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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 Garlic Supplement?

Jun 3, 2021

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
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Highlights

Nutritional supplements like Garlic 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 Garlic 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 Garlic supplements can benefit Rosai-Dorfman disease patients on Methotrexate cancer treatment. But avoid Garlic supplements if on Dexamethasone treatment for Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory). Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Garlic can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene CDKN1B. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Garlic 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 Garlic 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 Garlic based on individual context and conditions. 

Garlic Supplements for Cancer Treatment and Genetic Risk

So the question is should you take supplement Garlic? 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 CDKN1B? Should you take it when diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory)? Should you take Garlic supplement when diagnosed with Rosai-Dorfman disease? Should you take it when on Dexamethasone treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Dexamethasone to Methotrexate? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Garlic. 

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 Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory) or Rosai-Dorfman disease, 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 Garlic.

So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Garlic? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene POLH the same as due to mutation of gene CDKN1B? Are the implications of Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory) same as Rosai-Dorfman disease? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Dexamethasone or on Methotrexate?

Garlic – A Nutritional Supplement

Garlic or Allium sativum is a herb that belongs to the genus “Allium”  which include other vegetables like onion, scallion, shallot, leek and chives. Garlic is considered to have medicinal value and has many potential health benefits which may be attributed to its strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Mentioned below are some of the potential health benefits of garlic :

  • May help boost Immunity
  • May help improve bone health
  • May have anti-aging effects
  • May help reduce blood pressure
  • May help reduce cholesterol

Garlic supplements contain many active ingredients including Apigenin, Oleanolic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Caffeic Acid and Quercetin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Garlic include NFKB Signaling, MYC Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, FOXO Signaling and RAS-RAF 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 Garlic individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Garlic for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Garlic use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.

Choosing Garlic Supplements for Your Cancer

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

1. Will Garlic 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 NFKB Signaling, MYC Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Cell Cycle. 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, Garlic should be avoided for Multiple Myeloma (Relapsed Refractory) along with treatment Dexamethasone. Garlic impacts pathways/processes like NFKB Signaling and MYC Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Garlic supplements contain active ingredients like Apigenin, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Caffeic Acid and Quercetin which have CYP3A4 interactions with Dexamethasone treatment, and hence should be avoided by cancer patients undergoing this treatment. (Fang-fang Zhang et al, Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban., 2006Hsien-Tsung Yao et al, Life Sci., 2006; Churdsak Jaikang et al, J. Med. Plants Res., 2011; Sweilem B Al Rihani et al, Arch Phar & Pharmacol Res. 2(5), 2020; Darija Šarić Mustapić et al, Molecules., 2018) 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 Garlic Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Rosai-Dorfman disease undergoing Methotrexate Cancer Treatment?

Rosai-Dorfman disease is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KRAS and MAP2K1 leading to biochemical pathway changes in MYC Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MAPK Signaling. A cancer treatment like Methotrexate 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, Garlic supplement should be considered for Rosai-Dorfman disease along with treatment Methotrexate. Garlic supplement impacts pathways/processes like MYC Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the Rosai-Dorfman disease and/or improve the treatment effect. 

For Which Cancer to Avoid taking Supplement Garlic

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 Garlic 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. Garlic should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of POLH for Skin Cancer. Garlic impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and Angiogenesis and creates adverse effects with POLH and related conditions.

4. Are Garlic 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 FOXO Signaling, Cell Cycle, Stem Cell Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Cell Cycle Checkpoints to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Garlic supplements  when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDKN1B for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Garlic impacts pathways/processes like FOXO Signaling and Cell Cycle and creates a supportive  effect in those with CDKN1B mutation and related conditions. 

Which Cancer Types to Avoid Garlic 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 Garlic, 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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