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What should I Eat?

is the most common question asked by cancer patients.
Choose food and nutritional supplements which avoids bad interactions with your cancer treatment and is good for you.

is the most common question asked by cancer patients. Choose food and nutritional supplements which avoids bad interactions with your cancer treatment and is good for you.

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For Which Cancer Types Should I Avoid Sea Buckthorn Supplement?

May 25, 2021

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Highlights

Nutritional supplements like Sea Buckthorn 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 Sea Buckthorn 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 Sea Buckthorn supplements can benefit Merkel Cell Carcinoma patients on Hydroxyurea cancer treatment. But avoid Sea Buckthorn supplements if on Paclitaxel treatment for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Sea Buckthorn can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene CDKN2A. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Sea Buckthorn when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene POLH.

The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Sea Buckthorn 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 Sea Buckthorn based on individual context and conditions. 

Sea Buckthorn Supplements for Cancer Treatment and genetic Risk

So the question is should you take the supplement Sea Buckthorn? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene POLH? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene CDKN2A? Should you take it when diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma? Should you take it when diagnosed with Merkel Cell Carcinoma? Should you take it when on Paclitaxel treatment? Should you continue taking Sea Buckthorn supplement if you change your treatment from Paclitaxel to Hydroxyurea? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Sea Buckthorn. 

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 Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma 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 Sea Buckthorn.

So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Sea Buckthorn? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene POLH the same as due to mutation of gene CDKN2A? Are the implications of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma same as Merkel Cell Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Paclitaxel or on Hydroxyurea? 

Sea Buckthorn – A Nutritional Supplement

Sea Buckthorn (Hipphophae rhamnoides) is a plant used in herbal medicine native to China and Europe. It is rich in nutrients including Vitamins, Amino acids, Fatty acids and Minerals. The leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruits of Sea Buckthorn are used to make medicine. Sea buckthorn has been used for various health conditions including skin conditions, heart health, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and inflammation, though there isn’t enough evidence of effectiveness to support these uses.

Sea Buckthorn supplements contain many active ingredients including Linoleic Acid, Retinol and Vitamin C at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Sea Buckthorn include Focal Adhesion, P53 Signaling, Angiogenesis, Stem Cell Signaling and JAK-STAT 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 Sea Buckthorn individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Sea Buckthorn for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Sea Buckthorn use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.

Choosing Sea Buckthorn Supplements for Your Cancer

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

1. Will Sea Buckthorn Supplements benefit Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma/Cancer Patients undergoing Paclitaxel treatment?

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like NFIB and MYB leading to biochemical pathway changes in Focal Adhesion, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Notch Signaling and Cholesterol Metabolism. A cancer treatment like Paclitaxel 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, Sea Buckthorn should be avoided for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma along with treatment Paclitaxel. Sea Buckthorn impacts pathways/processes like Focal Adhesion which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Sea Buckthorn supplements contain active ingredients like Linoleic acid, Linolenic acid and Retinol which have CYP3A4 (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Paclitaxel treatment and hence should be avoided by cancer patients undergoing this treatment. (Hsien-Tsung Yao et al, Life Sci., 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 Sea Buckthorn 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, Sea Buckthorn should be considered for Merkel Cell Carcinoma along with treatment Hydroxyurea. Sea Buckthorn impacts pathways/processes like P53 Signaling and JAK-STAT Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the disease and/or improve Hydroxyurea treatment effect. 

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3. Are Sea Buckthorn Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with POLH 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. POLH is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.

POLH mutation causes biochemical pathways Angiogenesis, MAPK Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling and DNA Repair to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Sea Buckthorn should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of POLH for Skin Cancer. Sea Buckthorn impacts pathways/processes like Angiogenesis and MAPK Signaling and creates adverse effects with POLH and related conditions.

4. Are Sea Buckthorn Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with CDKN2A Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?

CDKN2A is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. CDKN2A mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling, P53 Signaling, MAPK Signaling, Cell Cycle and Cell Cycle Checkpoints to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Sea Buckthorn supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDKN2A for Skin Cancer and Head And Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Sea Buckthorn impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and P53 Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with CDKN2A and related conditions.

Which Cancer Types to Avoid Sea Buckthorn 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 Sea Buckthorn, 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.

The addon personalized nutrition plan keeps you safe from adverse nutrition interactions.

Get started NOW with answering questions on type of cancer, current treatments, supplements, allergies, age group, gender, and lifestyle information.

Top 10 Foods and Supplements to Avoid for Cancer

Go beyond same nutrition guidelines for everyone and make personalized decisions 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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