Nutritional supplements like Eleuthero 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 Eleuthero 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 Eleuthero supplements can benefit Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) patients on Lenalidomide cancer treatment. But avoid Eleuthero supplements if on Cytarabine treatment for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Eleuthero can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene SMARCE1. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Eleuthero when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene BLM.
The takeaway being – your individual context will influence your decision if nutritional supplement Eleuthero 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 Eleuthero based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Eleuthero? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene BLM? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of the gene SMARCE1? Should you take it when diagnosed with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms? Should you take Eleuthero supplements when diagnosed with Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS)? Should you take it when on Cytarabine treatment? Should you continue taking Eleuthero supplements 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 Eleuthero.
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 Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS), 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 Eleuthero.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Eleuthero? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene BLM the same as due to mutation of gene SMARCE1? Are the implications of taking Eleuthero supplements in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms the same as Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS)? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Cytarabine or on Lenalidomide?
Eleuthero – A Nutritional Supplement
Eleuthero or Eleutherococcus senticosus, also known as Siberian ginseng (though not a true ginseng), is a woody shrub, native to Japan, China, Korea and Russia. Eleuthero is consumed in the form of food, tea as well as dietary supplements. It is often referred to as an adaptogen as it is considered to have the potential to improve the body’s resistance to stress. Some of the purported uses of Eleuthero are :
- May help improve endurance, cardiovascular health, metabolism, and physical performance of recreationally trained males (Jip Kuo et al, Chin J Physiol., 2010)
- May help reduce blood sugar (Sang Hyun Li et al, J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr., 2010)
- May have neuro-protective effects (Donghun Lee et al, J Ethnopharmacol., 2012)
Eleuthero supplements contain many active ingredients including Beta-carotene, Sesamin, Betulinic Acid and Caffeic Acid at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Eleuthero include Cancer Epigenetics, Glucocorticoid Signaling, Post Translational Modification, Stem Cell 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 Eleuthero individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Eleuthero for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Eleuthero use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Eleuthero Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Eleuthero for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Eleuthero 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 Eleuthero should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Eleuthero 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, MAPK Signaling, 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, Eleuthero should be avoided for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms along with treatment Cytarabine. Eleuthero impacts pathways/processes like Cancer Epigenetics and MAPK Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Eleuthero supplements contain active ingredients like Beta-carotene, Sesamin, and Caffeic Acid which have CYP3A4 interactions with Cytarabine treatment, and hence should be avoided by patients undergoing this treatment. (Himanshu Rastogi et al, Phytother Res., 2014; Kun Wang et al, Toxicol Sci., 2006; Dawn E Colburn et al, Hematology., 2004; Yun-Ping Lim et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012) 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 Eleuthero Supplements benefit Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) Patients undergoing Lenalidomide Cancer Treatment?
Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like LATS2 and ZMYM2 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Glucocorticoid Signaling, JAK-STAT Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Hypoxia and Angiogenesis. 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, Eleuthero supplements should be considered for Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) along with treatment Lenalidomide. Eleuthero supplement impacts pathways/processes like Glucocorticoid Signaling and JAK-STAT Signaling which either obstruct drivers of MGUS 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 Eleuthero Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with BLM 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. BLM is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
BLM mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Post Translational Modification, Estrogen Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, Angiogenesis and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Eleuthero should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies a mutation of BLM for Breast Cancer. Eleuthero impacts pathways/processes like Post Translational Modification and Estrogen Signaling and creates adverse effects with BLM and related conditions.
4. Are Eleuthero Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with SMARCE1 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
SMARCE1 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. SMARCE1 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling, P53 Signaling, Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, Angiogenesis and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Eleuthero supplement when the genetic panel identifies mutation in SMARCE1 for Brain Cancer. Eleuthero impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and P53 Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with SMARCE1 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 Eleuthero, 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.