Xu Hướng 2/2023 # Curcumin, Or Turmeric, As A Natural Cancer Treatment # Top 7 View | Hoisinhvienqnam.edu.vn

Xu Hướng 2/2023 # Curcumin, Or Turmeric, As A Natural Cancer Treatment # Top 7 View

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Curcumin is the main bioactive phenol derived from the turmeric root (curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae); it is probably the most researched compound in health being known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties.

“No cancer has been found, to my knowledge, that is not affected by curcumin”. (Professor Bharat Aggarwal, Biochemist, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas).

Curcuminhas many serious fans in the fight to beat cancer – Professors at UCLA, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Emory School of Medicine and Tufts to name but four important American Cancer Centers. Why? It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that is also anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. It has great potential to fight cancer in a number of ways and below we list those.

Curcumin is the most researched anti-cancer compound – it can be used as a complementary and integrative therapy or as an alternative cancer therapy. It protects healthy cells from chemotherapy damage, but attacks cancer cells and makes many chemotherapy drugs actually work better. It is already used in some American hospitals as a Complementary and Integrative (CIM) medicine against colorectal cancer after operations.

It can even work on its own against cancer. Doses of 3.2 gm a day have been shown to be very effective at managing smouldering Multiple Myeloma. We have had two Personal Prescription patients at stage 4, grade 4 use 8 gm of turmeric alongside Hyperbaric Oxygen with quite staggering results. We know of a number of others who have used this ‘formula’ with success.

Go to: Hyperbaric Oxygen and curcumin stabilises woman’s Grade 4, Stage 4 cancer

All people wishing to build an anti-cancer programme should think seriously about including at least a gram a day of curcumin within it.

What’s the difference between turmeric and curcumin?

Cucumin is between 2 and 5% of the turmeric root. It is a curcuminoid and this is a polyphenol. There are approximately 500 polyphenols existing in nature all known for their health benefits.

Go to: Polyphenols – Top foods for Health

This vivid yellow to brown spice was used, like many Asian spices and chillies, to hide the taste of stronger tasting meats and fish; even those that might have gone off in such hot climates. Like many such spices, it also performed a necessary and functional role – it was a cleanser and a pathogen-killer in the stomach and gut, protecting against such tainted foods!

The next issue is absorption: Curcumin and turmeric supplements provide good amounts but both are difficult to absorb into the blood stream from the gut. Absorption can be helped particularly by fats and oils forming ‘liposomes’ (fat bubbles) around the molecules which help take the molecule of turmeric or cucumin across the gut wall. Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper also helps but also piperine greatly amplifies the actions of curcumin.

Many people who practice Ayurvedic medicine will know that you peel and dry the root then powder it. Put the powder into a pot, add extra virgin olive oil and black pepper and mix to a paste. Keep it in the ‘fridge. This is Golden Turmeric and renowned for its health-giving properties.

The American Cancer Society urges people to make Golden Turmeric and then take a tablespoon of it, add more oil, and drink.

Aggarwal recommended 3.2 gm per day – that’s the same level as is used to hold smouldering Multiple Myeloma.

So is curcumin a cure for cancer? There is anecdotal evidence of people only using curcumin (and we have had examples) and beating their cancer and the British Medical Journal have pledged to investigate, what is exciting the experts in cancer centers in America is that it can play a role against many of the steps in the cancer process. As such it would seem stupid to ignore it as a part of an Integrative or holistic cancer treatment programme.

The anti-cancer action of curcumin:

Importantly, the spice can restrict the action of the enzyme COX-2, known to increase chronic inflammation in the body. Such inflammation is a known precursor to cancer and other chronic illnesses; it also helps cancer spread.

Curcumin has also been shown to inhibit vascular epithelial growth factors. Every tumour needs a blood supply – the growth factors build one, but curcumin has been shown to stop them.

Curcumin has been shown to ‘re-awaken’ a key tumour suppressor gene.

Curcumin has been shown to inhibit metastases.

Curcumin has been shown to kill cancer cells (B lymphoma cells) in NHL.

Curcumin prevents regrowth of cancer stem cells, which lie at the heart of many tumours.

Curcumin can block glutaminase enzymes producing glutamate in prostate cancer, and help reduce PSA levels.

Go to: Three foods stop prostate cancer feeding

Curcumin can lower blood platelets thinning the blood. However, cancer uses platelets to form blood supplies, grow and spread.

