Nutritional supplements like Pomegranate 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 Pomegranate 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 Pomegranate supplements can benefit cancer patients with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia on Trametinib treatment. But avoid Pomegranate supplements if on Carmustine treatment for Pineoblastoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Pomegranate can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene SDHAF2. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Pomegranate when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene TERT.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Pomegranate 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 Pomegranate based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take supplement Pomegranate? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene TERT? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene SDHAF2? Should you take Pomegranate supplement when diagnosed with Pineoblastoma? Should you take Pomegranate supplement when diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia? Should you take it when on Carmustine treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Carmustine to Trametinib? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Pomegranate.
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 Pineoblastoma 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 Pomegranate.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Pomegranate? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene TERT the same as due to mutation of gene SDHAF2? Are the implications of Pineoblastoma same as Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Carmustine or on Trametinib?
Pomegranate – A Nutritional Supplement
Pomegranate is one of the oldest and healthiest fruits on earth. The fruit and seed of pomegranate contain many bioactive compounds which provide a lot of health benefits on consumption . It is rich in phytoestrogen and anthocyanin which have antioxidant properties. The benefits of pomegranate are :
- Reduces inflammation and hence useful in arthritis
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- May boost memory and learning
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces cholesterol
- Has anticancer effect (Pooja Sharma et al, Molecules., 2017 ; Vaqar Mustafa Adhami et al, Nutr Cancer., 2009)
Pomegranate supplements contain many active ingredients including Apigenin, Corilagin, Ellagic Acid, Pedunculagin and Pelargonidin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Pomegranate include Cancer Epigenetics, RAS-RAF Signaling, Nucleotide metabolism, 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 Pomegranate individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Pomegranate for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Pomegranate use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Pomegranate Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Pomegranate for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Pomegranate 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 Pomegranate should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Pomegranate Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Pineoblastoma undergoing Carmustine treatment?
Pineoblastoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like ATR and ATM leading to biochemical pathway changes in Cancer Epigenetics, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, DNA Repair and EPHRIN Signaling. A cancer treatment like Carmustine 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, Pomegranate supplement should be avoided for Pineoblastoma along with treatment Carmustine. Pomegranate supplement impacts pathways/processes like Cancer Epigenetics which either promote drivers of the Pineoblastoma 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 Pomegranate Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia undergoing Trametinib 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, Pomegranate supplement should be considered for Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia along with treatment Trametinib. Pomegranate supplement impacts pathways/processes like RAS-RAF Signaling, MAPK Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MYC Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia 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 Pomegranate Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with TERT 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. TERT is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
TERT mutation causes biochemical pathways Nucleotide metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling, Hypoxia, MAPK Signaling and RUNX Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Pomegranate should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of TERT for Hematological Cancer. Pomegranate supplement impacts pathways/processes like Nucleotide metabolism and Stem Cell Signaling and creates adverse effects with TERT and related conditions.
4. Are Pomegranate Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with SDHAF2 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
SDHAF2 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. SDHAF2 mutation causes biochemical pathways Stem Cell Signaling, Hypoxia, Carbohydrate Metabolism, MAPK Signaling and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Pomegranate supplement when the genetic panel identifies mutation in SDHAF2 for Thyroid Cancer and Neuroendocrine Cancer. Pomegranate supplement impacts pathways/processes like Hypoxia, Carbohydrate Metabolism, MAPK Signaling and Angiogenesis and creates a supportive effect in those with SDHAF2 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 Pomegranate, 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.