Nutritional supplements like Guggul 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 Guggul 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 Guggul supplements can benefit cancer patients with Multiple Myeloma on Lenalidomide treatment. But avoid Guggul supplements if on Pazopanib treatment for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Guggul can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene KIT. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Guggul when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene TERT.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Guggul 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 Guggul based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take supplement Guggul? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene TERT? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene KIT? Should you take it when diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia? Should you take Guggul supplements when diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma? Should you take it when on Pazopanib treatment? Should you continue taking Guggul supplements if you change your treatment from Pazopanib to Lenalidomide? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Guggul.
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 Chronic Myeloid Leukemia or Multiple Myeloma, 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 Guggul.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Guggul? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene TERT the same as due to mutation of gene KIT? Are the implications of taking Guggul supplements in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia the same as Multiple Myeloma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Pazopanib or on Lenalidomide?
Guggul – A Nutritional Supplement
Guggul is a fragrant resin produced by the Commiphora mukul tree, native to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. It is considered to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been used in the Indian Ayurvedic Medicine for centuries for various health conditions. Following are some of the purported uses of Guggul:
- May help reduce symptoms associated with osteoarthritis (N Kimmatkar et al, Phytomedicine., 2003)
- May help reduce cholesterol (Saibal Das et al, J Diet Suppl., 2016)
- May help reduce symptoms associated with hypothyroidism (Sunanda Panda et al, Phytother Res., 2005)
- May help promote weight loss, fat burn and suppress appetite (Jeong-Yeh Yang et al, Obesity (Silver Spring)., 2008)
In some people, intake of Guggul supplements may cause certain side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, stomach upset, headaches, and skin rashes.
Guggul supplements contain many active ingredients including Guggulsterone, Alpha Pinene and Alpha Terpineol at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Guggul include Oxidative Stress, MYC Signaling, Hypoxia, TGFB 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 Guggul individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Guggul for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Guggul use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Guggul Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Guggul for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Guggul 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 Guggul should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Guggul Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia undergoing Pazopanib treatment?
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like BCR-ABL1 and RUNX1 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Oxidative Stress, TGFB Signaling, Growth Factor Signaling, Cancer Epigenetics and RUNX Signaling. A cancer treatment like Pazopanib 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, Guggul should be avoided for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia along with treatment Pazopanib. Guggul impacts pathways/processes like Oxidative Stress and TGFB Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Guggul Supplements contain active ingredients like Myrcene which has CYP3A4 interactions with Pazopanib treatment and hence should be avoided by patients undergoing this treatment. (https://patents.google.com/patent/US7169763B2/en; Sander Bins et al, Clin Pharmacokinet., 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 Guggul Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Multiple Myeloma undergoing Lenalidomide Treatment?
Multiple Myeloma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KRAS and NRAS leading to biochemical pathway changes in Oxidative Stress, Hypoxia, P53 Signaling, MYC Signaling and MAPK Signaling. A cancer treatment like Lenalidomide 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, Guggul supplement should be considered for Multiple Myeloma along with treatment Lenalidomide. Guggul supplement impacts pathways/processes like Oxidative Stress and Hypoxia which either obstruct drivers of Multiple Myeloma and/or improve Lenalidomide 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 Guggul Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with TERT 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. TERT is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
TERT mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like MYC Signaling, TGFB Signaling, Nucleotide metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling and Hypoxia to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Guggul should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of TERT for Hematological Cancer. Guggul impacts pathways/processes like MYC Signaling and TGFB Signaling and creates adverse effects with TERT and related conditions.
4. Are Guggul Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with KIT Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
KIT is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. KIT mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Hypoxia, RAS-RAF Signaling, Nucleotide metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling and MAPK Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Guggul supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in KIT for Gastric Cancer and Hematological Cancer. Guggul impacts pathways/processes like Hypoxia and RAS-RAF Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with KIT 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 Guggul, 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.