Nutritional supplements and extracts like Ashwagandha 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 Ashwagandha supplement and why should not take them?
Is it okay to take Ashwagandha 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 Ashwagandha extracts or nutritional supplements may benefit Primary Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma patients on Cisplatin treatment over Thyme nutritional supplements. But Ashwagandha supplements or Ashwagandha extracts offer less benefit if on Abemaciclib treatment for Primary Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma compared to Vitamin B3. Similarly, taking nutritional supplements Ashwagandha may benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene MYC over Barberry. But avoid nutritional supplements Ashwagandha when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene ATM.
The takeaway being – cancer, genomics, treatments and other personalized factors will influence decision making to questions like: Are extracts or nutritional supplements Ashwagandha beneficial and should not be taken? Why should Ashwagandha be not taken? Who should not take Ashwagandha? What are side effects of Ashwagandha with Abemaciclib chemotherapy? What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for cancer? Can Ashwagandha 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 Ashwagandha? 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 ATM? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma? Should you take it when on Cisplatin treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Cisplatin to Abemaciclib? 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 Ashwagandha 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 Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma or Primary Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma, 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 Ashwagandha.
So the question is that are all genetic risks and cancer indications to be considered uniformly when making decisions on the use of Ashwagandha 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 ATM? Are the implications of Primary Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma the same as Primary Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Abemaciclib or Cisplatin?
Ashwagandha – An Extract or Nutritional Supplement
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known commonly as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry and winter cherry, is an evergreen shrub with yellow flowers, native to India and North Africa. The roots and the orange-red coloured fruits of ashwagandha have been used traditionally in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years and are considered to have medicinal properties. Following are some of the potential health benefits of Ashwagandha:
- May help reduce blood sugar (B Andallu and B Radhika, Indian J Exp Biol., 2000)
- May help reduce stress, depression and anxiety (K Chandrasekhar et al, Indian J Psychol Med., 2012)
- May help improve brain and cognitive functions (Dnyanraj Choudhary et al, J Diet Suppl., 2017)
- May help reduce bad cholesterol (B Andallu and B Radhika, Indian J Exp Biol., 2000)
- May strengthen muscle activity (Ashwinikumar A Raut et al, J Ayurveda Integr Med., 2012)
- May have anti-inflammatory effects (Abudubari Sikandan et al, Int J Mol Med., 2018)
- May have diuretic effects (B Andallu and B Radhika, Indian J Exp Biol., 2000)
- May help boost fertility in men (Abbas Ali Mahdi et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2009)
Ashwagandha supplements contain many active ingredients including Withaferin A at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Ashwagandha include DNA Repair, Cell Cycle Checkpoints and Vitamin D 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 Ashwagandha individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Ashwagandha over other nutritional supplements – do consider all these factors.
Who Should not take Ashwagandha Supplements and Why?
There is no easy way to answer the question “For which cancers should I not chooseAshwagandha nutritional supplements”. Just like the same chemotherapy treatment does not work across patients, for similar reasons Ashwagandha 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 Ashwagandha should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Ashwagandha Supplements benefit Primary Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma patients undergoing Abemaciclib treatment?
Primary Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like TP53, IDH1 and TERT leading to biochemical pathway changes in Cell Cycle Checkpoints, Apoptosis, Oncogenic Cancer Epigenetics and Glutathione Metabolism. A cancer treatment like Abemaciclib 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, Ashwagandha supplement should not be taken for Primary Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma along with treatment Abemaciclib. Ashwagandha supplement impacts the biochemical pathway called Cell Cycle Checkpoints 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 Ashwagandha Supplements benefit Primary Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients undergoing Cisplatin Treatment?
Primary Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like ABRAXAS1, PIK3CB and NUP93 leading to biochemical pathway changes in DNA Repair, Hematopoiesis and Inositol Phosphate Signaling. A cancer treatment like Cisplatin 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, Ashwagandha supplements should be considered for Primary Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma along with the treatment Cisplatin. Ashwagandha supplement impacts pathways/processes like DNA Repair which either obstruct drivers of Primary Penile Squamous Cell Carcinoma and/or improve Cisplatin 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 Ashwagandha Supplements for Healthy Individuals with ATM 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. ATM is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
ATM mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints and DNA Repair to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Ashwagandha should not be taken when the genetic panel identifies mutation of ATM for Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia. Ashwagandha impacts pathways/processes like Cell Cycle Checkpoints and creates adverse conditions with ATM.
4. What about Ashwagandha 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 Vitamin D Signaling, Antigen Presentation, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Amino Acid Metabolism to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Ashwagandha supplements may be considered when the genetic panel identifies mutations in MYC for Burkitt Lymphoma. Ashwagandha impacts pathways/processes like Vitamin D Signaling 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 Ashwagandha 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.
- PD 0332991, a selective cyclin D kinase 4/6 inhibitor, preferentially inhibits proliferation of luminal estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer cell lines in vitro.
- Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Withaferin A: Potential in Integrative Oncology.
- Withaferin A induces p53-dependent apoptosis by repression of HPV oncogenes and upregulation of tumor suppressor proteins in human cervical cancer cells.
- RNA interferences targeting the Fanconi anemia/BRCA pathway upstream genes reverse cisplatin resistance in drug-resistant lung cancer cells.
- Mutational landscape of metastatic cancer revealed from prospective clinical sequencing of 10,000 patients.
- Impeding the single-strand annealing pathway of DNA double-strand break repair by withaferin A-mediated FANCA degradation.
- Withaferin A inhibits the proteasome activity in mesothelioma in vitro and in vivo.
- cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics
- Cancer therapy shapes the fitness landscape of clonal hematopoiesis.
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.