Nutritional supplements like Fang Feng 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 Fang Feng 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 Fang Feng supplements can benefit cancer patients with Smoldering Multiple Myeloma on Lenalidomide treatment. But avoid Fang Feng supplements if on Cytarabine treatment for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Fang Feng can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene TP53. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Fang Feng 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 Fang Feng 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 Fang Feng based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Fang Feng? 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 TP53? Should you take it when diagnosed with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms? Should you take Fang Feng supplement when diagnosed with Smoldering Multiple Myeloma? Should you take it when on Cytarabine treatment? Should you continue taking Fang Feng supplement if you change your treatment from Cytarabine to Lenalidomide? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Fang Feng.
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 Myeloproliferative Neoplasms or Smoldering 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 Fang Feng.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Fang Feng? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene TERT the same as due to mutation of gene TP53? Are the implications of taking Fang Feng supplements in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms the same as Smoldering Multiple Myeloma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Cytarabine or on Lenalidomide?
Fang Feng – A Nutritional Supplement
Fang Feng, also known as Saposhnikovia divaricata, Chinese Laserwort and Siler, is a perennial plant, native to China, Russia, Korea and Japan. It is commonly used in Chinese Traditional Medicine for various health conditions. Following are some of the potential health benefits of Fang Feng :
- May have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (Joseph Tai and Susan Cheung, Oncol Rep., 2007)
- May help reduce arthritis (Xiangying Kong et al, J Ethnopharmacol., 2013)
- May help reduce respiratory problems including allergic rhinitis (Jenny Kreiner et al, Chin J Nat Med., 2017)
Fang Feng supplements contain many active ingredients including Bergapten, Fraxidin and Scopoletin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Fang Feng include Cancer Epigenetics, Vitamin D Signaling, Apoptosis, Cell Cycle Checkpoints and MYC 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 Fang Feng individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Fang Feng for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Fang Feng use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Fang Feng Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Fang Feng for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Fang Feng 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 Fang Feng should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Fang Feng Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms undergoing Cytarabine treatment?
Myeloproliferative Neoplasms is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like JAK2 and CALR leading to biochemical pathway changes in Cancer Epigenetics, JAK-STAT Signaling, Cytokine Signaling and Hematopoiesis. A cancer treatment like Cytarabine 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, Fang Feng should be avoided for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms along with treatment Cytarabine. Fang Feng impacts pathways/processes like Cancer Epigenetics which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Fang Feng supplements contain active ingredients like Bergapten which has CYP3A4 interactions with Cytarabine treatment and hence should be avoided by patients undergoing this treatment. (P C Ho et al, J Pharm Pharm Sci., Sep-Dec 2001; Dawn E Colburn et al, Hematology., 2004) 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 Fang Feng Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Smoldering Multiple Myeloma undergoing Lenalidomide Treatment?
Smoldering Multiple Myeloma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like BRCA2 and CDK8 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Vitamin D Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, Hypoxia 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, Fang Feng supplements should be considered for Smoldering Multiple Myeloma along with treatment Lenalidomide. Fang Feng supplement impacts pathways/processes like Vitamin D Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Smoldering 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 Fang Feng 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 Apoptosis, RUNX Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, Cell Cycle Checkpoints and JAK-STAT Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Fang Feng should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies a mutation of TERT for Hematological Cancer. Fang Feng impacts pathways/processes like Apoptosis and RUNX Signaling and creates adverse effects with TERT and related conditions.
4. Are Fang Feng Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with TP53 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
TP53 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. TP53 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, TGFB Signaling and Autophagy to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Fang Feng supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in TP53 for Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer. Fang Feng supplement impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with TP53 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 Fang Feng, 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.