Nutritional supplements and extracts like Licorice 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 Licorice supplement and why should not take them?
Is it okay to take Licorice 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 Licorice extracts or nutritional supplements may benefit Primary Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance patients on Lenalidomide treatment over Banaba nutritional supplements. But Licorice supplements or Licorice extracts offer less benefit if on Radiation treatment for Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma compared to Glehnia. Similarly, taking nutritional supplements Licorice may benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene FLT3 over Coconut. But avoid nutritional supplements Licorice when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene BMPR1A.
The takeaway being – cancer, genomics, treatments and other personalized factors will influence decision making to questions like: Are extracts or nutritional supplements Licorice beneficial and should not be taken? Why should Licorice be not taken? Who should not take Licorice? What are side effects of Licorice with Radiation chemotherapy? What are the benefits of Licorice for cancer? Can Licorice 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 Licorice? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene FLT3? Should you take it when at genetic risk of cancer for mutation of gene BMPR1A? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance? Should you take it when on Lenalidomide treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Lenalidomide 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 Licorice 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 Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance 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 Licorice.
So the question is that are all genetic risks and cancer indications to be considered uniformly when making decisions on the use of Licorice extracts or nutritional supplements? Are the biochemical pathway implications of genetic risk for cancer due to mutation of gene FLT3 the same as due to mutation of gene BMPR1A? Are the implications of Primary Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance the same as Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Radiation or Lenalidomide?
Licorice – An Extract or Nutritional Supplement
Licorice is a herbal plant which is native to Asia and Europe. Licorice is usually used as a flavoring agent. The root of licorice has medicinal properties. Licorice is considered the “Father of Herbal Medicine”. (Mikkel R. Deutch et al, Foods., 2019) Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is the most preferred form. The health benefits of consuming Licorice are:
- Has antiviral and antibacterial properties (Liqiang Wang et al, Acta Pharm Sin B., 2015)
- Possesses anti-inflammatory effect. (Rui Yang et al, Pharm Biol. 2017)
- May be used in treatment of skin problems like atopical dermatitis (M Saeedi et al, J Dermatolog Treat. 2003)
- May be beneficial effect gastric conditions like acid reflux and indigestion (Kadur Ramamurthy Raveendra et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012)
- May have protective effect against Gastrointestinal ulcer. (Ghader Jalilzadeh-Amin at al, Iran J Pharm Res. 2015)
- Helps in relieving respiratory issues like asthma and throat infections ( Nan Yang et al, Phytother Res. 2013 Sep; 27(9): 1381–1391, Niluni M. Wijesundara et al, Biomedicines. 2019)
- Possesses anticancer effect ( Ann M Bode et al, Curr Pharmacol Rep., 2015 ; Haixia Zhao, Toxicol Appl Pharmacol., 2014)
Licorice supplements contain many active ingredients including Glabridin, Enoxolone and Isoliquiritigenin at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Licorice include RAS-RAF Signaling, DNA Repair, TGFB Signaling and MAPK 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 Licorice individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Licorice over other nutritional supplements – do consider all these factors.
Who Should not take Licorice Supplements and Why?
There is no easy way to answer the question “For which cancers should I not chooseLicorice nutritional supplements”. Just like the same chemotherapy treatment does not work across patients, for similar reasons Licorice 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 Licorice should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Licorice 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, Licorice supplement should not be taken for Primary Urethral Squamous Cell Carcinoma along with treatment Radiation. Licorice 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 Licorice Supplements benefit Primary Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance Patients undergoing Lenalidomide Treatment?
Primary Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like LATS2, ZMYM2 and CDK8 leading to biochemical pathway changes in RAS-RAF Signaling and Hippo Signaling. A cancer treatment like Lenalidomide 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, Licorice supplements should be considered for Primary Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance along with the treatment Lenalidomide. Licorice supplement impacts pathways/processes like RAS-RAF Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Primary Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and/or improve Lenalidomide 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 Licorice Supplements for Healthy Individuals with BMPR1A 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. BMPR1A is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
BMPR1A mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like TGFB Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Licorice should not be taken when the genetic panel identifies mutation of BMPR1A for Colon Cancer. Licorice impacts pathways/processes like TGFB Signaling and creates adverse conditions with BMPR1A.
4. What about Licorice Supplements for Healthy Individuals with FLT3 Mutation associated Genetic Risk?
FLT3 is one of the genes available in panels for cancer risk testing. FLT3 mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like JAK-STAT Signaling, MAPK Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Licorice supplements may be considered when the genetic panel identifies mutations in FLT3 for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Licorice impacts pathways/processes like MAPK Signaling and creates a canceling effect in those individuals with FLT3 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 Licorice 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.
- Targeted sequencing of refractory myeloma reveals a high incidence of mutations in CRBN and Ras pathway genes.
- Shp2 protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor activity of estramustine phosphate and its triterpenoid analogs.
- Mutational landscape of metastatic cancer revealed from prospective clinical sequencing of 10,000 patients.
- Comparative evaluation of two structurally related flavonoids, isoliquiritigenin and liquiritigenin, for their oral infection therapeutic potential.
- BRCA1 expression restores radiation resistance in BRCA1-defective cancer cells through enhancement of transcription-coupled DNA repair.
- 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.