Nutritional supplements like Beta-sitosterol 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 Beta-sitosterol 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 Beta-sitosterol supplements can benefit cancer patients with Endometrial Carcinoma on Anastrozole treatment. But avoid Beta-sitosterol supplements if on Cytarabine treatment for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Beta-sitosterol can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene TP53. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Beta-sitosterol 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 Beta-sitosterol 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 Beta-sitosterol based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take the supplement Beta-sitosterol? 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 TP53? Should you take it when diagnosed with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms? Should you take Beta-sitosterol supplement when diagnosed with Endometrial Carcinoma? Should you take it when on Cytarabine treatment? Should you continue taking Beta-sitosterol supplement if you change your treatment from Cytarabine to Anastrozole? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Beta-sitosterol.
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 Endometrial 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 Beta-sitosterol.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Beta-sitosterol? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene TERT the same as due to mutation of gene TP53? Are the implications of taking Beta-sitosterol supplements in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms the same as Endometrial Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Cytarabine or on Anastrozole?
Beta-sitosterol – A Nutritional Supplement
Beta-sitosterol is a phytosterol (plant sterol) with structure similar to cholesterol. It is found in various dietary and non-dietary plants. It is considered to have medicinal properties including antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, neuroprotective and chemopreventive or anti-cancer effects. (Shyamaladevi Babu and Selvaraj Jayaraman, Biomed Pharmacother., 2020)
Beta-sitosterol is an active ingredient found in various food items. Barley, Buckwheat and Corn contain Beta-sitosterol at different concentration levels along with other active ingredients. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Beta-sitosterol include RUNX Signaling, Apoptosis, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Vitamin D Signaling and Angiogenesis. 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 Beta-sitosterol individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Beta-sitosterol for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Beta-sitosterol use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Beta-sitosterol Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Beta-sitosterol for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Beta-sitosterol 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 Beta-sitosterol should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Beta-sitosterol Supplements benefit Cancer patients with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms undergoing Cytarabine treatment?
Myeloproliferative Neoplasms is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like JAK2 and CALR. 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, Beta-sitosterol should be avoided for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms along with treatment Cytarabine. Beta-sitosterol impacts specific pathways 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 Beta-sitosterol Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Endometrial Carcinoma undergoing Anastrozole Treatment?
Endometrial Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like PTEN and PIK3CA leading to biochemical pathway changes in RUNX Signaling, Vitamin D Signaling, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Small Molecule Transport. A cancer treatment like Anastrozole 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, Beta-sitosterol supplements should be considered for Endometrial Carcinoma along with treatment Anastrozole. Beta-sitosterol supplement impacts pathways/processes like RUNX Signaling and Vitamin D Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Endometrial Carcinoma and/or improve Anastrozole 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 Beta-sitosterol 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 Apoptosis, 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. Beta-sitosterol should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of TERT for Hematological Cancer. Beta-sitosterol impacts pathways/processes like Apoptosis and RUNX Signaling and creates adverse effects with TERT and related conditions.
4. Are Beta-sitosterol Supplements Safe for Healthy Individuals with TP53 Mutation Associated Genetic Risk?
TP53 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. TP53 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Stem Cell Signaling, TGFB Signaling and Autophagy to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Consider taking Beta-sitosterol supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in TP53 for Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer. Beta-sitosterol impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and creates a supportive effect in those with TP53 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 Beta-sitosterol, 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.