Nutritional supplements like Senna 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 Senna 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 Senna supplements can benefit cancer patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) on Pentostatin treatment. But avoid Senna supplements if on Radiation treatment for Pilocytic Astrocytoma. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Senna can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene CDKN1B. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Senna 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 Senna 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 Senna based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Senna? 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 CDKN1B? Should you take it when diagnosed with Pilocytic Astrocytoma? Should you take Senna supplement when diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)? Should you take it when on Radiation treatment? Should you continue taking Senna supplement if you change your treatment from Radiation to Pentostatin? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Senna.
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 Pilocytic Astrocytoma or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), 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 Senna.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Senna? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene MRE11 the same as due to mutation of gene CDKN1B? Are the implications of taking Senna supplements in Pilocytic Astrocytoma the same as Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Radiation or on Pentostatin?
Senna – A Nutritional Supplement
Senna is a flowering plant which falls under the pea family. The leaves and fruits of Senna plant are considered to have medicinal properties. Senna has many health benefits including anti-inflammatory, laxative and intestinal motility effects. (Lyvia Guarize et al, Nat Prod Res., 2012) However in some people it may cause certain side effects such as nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Senna supplements contain many active ingredients including Oleic Acid, Emodin and Rhein at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Senna include MYC Signaling, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Estrogen Signaling, FOXO Signaling and MAPK 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 Senna individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Senna for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Senna use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Senna Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Senna for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Senna 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 Senna should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Senna Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Pilocytic Astrocytoma undergoing Radiation treatment?
Pilocytic Astrocytoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KIAA1549-BRAF and BRAF leading to biochemical pathway changes in MYC Signaling, MAPK Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling. A cancer treatment like Radiation 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, Senna should be avoided for Pilocytic Astrocytoma along with treatment Radiation. Senna impacts pathways/processes like MYC Signaling and MAPK 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 Senna Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) undergoing Pentostatin Treatment?
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like NOTCH1 and SF3B1 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Lipid Metabolism, Hypoxia, Small Molecule Transport and Notch Signaling. A cancer treatment like Pentostatin 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, Senna supplement should be considered for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) along with treatment Pentostatin. Senna supplement impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints and Lipid Metabolism which either obstruct drivers of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and/or improve Pentostatin 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 Senna 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 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like 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. Senna should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of MRE11 for Breast Cancer. Senna impacts pathways/processes like Estrogen Signaling and Angiogenesis and creates adverse effects with MRE11 and related conditions.
4. Are Senna 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 Senna supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in CDKN1B for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Senna supplement 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 Senna, 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.