 Signaling, WNT Beta-catenin Signaling and Adherens junction. A cancer treatment like Cisplatin 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, Saffron should be avoided for Hepatoblastoma along with treatment Cisplatin. Saffron impacts pathways/processes like Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition and Oxidative Stress which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Saffron contains key active ingredients like Quercetin, Retinol and Kaempferol which have CYP3A4 (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Cisplatin treatment, and hence should be avoided by cancer patients undergoing this treatment. (Jun-Shik Choi et al, Arch Pharm Res., 2011; Fang-fang Zhang et al, Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban., 2006; Kun Wang et al, Biochem Pharmacol., 2008; Pius S Fasinu et al, Front Oncol., 2019) 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 Saffron Supplements benefit Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) Patients undergoing Nelarabine Cancer Treatment?

Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like CDKN2A and JAK3 leading to biochemical pathway changes in PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, MAPK Signaling, JAK-STAT Signaling, Cell Cycle and RAS-RAF Signaling. A cancer treatment like Nelarabine 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, Saffron supplements should be considered for Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) along with treatment Nelarabine. Saffron supplements impact pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MAPK Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) and/or improve the treatment effect. 

For Which Cancer to Avoid taking Supplement Saffron

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

4. Are Saffron 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 Saffron supplement when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDKN1B for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Saffron impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and FOXO Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with CDKN1B mutation and related conditions.

Which Cancer Types to Avoid Saffron 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 Saffron, 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.

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.


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.


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