Nutritional supplements like Gotu Kola 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 Gotu Kola 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 Gotu Kola supplements can benefit Rosai-Dorfman disease patients on Methotrexate cancer treatment. But avoid Gotu Kola supplements if on Temozolomide treatment for Pilocytic Astrocytoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Gotu Kola can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene CDKN1B. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Gotu Kola when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene BAP1.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Gotu Kola 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 Gotu Kola based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Gotu Kola? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene BAP1? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene CDKN1B? Should you take it when diagnosed with Pilocytic Astrocytoma? Should you take Gotu Kola supplement when diagnosed with Rosai-Dorfman disease? Should you take it when on Temozolomide treatment? Should you continue taking Gotu Kola supplement if you change your treatment from Temozolomide to Methotrexate? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Gotu Kola.
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 Pilocytic Astrocytoma 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 Gotu Kola.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Gotu Kola? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene BAP1 the same as due to mutation of gene CDKN1B? Are the implications of taking Gotu Kola supplement in Pilocytic Astrocytoma the same as Rosai-Dorfman disease? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Temozolomide or on Methotrexate?
Gotu Kola – A Nutritional Supplement
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica), also known as Asiatic Pennywort, is a medicinal plant/vegetable with kidney shaped leaves, commonly used in the Indian Ayurvedic Medicine and Chinese Traditional Medicine. It is consumed in the form of vegetables and juice and is also used in the preparation of many health products. It is considered to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antipyretic, wound healing, anti-microbial, anti-wrinkle, memory-enhancing, anti-stress, antidepressant, and neuroprotective effects. (Udumalagala Gamage Chandrika et al, Adv Food Nutr Res., 2015; Panupong Puttarak et al, Sci Rep., 2017; Kun Marisa Farhana et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2016)
Gotu Kola supplements contain many active ingredients including Asiatic Acid, Quercetin and Quercitrin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Gotu Kola include MYC Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, MAPK Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling and Angiogenesis. 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 Gotu Kola individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of the supplement Gotu Kola for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Gotu Kola use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Gotu Kola Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Gotu Kola for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Gotu Kola 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 Gotu Kola should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Gotu Kola Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Pilocytic Astrocytoma undergoing Temozolomide treatment?
Pilocytic Astrocytoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KIAA1549-BRAF and BRAF leading to biochemical pathway changes in MYC Signaling, MAPK Signaling, Growth Factor Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling. A cancer treatment like Temozolomide 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, Gotu Kola should be avoided for Pilocytic Astrocytoma along with the treatment Temozolomide. Gotu Kola impacts pathways/processes like MYC Signaling and MAPK Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease 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 Gotu Kola Supplements benefit Rosai-Dorfman disease Patients 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, Gotu Kola supplement should be considered for Rosai-Dorfman disease along with treatment Methotrexate. Gotu Kola supplement impacts pathways/processes like MYC Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Rosai-Dorfman disease and/or improve Methotrexate 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 Gotu Kola Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with BAP1 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. BAP1 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
BAP1 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling, Angiogenesis, MAPK Signaling and DNA Repair to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Gotu Kola should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of BAP1 for Skin Cancer and Cholangiocarcinoma. Gotu Kola impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and Angiogenesis and creates adverse effects with BAP1 and related conditions.
4. Are Gotu Kola 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 Stem Cell Signaling, FOXO Signaling, Cell Cycle, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Cell Cycle Checkpoints to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Gotu Kola supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDKN1B for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Gotu Kola impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and FOXO Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with CDKN1B mutation and related conditions.
* 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 Gotu Kola, 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.