Nutritional supplements like Calendula 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 Calendula 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 Calendula supplements can benefit cancer patients with Burkitt Lymphoma on Vincristine treatment. But avoid Calendula supplements if on Ifosfamide treatment for Choroid Plexus Tumors. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Calendula can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene STK11. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Calendula 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 Calendula 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 Calendula based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Calendula? 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 STK11? Should you take it when diagnosed with Choroid Plexus Tumors? Should you take Calendula supplements when diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma? Should you take it when on Ifosfamide treatment? Should you continue taking Calendula supplements if you change your treatment from Ifosfamide to Vincristine? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Calendula.
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 Choroid Plexus Tumors or Burkitt Lymphoma, 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 Calendula.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Calendula? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene TERT the same as due to mutation of gene STK11? Are the implications of taking Calendula supplements in Choroid Plexus Tumors the same as Burkitt Lymphoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Ifosfamide or on Vincristine?
Calendula – A Nutritional Supplement
Calendula or Calendula officinalis is a flowering herb commonly known as pot marigold, native to Asia and southern Europe. It has antioxidant properties and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Following are some of the potential health benefits of calendula:
- May support liver health (Mohamed A Hamzawy et al, ISRN Nutr., 2013)
- May help reduce radiation induced oropharyngeal mucositis in patients with head and neck cancers (Neda Babaee et al, DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2013)
- May help reduce oxidative stress and bone loss (Mariana Dos Reis Lima et al, Front Physiol., 2017)
Calendula supplements contain many active ingredients including Esculetin and Quercetagetin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Calendula include Hypoxia, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Angiogenesis, MYC Signaling and RUNX 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 Calendula individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Calendula for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Calendula use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Calendula Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Calendula for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Calendula 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 Calendula should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Calendula Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Choroid Plexus Tumors undergoing Ifosfamide treatment?
Choroid Plexus Tumors is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TERT and TP53 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Hypoxia, Apoptosis, MAPK Signaling and DNA Repair. A cancer treatment like Ifosfamide 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, Calendula should be avoided for Choroid Plexus Tumors along with treatment Ifosfamide. Calendula impacts pathways/processes like Hypoxia 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 Calendula Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Burkitt Lymphoma undergoing Vincristine Treatment?
Burkitt Lymphoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like MYC and ID3 leading to biochemical pathway changes in PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, MYC Signaling and Cell Cycle. A cancer treatment like Vincristine 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, Calendula supplements should be considered for Burkitt Lymphoma along with treatment Vincristine. Calendula supplement impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and MYC Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Burkitt Lymphoma and/or improve Vincristine 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 Calendula 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 Angiogenesis, RUNX Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, Cell Cycle Checkpoints and JAK-STAT Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Calendula should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of TERT for Hematological Cancer. Calendula impacts pathways/processes like Angiogenesis and RUNX Signaling and creates adverse effects with TERT and related conditions.
4. Are Calendula Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with STK11 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
STK11 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. STK11 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Lipid Metabolism, Stem Cell Signaling, TGFB Signaling and JAK-STAT Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Calendula supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in STK11 for Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer. Calendula impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Lipid Metabolism and creates a supportive effect in those with STK11 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 Calendula, 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.