Nutritional supplements like Bromelain 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 Bromelain 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 Bromelain supplements can benefit cancer patients with Stomach Adenocarcinoma on Docetaxel treatment. But avoid Bromelain supplements if on Imatinib treatment for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML). Similarly, taking nutritional supplement Bromelain can benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene TP53. But avoid taking nutritional supplement Bromelain 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 Bromelain 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 Bromelain based on individual context and conditions.
So the question is should you take supplement Bromelain? 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 Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)? Should you take Bromelain supplements when diagnosed with Stomach Adenocarcinoma? Should you take it when on Imatinib treatment? Should you continue taking Bromelain supplements if you change your treatment from Imatinib to Docetaxel? So a general explanation like – it is natural or it increases immunity may not be acceptable and sufficient for choosing Bromelain.
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 Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) or Stomach Adenocarcinoma, 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 Bromelain.
So the question is that are all genetic mutation risks and types of cancers to be considered as one when deciding the use of Bromelain? 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 Bromelain supplements in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) the same as Stomach Adenocarcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment Imatinib or on Docetaxel?
Bromelain – A Nutritional Supplement
Bromelain is a mixture of protein digesting enzymes, obtained from the fruits or stem of pineapple. It is also available in the form of dietary supplements. It is considered to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and analgesic properties. Following are some of the potential health benefits of bromelain supplements :
- May help reduce allergic airway diseases and inflammatory conditions like asthma, sinusitis and bronchitis (Eric R Secor Jr et al, Cell Immunol., 2005; Rajendra Pavan et al, Biotechnol Res Int., 2012)
- May help reduce cardiovascular disease (Rajendra Pavan et al, Biotechnol Res Int., 2012)
- May help reduce colitis symptoms (Zijuan Zhou et al, Front Immunol., 2017)
- May help reduce osteoarthritis pain (Hira Naeem et al, Pak J Pharm Sci., 2020)
However, excess intake of bromelain supplements may lead to certain side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and severe menstrual bleeding. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Bromelain include Apoptosis, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Angiogenesis and PI3K-AKT-MTOR 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 Bromelain individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Bromelain for cancer – do consider all these factors and explanations. Because just as true for cancer treatments – Bromelain use cannot be a one-size-fits-all decision for all types of cancers.
Choosing Bromelain Supplements for Your Cancer
The reason there is no easy way to answer the question “When should I avoid Bromelain for Cancer” is because “It Depends!”. Just like the same treatment does not work for every cancer patient, based on your individual context the Bromelain 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 Bromelain should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Bromelain Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) undergoing Imatinib treatment?
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like BCR-ABL1 and RUNX1 leading to specific biochemical pathway changes. A cancer treatment like Imatinib 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, Bromelain supplements should be avoided for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) along with treatment Imatinib. Bromelain supplement 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 Bromelain Supplements benefit Cancer Patients with Stomach Adenocarcinoma undergoing Docetaxel Treatment?
Stomach Adenocarcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53 and MUC16 leading to specific biochemical pathway changes. A cancer treatment like Docetaxel 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, Bromelain supplements should be considered for Stomach Adenocarcinoma along with treatment Docetaxel. Bromelain supplement impacts specific pathways which either obstruct drivers of Stomach Adenocarcinoma and/or improve Docetaxel 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 Bromelain 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. Bromelain should be avoided when the genetic panel identifies mutation of TERT for Hematological Cancer. Bromelain impacts pathways/processes like Apoptosis and RUNX Signaling and creates adverse effects with TERT and related conditions.
4. Are Bromelain 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 Bromelain supplements when the genetic panel identifies mutation in TP53 for Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer. Bromelain 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 Bromelain, 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.