Nutritional supplements like Asafoetida 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 Asafoetida 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 Asafoetida supplements can benefit cancer patients with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on CAR-T treatment. But avoid Asafoetida supplements if on Decitabine treatment for TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Asafoetida can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene CDK4. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Asafoetida 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 Asafoetida 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 Asafoetida based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Asafoetida? 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 CDK4? Should you take it when diagnosed with TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia? Should you take Asafoetida supplement when diagnosed with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia? Should you take it when on Decitabine treatment? Should you continue taking Asafoetida supplements if you change your treatment from Decitabine to CAR-T? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Asafoetida.
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 TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia or B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, 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 Asafoetida.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Asafoetida? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene TERT the same as due to mutation of gene CDK4? Are the implications of taking Asafoetida supplement in TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia the same as B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Decitabine or on CAR-T?
Asafoetida – A Nutritional Supplement
Asafoetida or Ferula asafoetida is the dried latex exuded from the roots of Ferula plant, native to Afghanistan and Iraq. Asafoetida or “hing” is usually dried and ground into a powder, and is commonly used as a spice in Indian cuisines. It is also considered to have medicinal properties due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial effects (Gholamreza Kavoosi et al, J Food Sci., 2013). Following are some of the potential health benefits of asafoetida:
- May help reduce bloating and improve digestion. (K N Mala et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2018)
- May help reduce blood pressure (Mohammad Fatehi et al, J Ethnopharmacol., 2004)
- May help reduce blood sugar (Ahmed Saber Abu-Zaiton et al, Pak J Biol Sci., 2010)
- May help reduce Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Emily J Peckham et al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev., 2013)
- May help reduce memory loss and nerve damage in the brain (Vijayalakshmi et al, Indian J Pharmacol., 2012)
Asafoetida supplements contain many active ingredients including Umbelliprenin, Oleic Acid and Luteolin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Asafoetida include PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, B Cell Receptor Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, 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 Asafoetida individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Asafoetida for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Asafoetida use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Asafoetida Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Asafoetida for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Asafoetida 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 Asafoetida should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Asafoetida Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia undergoing Decitabine treatment?
TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TET2 and ASXL1 leading to biochemical pathway changes in PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, MYC Signaling, Cancer Epigenetics and mRNA Splicing. A cancer treatment like Decitabine 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, Asafoetida should be avoided for TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia along with treatment Decitabine. Asafoetida impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MYC 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 Asafoetida Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia undergoing CAR-T Treatment?
B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53 and KMT2D leading to biochemical pathway changes in B Cell Receptor Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Lipid Metabolism, MYC Signaling and MAPK Signaling. A cancer treatment like CAR-T 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, Asafoetida supplement should be considered for B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia along with treatment CAR-T. Asafoetida supplement impacts pathways/processes like B Cell Receptor Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the disease and/or improve CAR-T 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 Asafoetida 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 Stem Cell Signaling, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, RUNX Signaling, JAK-STAT Signaling and Hypoxia to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Asafoetida supplement should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of TERT for Hematological Cancer. Asafoetida supplement impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and Cell Cycle Checkpoints and creates adverse effects with TERT and related conditions.
4. Are Asafoetida Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with CDK4 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
CDK4 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. CDK4 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Angiogenesis, Stem Cell Signaling, Growth Factor Signaling and DNA Repair to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Asafoetida supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDK4 for Skin Cancer. Asafoetida impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints and Angiogenesis and creates a supportive effect in those with CDK4 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 Asafoetida, 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.