Curcumin has been shown to increase the effectiveness of certain drugs, while inhibiting their toxicity to healthy cells

Go To: Chemotherapy effectiveness enhanced by curcumin

More research is being reported every month! And showing a wide variety of benefits. For example:

Milk thistle and curcumin are strongly effective against colorectal cancer cells

Curcumin reduces the risk of breast cancer caused by HRT

Curcumin works with chokeberry to kill brain cancer cells

Even the BBC produced a programme showing turmeric to greatly reduce DNA methylation and homocysteine levels in the body. Homocysteine build up causes methylation around the DNA, which means more histones blocking messages being produced. This is the core of the Science of Epigenetics, and is linked to illnesses from cancer to Alzheimer’s.

Curcumin has strong epigenetic anti-cancer benefits

In the journal ‘Genes and Nutrition’ (2011, 6(2) 93-108) the whole issue of ‘Epigenetics’ was analysed. It used to be thought that the genes in the nucleus of your cells controlled all aspects of your health and that mutation (sequence change) in the DNA in that nucleus led to chronic illness and cancer. This was the Somatic Theory of cancer. Note the word theory! The solution is the cut out the cancer or destroy the nucleus with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

This theory was brought into question by research from St. Jude’s hospital in 2003 where they took the nuclei from aggressive cancer cells and transplanted them into frog embryos. Instead of seeing an aggressive cancer grow, nothing happened.

The Epigenetic theory of cancer holds that your DNA sequences are controlled, activated or suppressed by the localised environment around (epi-) your genome. So environmental toxins, hormones and stress can affect cause or release blockages, as can natural compounds in food. More than 60 natural compounds including vitamin D, melatonin, fish oil omega-3, and sulforaphanes can have strong epi-genetic effects. Such ‘signalling pathways’ have also been shown to be affected by curcumin – curcumin has powerful epigenetic properties.

An example of this ‘signalling pathway’ modification came in research from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany in 2012 which showed that curcumin can inhibit the formation of metastases in both prostate and breast cancer. Both cancers spread throughout the body through the release of chemical messengers, pro-inflammatory cytokines CXCL1 and CXCL2, but curcumin alters the expression of these two damaging proteins.

Next, Cheryl Myers (head of Scientific Affairs and Education for EuroPharma Inc.) refers to curcumin as ‘the anti-cancer herb’ because of its success in stopping cancer formation, replication and spread. Research also shows that curcumin increases the activity of certain anti-cancer drugs whilst protecting healthy cells and organs. It has been proven to reduce systemic inflammation and oxidative stress.

Dr Young S. Kim leading a team at the National Cancer Institute in America showed that curcumin was one of the most important natural compounds that could prevent cancer stem cells from re-growing and re-forming the cancer tumour. Her conclusion even suggested patients should supplement!

The University of Missouri has shown curcumin can counter the dangerous effects of HRT and its link to breast cancer cause. “The results of the study show that women could potentially take curcumin to protect themselves from developing progestin-accelerated tumors,” said the lead researcher. Synthetic progestin increases VEGF a protein that helps form blood supplies to developing tumours. Curcumin inhibits VEGF and thus reduces the potential of breast cancer to grow.

Professor Bharat Aggarwal Ph. D. in MD Andersons Department of Therapeutics has conducted a number of studies, for example showing that in a Phase II clinical trial, pancreatic cancer patients having no chemotherapy, it reduced tumour size. He believes it is effective against many types of cancer because it suppresses angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels essential to a tumour). Indeed he goes further: “No cancer has been found, to my knowledge, which is not affected by curcumin,” Aggarwal says. “The reason curcumin is so effective against cancer is that it hits not just a single target or cell signalling pathway but dozens of targets implicated in cancer.”

The biggest fans seem to reside at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. From Cancer Watch April 2011 comes this note:

It has also been shown to have a strong synergistic effect against cancer with resveratrol, and also with EGCG in green tea.

Curcumin’s many health benefits

Curcumin first caught my attention when I read a research report on its ability to prevent the crossed wires of Alzheimer’s, through blocking a certain peptide forming. Therapeutic doses seem able to prevent, and also reverse, early stages of the disease. (My father had the disease, in case you wondered!). As I started to do my homework, I found clinical trials for all manner of illnesses from cystic fibrosis to reduction of risk in stomach and colorectal cancers.

Curcumin is the most researched compound in medicine! And new research is coming thick and fast. You will find the latest in Cancer Watch

Curcumin/turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a cleanser of the body. It appears to work at a number of levels:

1. It can inhibit unwanted bacterial action in the stomach and intestine:

2. It is a significant anti-inflammatory:

For example (i) , University of Chicago researchers have shown it inhibits Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium known to be responsible for stomach ulcers and some stomach cancers. In Ayurvedic medicine, curcumin was used in poultices for this same reason to kill unwanted bacteria.

