Nutritional supplements like Fenugreek 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 Fenugreek 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 Fenugreek supplements can benefit cancer patients with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL) on Epirubicin treatment. But avoid Fenugreek supplements if on Carboplatin treatment for Pineoblastoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Fenugreek can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene ALK. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Fenugreek 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 Fenugreek 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 Fenugreek based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take supplement Fenugreek? 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 ALK? Should you take it when diagnosed with Pineoblastoma? Should you take Fenugreek supplement when diagnosed with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL)? Should you take it when on Carboplatin treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Carboplatin to Epirubicin? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Fenugreek.
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 Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL), 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 Fenugreek.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Fenugreek? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene POLH the same as due to mutation of gene ALK? Are the implications of Pineoblastoma same as Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL)? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Carboplatin or on Epirubicin?
Fenugreek – A Nutritional Supplement
Fenugreek is a herb which belongs to the soy family. The seeds of fenugreek are used as a spice in cooking as well as a flavoring agent. It has a lot of medicinal properties. Some of the potential health benefits of consuming fenugreek are:
- Helps control sugar
- Reduce menstrual cramp
- Helps in digestion
- Enhances lactation
- Reduces inflammation
- Has anticancer effect (Shabana Shabbeer et al, Cancer Biol Ther., 2009 ; Kholoud K Khoja et al , Asian Pac J Cancer Prev., 2011)
Individuals on blood thinner should be careful regarding consumption of fenugreek.
Fenugreek supplements contain many active ingredients including Apigenin, Dioscin, Folic Acid, and Retinol at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Fenugreek include MAPK Signaling, Cell Cycle, Stem Cell Signaling, JAK-STAT Signaling and RUNX 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 Fenugreek individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Fenugreek for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Fenugreek use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Fenugreek Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Fenugreek for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Fenugreek 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 Fenugreek should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Fenugreek Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Pineoblastoma undergoing Carboplatin treatment?
Pineoblastoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like ATR and ATM leading to biochemical pathway changes in MAPK Signaling, RUNX Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, DNA Repair and EPHRIN Signaling. A cancer treatment like Carboplatin 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, Fenugreek supplement should be avoided for Pineoblastoma along with Carboplatin treatment. Fenugreek supplement impacts pathways/processes like DNA Repair and RUNX Signaling 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 Fenugreek Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL) undergoing Epirubicin Treatment?
Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like MYD88 and CD79B leading to biochemical pathway changes in Cell Cycle, NFKB Signaling, Apoptosis, B Cell Receptor Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling. A cancer treatment like Epirubicin 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, Fenugreek supplement should be considered for Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL) along with treatment Epirubicin. Fenugreek supplement impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle and NFKB Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL) 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 Fenugreek 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 Stem Cell Signaling, Angiogenesis, MAPK Signaling and DNA Repair to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Fenugreek should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of POLH for Skin Cancer. Fenugreek impacts pathways/processes like DNA Repair and Stem Cell Signaling and creates adverse effects with POLH and related conditions.
4. Are Fenugreek Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with ALK Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
ALK is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. ALK mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like JAK-STAT Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, Angiogenesis and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Fenugreek supplement when the genetic panel identifies mutations in ALK for the Central Nervous System. Fenugreek impacts pathways/processes like JAK-STAT Signaling and Growth Factor Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with ALK mutation 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 Fenugreek, 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.