Nutritional supplements like Pau D’arco 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 Pau D’arco 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 Pau D’arco supplements can benefit cancer patients with Urachal adenocarcinoma on Gemcitabine treatment. But avoid Pau D’arco supplements if on Ifosfamide treatment for Testicular Germ Cell Tumors. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Pau D’arco can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MLH1. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Pau D’arco when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene CDC73.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Pau D’arco 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 Pau D’arco based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Pau D’arco? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene CDC73? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MLH1? Should you take Pau D’arco supplement when diagnosed with Testicular Germ Cell Tumors? Should you take it when diagnosed with Urachal adenocarcinoma? Should you take it when on Ifosfamide treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Ifosfamide to Gemcitabine? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Pau D’arco.
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 Testicular Germ Cell Tumors or Urachal adenocarcinoma, 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 Pau D’arco.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Pau D’arco? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene CDC73 the same as due to mutation of gene MLH1? Are the implications of taking Pau D’arco supplement for Testicular Germ Cell Tumors the same as Urachal adenocarcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Ifosfamide or on Gemcitabine?
Pau D’arco – A Nutritional Supplement
Pau D’arco supplement is derived from the inner bark of plant name Tabeuia avellanedae. It is native to the Central and South American region. The health benefits of consuming Pau D’arco supplements are :
- Possesses antimicrobial activity (L Macedo et al, Phytomedicine., 2013)
- Has anti-inflammatory effect (Se Eun Byeon et al, J Ethnopharmacol., 2008)
- Helps in weight management (Kazuko Iwamoto et al, Biochem Biophys Res Commun., 2016)
- Possesses anticancer effect (Lucas Bonfim Marques et al, Toxicol In Vitro., 2020)
Pregnant women should avoid taking Pau D’arco supplement as it may lead to fetal growth degeneration.(André Carvalho Felício et al, Contraception., 2002)
Pau D’arco supplements contain many active ingredients including Beta-lapachone and Lapachol at different concentration levels. (J Rubén Gómez Castellanos et al, J Ethnopharmacol., 2009) The molecular pathways which are regulated by Pau D’arco include Oxidative Stress, Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, WNT Beta Catenin Signaling, P53 Signaling and DNA Repair. 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 Pau D’arco individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Pau D’arco for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Pau D’arco use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Pau D’arco Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Pau D’arco for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Pau D’arco 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 Pau D’arco should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Pau D’arco Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Testicular Germ Cell Tumors undergoing Ifosfamide treatment?
Testicular Germ Cell Tumors is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KIT and KRAS leading to biochemical pathway changes in Oxidative Stress, DNA Repair, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling and MAPK Signaling. A cancer treatment like Ifosfamide 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, Pau D’arco supplement should be avoided for Testicular Germ Cell Tumors along with Ifosfamide treatment. Pau D’arco supplement impacts pathways/processes like Oxidative Stress and DNA Repair which either promote drivers of the Testicular Germ Cell Tumors and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Pau D’arco supplements contain active ingredients like Beta-lapachone which has CYP3A4 interaction with the Ifosfamide treatment, and hence should be avoided. (Pius S. Fasinu et al, Front Oncol., 2019; Food and Drug Administration, In Sook Kim et al, Cancer Chemother Pharmacol., 2013)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).
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.
2. Will Pau D’arco Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Urachal adenocarcinoma undergoing Gemcitabine Treatment?
Urachal adenocarcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53 and MTOR leading to biochemical pathway changes in Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, Adherens junction, P53 Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Angiogenesis. A cancer treatment like Gemcitabine 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, Pau D’arco supplement should be considered for Urachal adenocarcinoma along with treatment Gemcitabine. Pau D’arco supplement impacts pathways/processes like Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the Urachal adenocarcinoma and/or improve the treatment effect.
3. Are Pau D’arco Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with CDC73 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. CDC73 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
CDC73 mutation causes biochemical pathways WNT Beta Catenin Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Pau D’arco supplement should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies a mutation of CDC73 for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Pau D’arco supplement impacts pathways/processes like WNT Beta Catenin Signaling and Stem Cell Signaling and creates adverse effects with CDC73 and related conditions.
4. Are Pau D’arco Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with MLH1 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
MLH1 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. MLH1 mutation causes biochemical pathways P53 Signaling, Estrogen Signaling, Nucleotide metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling and NFKB Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Pau D’arco supplement when the genetic panel identifies mutations in MLH1 for Ovarian Cancer and Colon Cancer. Pau D’arco supplement impacts pathways/processes like P53 Signaling, NFKB Signaling and Estrogen Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with MLH1 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 Pau D’arco, 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.