Nutritional supplements like Dan Shen 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 Dan Shen 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 Dan Shen supplements can benefit Renal Non-Clear Cell Carcinoma/Cancer patients on Bevacizumab treatment. But avoid Dan Shen supplements if on Vinblastine treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Dan Shen can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene CDKN2A. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Dan Shen when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MRE11.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Dan Shen 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 Dan Shen based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Dan Shen? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MRE11? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene CDKN2A? Should you take it when diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma? Should you take it when diagnosed with Renal Non-Clear Cell Carcinoma? Should you take it when on Vinblastine treatment? Should you continue taking Dan Shen supplement if you change your treatment from Vinblastine to Bevacizumab? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Dan Shen.
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 Hodgkin Lymphoma or Renal Non-Clear 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 Dan Shen.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Dan Shen? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene MRE11 the same as due to mutation of gene CDKN2A? Are the implications of Hodgkin Lymphoma same as Renal Non-Clear Cell Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Vinblastine or on Bevacizumab?
Dan Shen – A Nutritional Supplement
Dan Shen is a herb which is considered to have medicinal properties due to their strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and vasodilation properties. It is also known as Salvia miltiorrhiza, Red Sage, Chinese Sage and Tan Shen. Following are some of the potential health benefits of Dan Shen:
- May help reduce blood pressure (Tsung-Yuan Yang et al, Phytother Res., 2012)
- May help reduce osteoporosis (Yubo Guo et al, J Ethnopharmacol., 2014
- May help reduce diabetic retinopathy (Fengmei Lian et al, J Ethnopharmacol., 2015)
- May help improve heart and vessel health (Fen Ai et al, Int J Clin Exp Med., 2015)
Dan Shen intake can lead to certain side effects in some people including upset stomach, itching, and lack of appetite. Additionally, Dan Shen may have the potential to reduce clots and hence may not be safe for people planning to undergo surgery.
Dan Shen supplements contain many active ingredients including Tanshinone I and Miltirone at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Dan Shen include Apoptosis, Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, DNA Repair, P53 Signaling and Oxidative Stress. 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 Dan Shen individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Dan Shen for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Dan Shen use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Dan Shen Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Dan Shen for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Dan Shen may be harmful or safe. Along with cancer and associated genetics – the ongoing treatments, supplements, lifestyle habits, BMI and allergies are all factors deciding if Dan Shen should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Dan Shen Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Hodgkin Lymphoma undergoing Vinblastine treatment?
Hodgkin Lymphoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53 and B2M leading to biochemical pathway changes in Apoptosis, MYC Signaling, P53 Signaling and Cell Cycle Checkpoints. A cancer treatment like Vinblastine 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, Dan Shen should be avoided for Hodgkin Lymphoma along with treatment with Vinblastine. Dan Shen impacts pathways Apoptosis which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Dan Shen supplements contain active ingredients like Miltirone which has CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with the Vinblastine treatment, and hence should be avoided by patients undergoing this treatment. (Xuelin Zhou et al, Phytomedicine., 2013; 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 Dan Shen Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Renal Non-Clear Cell Carcinoma undergoing Bevacizumab Treatment?
Renal Non-Clear Cell Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like MUC16 and TP53 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, Oxidative Stress, Hypoxia, Small Molecule Transport and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling. A cancer treatment like Bevacizumab 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, Dan Shen supplement should be considered for Renal Non-Clear Cell Carcinoma along with treatment Bevacizumab. Dan Shen supplement impacts pathways Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition and Oxidative Stress which either obstruct drivers of the disease and/or improve Bevacizumab 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 Dan Shen Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with MRE11 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. MRE11 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
MRE11 mutation causes biochemical pathways DNA Repair, Stem Cell Signaling, Estrogen Signaling, Angiogenesis and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Dan Shen should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of MRE11 for Breast Cancer. Dan Shen impacts pathways DNA Repair and Stem Cell Signaling and creates adverse effects with MRE11 and related conditions.
4. Are Dan Shen 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 P53 Signaling, MAPK Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, Cell Cycle and Cell Cycle Checkpoints to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Dan Shen when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDKN2A for Skin Cancer and Head And Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Dan Shen impacts pathways P53 Signaling and MAPK Signaling and creates an additive effect with CDKN2A and related conditions.
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 Dan Shen, 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.