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For Which Cancers Should I Avoid Ginkgo Biloba Supplement?

Nov 13, 2022

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Highlights

Nutritional supplements and extracts like Ginkgo Biloba have benefits and are used by cancer patients and those at-genetic risk of cancer. There is limited or hardly any clinical data available for use of nutritional supplements and foods in cancer patients. Generating clinical evidence of efficacy for cancer through a randomized clinical trial is further infeasible due to variations in genetics and cancer chemotherapy treatments across cancer patients. Hence a different and new approach is needed to find out for which cancers you should not take Ginkgo Biloba supplement and why should not take them?

Is it okay to take Ginkgo Biloba extracts or supplements for all cancer indications and any chemotherapy treatment? A common belief but a myth is that everything natural can only be of benefit and do no harm. For example, the use of grapefruit with certain medications is not recommended. Another example is the use of spinach with some blood thinning medications can cause adverse interactions and hence to be avoided. For cancer, nutrition including plant-based foods and supplements can influence outcomes and hence an extremely important decision which needs to be made. Hence NIH-National Cancer Institute has a website for nutrition for cancer care for patients which are generalized recommendations and not personalized for cancer indication and treatments.

A frequently asked question by cancer patients and those at-risk is “What Foods and Nutritional Supplements could be beneficial over others for me?”. “Who should not take an extract or supplement and why?”. Generic guidelines like eating only plant-based-foods or avoiding all sugar or adopting a keto diet is a good start but not actionable and personalized enough.

To find answers to questions on extracts and nutritional supplements and foods requires knowledge of contained active ingredients; genetic mutation prevalence for cancer indication; understanding of underlying cancer biology; chemotherapy treatments and mechanism of actions of active ingredients.

Taking Ginkgo Biloba extracts or nutritional supplements may benefit Primary Hodgkin Lymphoma patients on Bleomycin treatment over Coriander nutritional supplements. But Ginkgo Biloba supplements or Ginkgo Biloba extracts offer less benefit if on Radiation treatment for Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma compared to Calcium D-glucarate. Similarly, taking nutritional supplements Ginkgo Biloba may benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene JAK2 over Maitake Mushroom. But avoid nutritional supplements Ginkgo Biloba when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MEN1.

The takeaway being – cancer, genomics, treatments and other personalized factors will influence decision making to questions like: Are extracts or nutritional supplements Ginkgo Biloba beneficial and should not be taken? Why should Ginkgo Biloba be not taken? Who should not take Ginkgo Biloba? What are side effects of Ginkgo Biloba with Radiation chemotherapy? What are the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba for cancer? Can Ginkgo Biloba help fight cancer and so on.

Whenever there are changes in chemotherapy treatments or cancer tissue genetics – the nutrition may change and hence needs to be re-evaluated. Do consider factors like cancer indication, ongoing chemotherapy treatments and nutritional supplements, age, gender, weight, height, lifestyle and genetics for personalization of nutrition.



Brief Overview

Use of 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. Difference between supplements and foods being that foods contain more than one active ingredient at much lower concentrations. Every active ingredient in an extract or nutritional supplement or food has a unique mechanism of action which can influence nutrition decisions.

Ginkgo Biloba supplement benefits for cancer patients

These are some example questions which nutrition planning should help answer for you. Should you take supplements Ginkgo Biloba? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene JAK2? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MEN1? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Hodgkin Lymphoma? Should you take it when on Bleomycin treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Bleomycin to Radiation? So a general explanation like – it is organic and plant-based or it increases immunity is not sufficient information for making a decision of use of Ginkgo Biloba extracts and nutritional supplements.

Cancer

Genetic variations across cancer patients can be different and hence no two cancers are alike. The improved availability of “personalized to genetics” chemotherapy treatments and cancer disease monitoring via blood and saliva have been significant factors to improve outcomes. The earlier the lifestyle and treatment intervention – the better the influence on outcome. Genetic testing has the potential to assess cancer risk and susceptibility early. But for at-risk individuals besides regular monitoring in most cases there are no therapeutic treatment intervention options available. After diagnosis with cancer such as Primary Hodgkin Lymphoma or Primary Urethral Squamous Cell 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 on next steps. A large majority of cancer patients and those at-risk may take nutritional supplements like Ginkgo Biloba.

