Nutritional supplements like Forsythia 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 Forsythia 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 Forsythia supplements can benefit cancer patients with Parathyroid Carcinoma on Radiation treatment. But avoid Forsythia supplements if on Ifosfamide treatment for Testicular Germ Cell Tumors. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Forsythia can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MAX. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Forsythia 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 Forsythia 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 Forsythia based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Forsythia? 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 gene MAX? Should you take it when diagnosed with Testicular Germ Cell Tumors? Should you take Forsythia supplement when diagnosed with Parathyroid Carcinoma? Should you take it when on Ifosfamide treatment? Should you continue taking Forsythia supplement if you change your treatment from Ifosfamide to Radiation? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Forsythia.
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 Testicular Germ Cell Tumors or Parathyroid Carcinoma, 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 Forsythia.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Forsythia? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene BLM the same as due to mutation of gene MAX? Are the implications of taking Forsythia supplement in Testicular Germ Cell Tumors the same as Parathyroid Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Ifosfamide or on Radiation?
Forsythia – A Nutritional Supplement
Forsythia is a shrub, native to Eastern Asia. The fruits of Forsythia are considered to have antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties and are widely used in Chinese Traditional Medicine. Some of the purported uses of Forsythia include its use for inflammatory conditions like bronchiolitis and tonsillitis, pain and swelling (inflammation), sore throat, fever and vomiting.
Forsythia supplements contain many active ingredients including Forsythiaside, Oleanolic Acid, Rutin, Ursolic Acid and Quercetin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Forsythia include Oxidative Stress, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Post Translational Modification, Stem Cell Signaling and JAK-STAT 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 Forsythia individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Forsythia for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Forsythia use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Forsythia Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Forsythia for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Forsythia 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 Forsythia should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Forsythia Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Testicular Germ Cell Tumors undergoing Ifosfamide treatment?
Testicular Germ Cell Tumors is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like KIT and KRAS leading to biochemical pathway changes in Oxidative Stress, JAK-STAT Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling and MAPK Signaling. 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, Forsythia should be avoided for Testicular Germ Cell Tumors along with treatment of Ifosfamide. Forsythia impacts pathways/processes like Oxidative Stress and JAK-STAT Signaling which either promote drivers of the disease and/or nullify the treatment effect. Additionally, Forsythia supplements contain active ingredients like Oleanolic acid, Quercetin, Rutin and Ursolic acid which have CYP3A4 interactions with Ifosfamide treatment and hence should be avoided by patients undergoing this treatment. (Pius S Fasinu et al, Front Oncol., 2019; Kyoung-Ah Kim et al, Life Sci., 2004; Jun-Shik Choi et al, Arch Pharm Res., 2011; Sedar Karakurt et al, Acta Pharm., 2016) 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 Forsythia Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Parathyroid Carcinoma undergoing Radiation Treatment?
Parathyroid Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like CDC73 and RAD50 leading to biochemical pathway changes in PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, Cell Cycle Checkpoints and DNA Repair. A cancer treatment like Radiation 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, Forsythia supplements should be considered for Parathyroid Carcinoma along with treatment Radiation. Forsythia supplement impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of the Parathyroid Carcinoma and/or improve Radiation treatment effect.
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3. Are Forsythia 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. Forsythia should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies a mutation of BLM for Breast Cancer. Forsythia impacts pathways/processes like Post Translational Modification and Estrogen Signaling and creates adverse effects with BLM and related conditions.
4. Are Forsythia Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with MAX Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
MAX is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. MAX mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling, Angiogenesis, MYC Signaling, Cancer Epigenetics and Cell Cycle to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Forsythia supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in MAX for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Forsythia supplement impacts pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and Angiogenesis and creates a supportive effect in those with MAX 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 Forsythia, 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.