Nutritional supplements like Chaparral 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 Chaparral 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 Chaparral supplements can benefit patients with Poems Syndrome undergoing Thalidomide cancer treatment. But avoid Chaparral supplements if on Doxorubicin treatment for Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Chaparral can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MLH1. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Chaparral when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene FLCN.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Chaparral 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 Chaparral based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Chaparral? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene FLCN? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MLH1? Should you take it when diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma? Should you take Chaparral supplements when diagnosed with Poems Syndrome? Should you take it when on Doxorubicin treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Doxorubicin to Thalidomide? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Chaparral.
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 Mantle Cell Lymphoma or Poems Syndrome, 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 Chaparral.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Chaparral? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene FLCN the same as due to mutation of gene MLH1? Are the implications of Mantle Cell Lymphoma same as Poems Syndrome? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Doxorubicin or on Thalidomide?
Chaparral – A Nutritional Supplement
Chaparral, also known as Larrea tridentata, creosote bush, greasewood and gobernadora, is a herb with yellow flowers, commonly seen in the warm deserts of North America including Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts. The plant contains certain compounds called cyclolignans with antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. (John Gnabre et al, J Tradit Complement Med., 2015) Hence, chaparral has been widely used for various health conditions in spite of lack of studies in humans. However, there are studies which highlighted that the use of chaparral supplements may lead to liver toxicity, acute hepatitis and hepatic fibrosis. (N M Sheikh et al, Arch Intern Med., 1997; H Kauma et al, Scand J Gastroenterol., 2004) Hence, it is important to discuss with your healthcare professional before taking this supplement and also to ensure taking it in the right doses.
Chaparral supplements contain many active ingredients including Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Chaparral include PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Hypoxia, Estrogen Signaling, Vitamin D 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 Chaparral individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Chaparral for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Chaparral use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Chaparral Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Chaparral for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Chaparral 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 Chaparral should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Chaparral Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma undergoing Doxorubicin treatment?
Mantle Cell Lymphoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like ATM and KMT2D leading to biochemical pathway changes in PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Vitamin D Signaling, DNA Repair, P53 Signaling and Cell Cycle Checkpoints. A cancer treatment like Doxorubicin 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, Chaparral should be avoided for Mantle Cell Lymphoma along with treatment Doxorubicin. Chaparral impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Vitamin D Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Chaparral supplements contain active ingredients like Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid which has CYP3A4 (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Doxorubicin treatment and hence should be avoided by patients undergoing this treatment. (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 Chaparral Supplements benefit Patients with Poems Syndrome undergoing Thalidomide Cancer Treatment?
Poems Syndrome is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like LATS2 and ZMYM2 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Hypoxia, RAS-RAF Signaling, B Cell Receptor Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MAPK Signaling. A cancer treatment like Thalidomide 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, Chaparral supplements may be considered for Poems Syndrome along with treatment Thalidomide. Chaparral supplement impacts pathways/processes like Hypoxia and RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Poems Syndrome and/or improve the treatment effect.
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3. Are Chaparral Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with FLCN 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.
FLCN is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing. FLCN mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, Angiogenesis and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Chaparral should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of FLCN for Kidney Cancer. Chaparral impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Stem Cell Signaling and creates adverse effects with FLCN and related conditions.
4. Are Chaparral 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/processes like Estrogen Signaling, NFKB Signaling, Nucleotide metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling and P53 Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Chaparral supplements may be possibly beneficial when the genetic panel identifies mutations in MLH1 for Ovarian Cancer and Colon Cancer. Chaparral impacts pathways/processes like Estrogen Signaling and NFKB Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with MLH1 and related conditions.
However, as mentioned before, discuss with your healthcare professional before taking this supplement to stay away from any adverse reactions.
* Other Factors are also included like BMI, Treatments, Lifestyle Habits
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 Chaparral, 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.