So the question is that are all genetic risks and cancer indications to be considered uniformly when making decisions on the use of Ginkgo Biloba extracts or nutritional supplements? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene JAK2 the same as due to mutation of gene MEN1? Are the implications of Primary Hodgkin Lymphoma the same as Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Radiation or Bleomycin?

Ginkgo Biloba – An Extract or Nutritional Supplement

Ginkgo Biloba supplements contain many active ingredients including Glucaric Acid, Myricetin, Vanillic Acid, Stigmasterol and Rutin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Ginkgo Biloba include MYC Signaling, DNA Repair, Oncogenic Histone Methylation and Cytokine Signaling. These biochemical pathways directly or indirectly regulate specific cancer molecular endpoints like growth, spread and death of cancer cells. Because of this biological regulation – for cancer nutrition, the right choice of supplements like Ginkgo Biloba individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Ginkgo Biloba over other nutritional supplements – do consider all these factors.

Who Should not take Ginkgo Biloba Supplements and Why?

There is no easy way to answer the question “For which cancers should I not chooseGinkgo Biloba nutritional supplements”. Just like the same chemotherapy treatment does not work across patients, for similar reasons Ginkgo Biloba in comparison with other nutritional supplements may be beneficial or not. Along with which cancer and associated genetics – the ongoing treatments, lifestyle habits, height, weight and food allergies are all factors in deciding if Ginkgo Biloba should be avoided or not and why.

1. Will Ginkgo Biloba Supplements benefit Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma patients undergoing Radiation treatment?

Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like BLM, BRCA1 and CTCF leading to biochemical pathway changes in Androgen Signaling and DNA Repair. A cancer treatment like Radiation 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, Ginkgo Biloba supplement should not be taken for Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma along with treatment Radiation. Ginkgo Biloba supplement impacts the biochemical pathway called DNA Repair which either promotes drivers of the disease and/or nullifies 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

2. Will Ginkgo Biloba Supplements benefit Primary Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients undergoing Bleomycin Treatment?

Primary Hodgkin Lymphoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like ARID1A, ARID5B and B2M leading to biochemical pathway changes in MYC Signaling, Androgen Signaling, Chromatin Remodeling, Suppressive Histone Methylation and Antigen Presentation. A cancer treatment like Bleomycin 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 supports treatment action or improves the overlap should be considered. As an example, Ginkgo Biloba supplements should be considered for Primary Hodgkin Lymphoma along with the treatment Bleomycin. Ginkgo Biloba supplement impacts pathways/processes like MYC Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Primary Hodgkin Lymphoma and/or improve Bleomycin treatment effect.

Science of Right Personalized Nutrition for Cancer

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. What about Ginkgo Biloba Supplements for Healthy Individuals with MEN1 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. MEN1 is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.

MEN1 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Oncogenic Histone Methylation to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Ginkgo Biloba should not be taken when the genetic panel identifies mutation of MEN1 for Neuroendocrine Cancer. Ginkgo Biloba impacts pathways/processes like Oncogenic Histone Methylation and creates adverse conditions with MEN1.

4. What about Ginkgo Biloba Supplements for Healthy Individuals with JAK2 Mutation associated Genetic Risk?

JAK2 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. JAK2 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Cytokine Signaling, JAK-STAT Signaling and Immune Checkpoints to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Ginkgo Biloba supplements may be considered when the genetic panel identifies mutations in JAK2 for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Ginkgo Biloba impacts pathways/processes like Cytokine Signaling and creates a canceling effect in those individuals with JAK2 mutation.

* Other Factors are also included like BMI, Treatments, Lifestyle Habits

In Conclusion

It is important to remember that cancer chemotherapy treatments and nutrition are never the same for everyone. Food and nutritional supplements like Ginkgo Biloba are chosen by you and can influence outcomes.

“What should I eat?” is a commonly asked question by cancer patients and those at-risk. The answer to this question depends on cancer indication, underlying genetics, current chemotherapy treatments, food allergies, lifestyle information, and food preferences.

The addon.life approach to nutrition personalization uses knowledge of active ingredients contained in foods and nutritional supplements, cancer biology, chemotherapy treatment action and genetic mutation prevalence across cancer indications. addon.life team of clinicians, clinical scientists and engineers are experts in cancer biology focusing only on nutrition personalization for cancer patients and those at-risk.

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.

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References

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.


Scientifically Reviewed by: Dr. Cogle

Christopher R. Cogle, M.D. is a tenured professor at the University of Florida, Chief Medical Officer of Florida Medicaid, and Director of the Florida Health Policy Leadership Academy at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

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