Nutritional supplements like Cinnamon 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 Cinnamon 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 Cinnamon supplements can benefit Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia patients on Trametinib cancer treatment. But avoid Cinnamon supplements if on Dexamethasone treatment for Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory). Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Cinnamon can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene PDGFRA. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Cinnamon when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene GATA2.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Cinnamon 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 Cinnamon based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Cinnamon? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene GATA2? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of the gene PDGFRA? Should you take it when diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory)? Should you take it when diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia? Should you take it when on Dexamethasone treatment? Should you continue taking Cinnamon supplement if you change your treatment from Dexamethasone to Trametinib? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Cinnamon.
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 Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory) or Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia, 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 Cinnamon.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Cinnamon? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene GATA2 the same as due to mutation of gene PDGFRA? Are the implications of Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory) same as Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Dexamethasone or on Trametinib?
Cinnamon – A Nutritional Supplement
Cinnamon is a well known spice which has been used for centuries by different countries across the globe. It is obtained from the inner bark of several tree species which are from the genus “Cinnamomum”. Following are the two commonly used species of Cinnamon:
- Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
- Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum)
Cinnamon is considered to have medicinal values due to their strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Some of the potential health benefits of Cinnamon includes :
- May help reduce cholesterol
- May help reduce infections
- May help reduce blood pressure
- May help lower sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity
- May help reduce heart diseases
- May help reduce tooth decay and bad breath
Cinnamon supplements contain many active ingredients including Cinnamaldehyde, Linoleic Acid, Methyl Salicylate and Caffeic Acid at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Cinnamon include Cell Cycle, RAS-RAF Signaling, Angiogenesis, Stem Cell Signaling 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 Cinnamon individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Cinnamon for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Cinnamon use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Cinnamon Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Cinnamon for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Cinnamon 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 Cinnamon should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Cinnamon Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory) undergoing Dexamethasone treatment?
Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like MCL1 and CCND1 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Cell Cycle, MYC Signaling, Apoptosis and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling. A cancer treatment like Dexamethasone 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, Cinnamon should be avoided for Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory) along with treatment Dexamethasone. Cinnamon impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle and MYC Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Cinnamon supplements contain key active ingredients like Cinnamaldehyde and caffeic acid which have CYP3A4 interactions with Dexamethasone treatment, and hence should be avoided by cancer patients undergoing this treatment. (Sweilem B Al Rihani et al, Arch Phar & Pharmacol Res. 2(5), 2020; Churdsak Jaikang et al, J. Med. Plants Res., 2011; Guo-Fang Duan et al, Mar Drugs., 2021) 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 Cinnamon Supplements benefit Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia Patients undergoing Trametinib Cancer Treatment?
Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like PTPN11 and NRAS leading to biochemical pathway changes in RAS-RAF Signaling, MAPK Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MYC Signaling. A cancer treatment like Trametinib 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, Cinnamon supplement should be considered for Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia along with treatment Trametinib. Cinnamon supplement impacts pathways/processes like RAS-RAF Signaling and MAPK Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the disease and/or improve Trametinib 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 Cinnamon Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with GATA2 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. GATA2 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
GATA2 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. Cinnamon should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of GATA2 for Hematological Cancer. Cinnamon impacts pathways/processes like Angiogenesis and Cancer Epigenetics and creates adverse effects with GATA2 and related conditions.
4. Are Cinnamon Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with PDGFRA Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
PDGFRA is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. PDGFRA mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Angiogenesis and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Cinnamon supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in PDGFRA for Gastric Cancer. Cinnamon impacts pathways like Stem Cell Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with PDGFRA 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 Cinnamon, 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.