Nutritional supplements like Yerba Santa 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 Yerba Santa 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 Yerba Santa supplements can benefit cancer patients with Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) on Mercaptopurine treatment. But avoid Yerba Santa supplements if on Cytarabine treatment for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Yerba Santa can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of the gene CDKN1B. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Yerba Santa 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 Yerba Santa 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 Yerba Santa based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Yerba Santa? 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 Myeloproliferative Neoplasms? Should you take Yerba Santa supplement when diagnosed with Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL)? Should you take it when on Cytarabine treatment? Should you continue taking Yerba Santa supplement if you change your treatment from Cytarabine to Mercaptopurine? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Yerba Santa.
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 Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL), 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 Yerba Santa.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Yerba Santa? 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 Yerba Santa supplement in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms the same as Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL)? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Cytarabine or on Mercaptopurine?
Yerba Santa – A Nutritional Supplement
Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon Californicum), also known as mountain balm, bear’s weed, gum bush, gum plant, and consumptive weed, is a evergreen aromatic shrub, native to California and Oregon, and Northern Mexico. The leaves of Yerba Santa are considered to have many health benefits due to its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory activities. (Pamela Maher, Front Pharmacol., 2020)
Yerba Santa supplements contain many active ingredients including Beta-carotene, Butyric Acid and Chrysin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Yerba Santa include MYC Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Estrogen Signaling, 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 Yerba Santa individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Yerba Santa for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Yerba Santa use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Yerba Santa Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Yerba Santa for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Yerba Santa 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 Yerba Santa should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Yerba Santa 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 MYC Signaling, 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, Yerba Santa should be avoided for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms along with treatment Cytarabine. Yerba Santa 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 Yerba Santa Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) undergoing Mercaptopurine Treatment?
Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like CDKN2A and JAK3 leading to biochemical pathway changes in PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, Cancer Epigenetics, JAK-STAT Signaling and Cell Cycle. A cancer treatment like Mercaptopurine 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, Yerba Santa supplement should be considered for Early T Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ETP-ALL) along with treatment Mercaptopurine. Yerba Santa supplement impacts pathways/processes like PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of ETP-ALL and/or improve Mercaptopurine 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 Yerba Santa 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/processes like Estrogen Signaling, DNA Repair, Stem Cell Signaling, Interferon Signaling and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Yerba Santa should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies the mutation of MRE11 for Breast Cancer. Yerba Santa impacts pathways/processes like Estrogen Signaling and DNA Repair and creates adverse effects with MRE11 and related conditions.
4. Are Yerba Santa 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 Stem Cell Signaling, FOXO Signaling, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Angiogenesis to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Yerba Santa supplements when the genetic panel identifies the mutation in CDKN1B for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Yerba Santa impacts the pathways/processes like Stem Cell Signaling and FOXO Signaling 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 Yerba Santa, 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.