3. It boosts crucial cellular glutathione levels:

Arachidonic acid is a precursor/stimulator of the production of bad eicosancids (see our reviews of omega 3 and vitamin D) and thus to inflammation, which is itself a precursor to certain cancers. Curcumin has been found to inhibit several of the pre-inflammatory enzymes (e.g. COX2 and iNOS) in vitro and in vivo with animals. Japanese research suggests it works in much the same way as salicylin. (ii)

4. It is a powerful antioxidant:

Glutathione is a crucial intracellular antioxidant, helping the cell maintain its correct oxygen levels and fight off the effects of stress hormones. Research has shown that curcumin can prevent the action of an enzyme that limits glutathione production.

5. It can help prevent liver damage

Turmeric extract tested more potent than garlic, omega 3 and cat’s claw (devil’s claw) said German research. (iii)

6. It can prevent and even ‘treat’ cancer:

2010 research from St Louis has shown that it can turn off a protein called Leptin, which causes liver damage. It has also been shown to be capable of detoxifying the liver. Thus curcumin may be of help in keeping the liver healthy during chemotherapy cancer treatments.(vii)

As we have covered above, curcumin can suppress tumour initiation, promotion and metastasis. Extensive research over the last 50 years has indicated it can prevent and treat cancer. The anti-cancer potential stems from its ability to control gene signalling, and affect a wide variety of tumour cells, down-regulate transcription factors, down-regulate enzymes such as COX-2 and other inflammatories, cytokines, chemokines, cell-surface adhesion molecules, down-regulate growth factors, etc., etc. (iv)

But, its not just MD Anderson that are fans:

Tufts have conducted research with breast cancer patients concluding that curcumin and isoflavanoids seem to inhibit the action of environmental oestrogens. (v)

UCLA have researched its potential with colorectal cancer (San Diego, Chauhen). And there are Clinical Trials underway (according to the Mayo Clinic to investigate curcumin as a way to prevent cancer in people with precancerous conditions, as a cancer treatment, and as a remedy for signs and symptoms caused by cancer treatments.

Kentucky University researchers report on its inhibition of B lymphoma cells. (vi)

Emory School of Medicine showed that it attacked Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors cutting the ability of tumours to generate their essential blood supply lines. Many drugs are being developed specifically to stop VEGF’s, but this common spice already does the job

Memorial Sloan-Kettering (New York) even offered that ‘green tea spiced with curcumin was a double anti-cancer beater’!

There are a dozen or more studies where curcumin has caused cell death in cancer cells; and even more where it prevents tumours forming a blood supply.

However as always, some things seem too good to be true; and despite the euphoria of major hospitals in the USA, a few words of realism have to be added.

Firstly, much of the work original used cell cultures. Increasingly studies use a variety of animals, and there have been human trials, even clinical trials, primarily with cervical cancer lesions and with gastrointestinal cancers. So, although the biochemical knowledge is vast, the use of oral curcumin to prevent and treat cancer is still in its infancy.

Next, there is a problem maintaining effectiveness inside the cells; there are several studies that show oral consumption needs to be maintained in order to maintain blood and cellular levels. But it is not as simple as curry every day!

Counter indications

Some supplements contain piperine, supposedly to increase bio-availability. This can interfere with certain drugs.

Clearly there is a huge enthusiasm, even expectation, overseas for curcumin, if not in British hospitals and oncology departments. But the real issue is can you take enough of it orally to deliver it in adequate doses to your breast or prostate cells? Certainly curcumin ( curcuma longa) was seen to be an important herb in the natural and successful treatment of prostate cancer that we covered in Cancer Watch (icon 2006, issue 3 ). We will just have to wait and see whether this longstanding Ayurvedic medicine will curry favour with the UK medical fraternity.

(i) Magad et al, Anticancer Res 2002. 22(6C) 4179-81

(ii) Vane: Nobel Prize 1982

(iii) J Pharmacology 2003 55; 981-6

(iv) Aggarwal et al Anticancer Res. 2003. 23; 363-98

(v) Environ Health Perspective 1998; 106. 807-12

(vi) Clin. Immun. 1999. 93; 152-61

**************************************** PLEASE NOTE: Professor Aggarwal has been the subject of a number of ‘blogs’ – some anonymous and from Europe – attacking his credibility and even alleging fraud in his research. Aggarwal has withdrawn or revisited several of his very many research papers for methodology reasons. MD Anderson have investigated the issue and Aggarwal continues in his Professorial role. However, as a result we use only one MD Anderson study in the above report and that has been verified by a second research source. While this all sounds concerning, to put it in context, it should be noted that in 2015 the FDA found flaws in almost 40 per cent of clinical trials for drugs in recruitment, detail and methodology. People who read this article, also read: ****************************************

(vii) St Louis University 2010

Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.

