Nutritional supplements and extracts like Bitter Melon 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 Bitter Melon supplement and why should not take them?
Is it okay to take Bitter Melon 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 Bitter Melon extracts or nutritional supplements may benefit Primary Cervical Neuroendocrine Tumor patients on Cisplatin treatment over Oregano nutritional supplements. But Bitter Melon supplements or Bitter Melon extracts offer less benefit if on Radiation treatment for Primary Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma compared to Guggul. Similarly, taking nutritional supplements Bitter Melon may benefit healthy individuals who are at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene JAK2 over Goldenseal. But avoid nutritional supplements Bitter Melon when at genetic risk of cancer due to mutation of gene RET.
The takeaway being – cancer, genomics, treatments and other personalized factors will influence decision making to questions like: Are extracts or nutritional supplements Bitter Melon beneficial and should not be taken? Why should Bitter Melon be not taken? Who should not take Bitter Melon? What are side effects of Bitter Melon with Radiation chemotherapy? What are the benefits of Bitter Melon for cancer? Can Bitter Melon 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 Bitter Melon? 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 RET? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma? Should you take it when diagnosed with Primary Cervical Neuroendocrine Tumor? Should you take it when on Cisplatin treatment? Should you continue taking it if you change your treatment from Cisplatin 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 Bitter Melon 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 Cervical Neuroendocrine Tumor or Primary Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma, 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 Bitter Melon.
So the question is that are all genetic risks and cancer indications to be considered uniformly when making decisions on the use of Bitter Melon 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 RET? Are the implications of Primary Cervical Neuroendocrine Tumor the same as Primary Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma? Is it one and the same if you are on treatment with Radiation or Cisplatin?
Bitter Melon – An Extract or Nutritional Supplement
Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, is a fruit-like gourd, native to tropical India and Southeast Asia. As the name suggests, it has a bitter flavor. It is highly nutritious as it contains many antioxidants, flavonoids and other nutrients. It is widely consumed as a fruit or vegetable, mostly due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and immunomodulating effects. Following are some of the potential health benefits of Bitter melon:
- May help reduce blood sugar
- May help in weight loss
- May help reduce cholesterol
- May help in wound healing
Bitter Melon supplements contain many active ingredients including Vitamin C, Palmitic Acid, Oleic Acid and Citric Acid at different concentration levels. The molecular pathways which are regulated by Bitter Melon include P53 Signaling, TGFB Signaling, EPHRIN Signaling 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 Bitter Melon individually or in combination is an important decision to be made. When making decisions on the use of supplement Bitter Melon over other nutritional supplements – do consider all these factors.
Who Should not take Bitter Melon Supplements and Why?
There is no easy way to answer the question “For which cancers should I not chooseBitter Melon nutritional supplements”. Just like the same chemotherapy treatment does not work across patients, for similar reasons Bitter Melon 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 Bitter Melon should be avoided or not and why.
1. Will Bitter Melon Supplements benefit Primary Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma patients undergoing Radiation treatment?
Primary Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like PBRM1, ATRX and PIK3C2G leading to biochemical pathway changes in TGFB Signaling 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, Bitter Melon supplement should not be taken for Primary Sclerosing Epithelioid Fibrosarcoma along with treatment Radiation. Bitter Melon supplement impacts the biochemical pathway called TGFB Signaling 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 Bitter Melon Supplements benefit Primary Cervical Neuroendocrine Tumor Patients undergoing Cisplatin Treatment?
Primary Cervical Neuroendocrine Tumor is characterized and driven by specific genetic mutations like ABHD6, STOX1 and PDZD4 leading to biochemical pathway changes in P53 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, Bitter Melon supplements should be considered for Primary Cervical Neuroendocrine Tumor along with the treatment Cisplatin. Bitter Melon supplement impacts pathways/processes like P53 Signaling which either obstruct drivers of Primary Cervical Neuroendocrine Tumor 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 Bitter Melon Supplements for Healthy Individuals with RET 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. RET is one of the genes generally available in panels for cancer risk testing.
RET mutation causes biochemical pathways/processes like EPHRIN Signaling and Growth Factor Signaling to get impacted. These pathways are direct or indirect drivers of cancer molecular endpoints. Bitter Melon should not be taken when the genetic panel identifies mutation of RET for Thyroid Cancer. Bitter Melon impacts pathways/processes like EPHRIN Signaling and creates adverse conditions with RET.
4. What about Bitter Melon 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. Bitter Melon supplements may be considered when the genetic panel identifies mutations in JAK2 for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Bitter Melon 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
It is important to remember that cancer chemotherapy treatments and nutrition are never the same for everyone. Food and nutritional supplements like Bitter Melon 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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- Integrative clinical genomics of metastatic cancer.
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.