Nutritional supplements and extracts like Willow 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 Willow supplement and why should not take them?
Is it okay to take Willow 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 Willow extracts or nutritional supplements may benefit Primary Myxofibrosarcoma patients on Docetaxel treatment over Garlic nutritional supplements. But Willow supplements or Willow extracts offer less benefit if on Radiation treatment for Primary Adamantinoma compared to Ginger. Similarly, taking nutritional supplements Willow may benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MYC over Soy Bean. But avoid nutritional supplements Willow when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene GNAQ.
The takeaway being – cancer, genomics, treatments and other personalized factors will influence decision making to questions like: Are extracts or nutritional supplements Willow beneficial and should not be taken? Why should Willow be not taken? Who should not take Willow? What are side effects of Willow with Radiation chemotherapy? What are the benefits of Willow for cancer? Can Willow 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.
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.
These are some example questions which nutrition planning should help answer for you. Should you take supplements Willow? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene MYC? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene GNAQ? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Adamantinoma? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Myxofibrosarcoma? Should you take it when on Docetaxel treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Docetaxel 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 Willow extracts and nutritional supplements.
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 Myxofibrosarcoma or Primary Adamantinoma, 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 Willow.
So the question is that are all genetic risks and cancer indications to be considered uniformly when making decisions on the use of Willow extracts or nutritional supplements? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene MYC the same as due to mutation of gene GNAQ? Are the implications of Primary Myxofibrosarcoma the same as Primary Adamantinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Radiation or Docetaxel?
Willow – An Extract or Nutritional Supplement
Willow is a tree with many of the varieties native to the United Kingdom. The willow bark contains active ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties. It has been traditionally used and recognized for its ability to relieve pain, fever and inflammation. It is available in the form of bark, dietary supplements/capsules, liquid and tea. Following are some of the purported uses/potential health benefits of Willow.
- May be used as an analgesic or painkiller – may help relieve headache, menstrual cramps, joint pain, muscle pain
- May be used to reduce inflammation – arthritis, gout, and spondylitis.
- May aid in weight loss
However, children, pregnant or nursing women or those who have sensitivity to aspirin should avoid taking willow supplements. (Hellen A Oketch-Rabah et al, Planta Med., 2019)
Willow supplements contain many active ingredients including Salicin and Salicylic Acid at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Willow include Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, G-protein-coupled Receptor Signaling and Cell Cycle. 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 Willow individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Willow over other nutritional supplements – do consider all these factors.
Who Should not take Willow Supplements and Why?
There is no easy way to answer the question “For which cancers should I not chooseWillow nutritional supplements”. Just like the same chemotherapy treatment does not work across patients, for similar reasons Willow 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 Willow should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Willow Supplements benefit Primary Adamantinoma patients undergoing Radiation treatment?
Primary Adamantinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like ARHGAP45, PI4KB and SDSL leading to biochemical pathway changes in Oxidative Stress and Inositol Phosphate Signaling. 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, Willow supplement should not be taken for Primary Adamantinoma along with treatment Radiation. Willow supplement impacts the biochemical pathway called Oxidative Stress 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 Willow Supplements benefit Primary Myxofibrosarcoma Patients undergoing Docetaxel Treatment?
Primary Myxofibrosarcoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53, TERT and MUC16 leading to biochemical pathway changes in Inflammation, Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Apoptosis and Post Translation Modification. 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 supports treatment action or improves the overlap should be considered. As an example, Willow supplements should be considered for Primary Myxofibrosarcoma along with the treatment Docetaxel. Willow supplement impacts pathways/processes like Inflammation which either obstruct drivers of Primary Myxofibrosarcoma 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. What about Willow Supplements for Healthy Individuals with GNAQ 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. GNAQ is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
GNAQ mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like G-protein-coupled Receptor Signaling, MAPK Signaling and Reproductive Hormone Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Willow should not be taken when the genetic panel identifies mutation of GNAQ for Eye Cancer. Willow impacts pathways/processes like G-protein-coupled Receptor Signaling and creates adverse conditions with GNAQ.
4. What about Willow Supplements for Healthy Individuals with MYC Mutation associated Genetic Risk?
MYC is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. MYC mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Cell Cycle, Antigen Presentation, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Amino Acid Metabolism to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Willow supplements may be considered when the genetic panel identifies mutations in MYC for Burkitt Lymphoma. Willow impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle and creates a canceling effect in those individuals with MYC mutation.
* Other Factors are also included like BMI, Treatments, Lifestyle Habits
It is important to remember that cancer chemotherapy treatments and nutrition are never the same for everyone. Food and nutritional supplements like Willow 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.
- Salicin from Alangium chinense Ameliorates Rheumatoid Arthritis by Modulating the Nrf2-HO-1-ROS Pathways.
- Inhibition of Hsp90 augments docetaxel therapy in castrate resistant prostate cancer.
- Pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes.
- cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics
- Salicylic acid metabolites and derivatives inhibit CDK activity: Novel insights into aspirin’s chemopreventive effects against colorectal cancer.
- Cell-of-Origin Patterns Dominate the Molecular Classification of 10,000 Tumors from 33 Types of Cancer.
- Role of KEAP1/NRF2 and TP53 Mutations in Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma Development and Radiation Resistance.
- Salicin, an extract from white willow bark, inhibits angiogenesis by blocking the ROS-ERK pathways.
- cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics
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.