Nutritional supplements like Boldo 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 Boldo 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 Boldo supplements can benefit cancer patients with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia on Trametinib treatment. But avoid Boldo supplements if on Venetoclax treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Boldo can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene KIT. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Boldo when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MRE11.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Boldo 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 Boldo based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Boldo? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MRE11? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene KIT? Should you take it when diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma? Should you take Boldo supplements when diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia? Should you take it when on Venetoclax treatment? Should you continue taking Boldo supplement if you change your treatment from Venetoclax to Trametinib? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Boldo.
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 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma or Juvenile Myelomonocytic 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 Boldo.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Boldo? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene MRE11 the same as due to mutation of gene KIT? Are the implications of taking Boldo supplements in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma the same as Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Venetoclax or on Trametinib?
Boldo – A Nutritional Supplement
Boldo is an evergreen shrub or small tree, native to Chile and Peru in South America. The leaves of the Boldo plant are brewed into herbal tea and has been used as a traditional medicine for various conditions in spite of limited scientific evidence supporting its benefits. Following are some of the purported uses of Boldo:
- May help reduce digestive problems (Wanderson Fernando Mello de Souza et al, Food Res Int., 2019)
- May have antioxidant properties (H Speisky and B K Cassels, Pharmacol Res., Jan-Feb 1994)
- May help reduce hepatobiliary disorders (Wanderson Fernando Mello de Souza et al, Food Res Int., 2019)
- May help boost weight loss
However, consuming high doses of boldo can cause serious side-effects including hallucinations and liver damage. (Pierre-Jacques Chaboussant et al, Therapie., Sep-Oct 2014) Hence, do not take boldo supplements without consulting your healthcare provider.
Boldo supplements contain many active ingredients including Boldine, Carvacrol and D-limonene at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Boldo include Cell Cycle Checkpoints, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Estrogen Signaling, Vitamin D 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 Boldo individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Boldo for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Boldo use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Boldo Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Boldo for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Boldo 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 Boldo should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Boldo Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma undergoing Venetoclax treatment?
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KMT2D and CREBBP leading to biochemical pathway changes in Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Vitamin D Signaling, P53 Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Cancer Epigenetics. A cancer treatment like Venetoclax 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, Boldo should be avoided for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma along with treatment Venetoclax. Boldo impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints and Vitamin D Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Boldo supplements contain many active ingredients like Caffeine, Gallic Acid, Isorhamnetin and Quercetin which have CYP3A4 (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Venetoclax treatment, and hence should be avoided by patients undergoing this treatment. (Luis Miguel Juárez-Salcedo et al, Drugs Context., 2019; Melanie Z Sakatis et al, Chem Res Toxicol., 2012; Qiang-Hong Pu and Liang Shi, Chao Yu, Xenobiotica., 2015; Li-li Ding and Jing-jing Zhang, Wei Dou, Yao Xue Xue Bao., 2012; Himanshu Rastogi et al, Phytother Res., 2014) 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 Boldo Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia undergoing Trametinib Treatment?
Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like PTPN11 and NRAS leading to biochemical pathway changes in PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, JAK-STAT Signaling, MAPK Signaling and MYC Signaling. A cancer treatment like Trametinib 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, Boldo supplements should be considered for Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia along with treatment Trametinib. Boldo supplement impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia and/or improve Trametinib 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 Boldo Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with MRE11 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. MRE11 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
MRE11 mutation causes biochemical pathways Estrogen Signaling, Angiogenesis, Stem Cell Signaling, Interferon Signaling and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Boldo should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of MRE11 for Breast Cancer. Boldo impacts pathways/processes like Estrogen Signaling and Angiogenesis and creates adverse effects with MRE11 and related conditions.
4. Are Boldo 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 PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, RUNX Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling and JAK-STAT Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Boldo supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in KIT for Gastric Cancer and Hematological Cancer. Boldo impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with KIT mutations 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 Boldo, 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.