Nutritional supplements like Sumac 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 Sumac 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 Sumac supplements can benefit ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients on Alectinib treatment. But avoid Sumac supplements if on Decitabine treatment for TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Sumac can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene CDKN1B. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Sumac 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 Sumac 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 Sumac based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Sumac? 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 CDKN1B? Should you take it when diagnosed with TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia? Should you take Sumac supplement when diagnosed with ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)? Should you take it when on Decitabine treatment? Should you continue taking Sumac supplements if you change your treatment from Decitabine to Alectinib? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Sumac.
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 ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), 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 Sumac.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Sumac? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene TERT the same as due to mutation of gene CDKN1B? Are the implications of taking Sumac supplement in TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia the same as ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Decitabine or on Alectinib?
Sumac – A Nutritional Supplement
Sumac (Rhus coriaria) is a flowering plant which belongs to the family Anacardiaceae and produces clusters of reddish pea-sized fruits. It is commonly found in East Asia, Africa, and North America. The fruits are rich in antioxidants and are usually used to make tea. Dietary supplements of Sumac are also commercially available. Following are some of the potential health benefits of Sumac:
- May help reduce blood sugar (Farzad Shidfar et al, Iran J Pharm Res., Fall 2014)
- May help reduce muscle pain during aerobic exercise (A H Alghadir et al, Physiol Int., 2016)
- May have anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antimicrobial and antiviral effects (Sierra Rayne and G Mazza, Plant Foods Hum Nutr., 2007)
There are also some reviews which suggest investigating whether Sumac is effective in treating COVID-19 infection. (Hasan Korkmaz, J Med Food., 2021)
Sumac supplements contain many active ingredients including Ellagic Acid, Fisetin and Gallic Acid at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Sumac include Noncoding RNA Signaling, Extracellular Matrix Remodelling, Stem Cell Signaling, FOXO Signaling 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 Sumac individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Sumac for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Sumac use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Sumac Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Sumac for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Sumac 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 Sumac should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Sumac 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 Noncoding RNA 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, Sumac should be avoided for TET2+ Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia along with treatment Decitabine. Sumac impacts pathways/processes like Noncoding RNA 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 Sumac Supplements benefit ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Patients undergoing Alectinib Treatment?
ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like ALK and TP53 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Extracellular Matrix Remodelling, G-protein-coupled Receptor Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Small Molecule Transport. A cancer treatment like Alectinib 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, Sumac supplements should be considered for ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) along with treatment Alectinib. Sumac supplement impacts pathways/processes like Extracellular Matrix Remodelling and G-protein-coupled Receptor Signaling which either obstruct drivers of ALK+ NSCLC and/or improve Alectinib 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 Sumac 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. Sumac should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of TERT for Hematological Cancer. Sumac impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and Cell Cycle Checkpoints and creates adverse effects with TERT and related conditions.
4. Are Sumac 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 FOXO Signaling, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Stem Cell Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Sumac supplement when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDKN1B for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Sumac impacts pathways/processes like FOXO Signaling and Cell Cycle Checkpoints 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 Sumac, 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.