Most Encouraging Words For Someone With Cancer

A diagnosis of cancer can make a person feel removed from everyday life. It can be a time of awful, overwhelming loneliness paired with feeling out of control. Sometimes the most moving words the sufferer will hear are the most basic: “I’m here for you. Let me know what you need.” Saying that and meaning it may be the most incredibly important act of kindness you’ll ever do for your loved one. Discover a number of sayings that can comfort and inspire someone who has cancer.

encouraging words for someone with cancer

Comforting Words for Someone With Cancer

Cancer patients are facing a tough disease, but their fight doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Let the cancer patient know that you are there for them. Convey that whatever the individual needs, however long it takes, you’re going to be there to offer support.

We’ll get through this together, knowing there are brighter days ahead for both of us.

Whatever support you need, I am here for you. Whatever I can do, whatever you need, all you need to do is ask.

I’m here for you, my friend. Whatever you need, know that I’m going to be right here for you.

Lean on me; that’s what friends are for. Whether you need a shoulder to cry on, a rock to support you or someone to listen to you yell, I am here. Always and a day.

Give me a chore list. Tell me what your ordinary weekly tasks are and walk me through the basics. Then don’t think about them again. I’ve got them so that you can get well.

You are my first priority. No request is too big or too small. Anything you need, I will provide.

Can I come with you to some of your medical appointments? I’d like to drive you if you’ll let me. Would that be helpful?

I’ll help you sort through all your medications and appointments. I’ll micromanage and over-organize everything for you so that keeping up with the schedule will be a breeze.

Do you want to look up holistic doctors or specialists? I’ll roll up my sleeves and help you do the research any time you want. We’ll find the best of the best.

We can start taking yoga and meditation classes, if you’d like. They say it helps clear the mind and calm the soul. What do you think?

Let’s become herbal tea aficionados. All those antioxidants are sure to help cleanse your system and fight the cancer cells.

Positive Messages for Someone With Cancer

Lending support is great, but cancer patients can also benefit from positive messages. Be sure to find ways to encourage your friend or loved one with some upbeat and inspirational things to say to someone with cancer. Your words may be exactly what it takes to motivate someone through cancer to get through another day of treatment, one day at a time.

Each day brings new healing.

Cancer can’t take away your hope.

Bravery and courage are two of your greatest assets. I have no doubt that you will beat cancer and come out stronger on the other side.

Your strength is amazing. You inspire me every day.

You are one of the strongest people I know. Cancer doesn’t stand a chance against you.

You and I have been through so much together. Nothing will change that, not even cancer.

This world is better with you in it, and you’re going to stay in it for a very long time.

Let’s plan a trip. A weekend getaway to anywhere in the world. We’ll plan it right in the midst of all this to show cancer you’re still the boss of your own life.

You have the best medical care, a strong will, and friends and family who love you. That’s the best prescription for a full and complete recovery.

With all of the good you’ve done in your life and all of the times you’ve been there for others, most certainly karma is on your side.

I’ve known you my whole life. Any time you’ve set out to accomplish something, you’ve done it. Beating cancer is your focus now, and I know you can do it.

This is the time to put yourself first; to focus all of your energy on healing and looking forward to the day you get to ring the bell in the doctor’s office and leave cancer free.

After all that you’ve survived, do you really think some cancer cells are going to get the best of you? No way. Don’t you ever lose hope in your ability to overcome.

Inspirational Quotes for Cancer Patients

Sometimes circumstances might call for something a bit more intense than a basic positive message intended to reassure. An inspirational quote from a celebrity or other high profile individual might be just what someone you care about who has cancer needs to hear. These can be good messages for cards, notes or letters, as well as for in-person conversations.

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” – Mary Tyler Moore

“Pain is temporary, it may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

“Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today, let us begin.” – Mother Teresa

“Cancer is not a death sentence, but rather it is a life sentence; it pushes one to live.” – Marcia Smith

“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” – John Diamond

See cancer quotes for some other examples of recognizable sayings you may find to be helpful.

Humorous Words for Someone With Cancer

While cancer is nothing to joke about, humor is sometimes exactly what someone who is facing a serious illness needs. Make sure the time is right before incorporating humor into your interactions with a cancer patient so that the message will be well received. When things are so serious all of the time, a chuckle or two is exactly what is needed. After all, sometimes just getting your mind off “the Big C” is the best way to fight it.

“More men die of jealousy than cancer.” – Joseph Patrick Kennedy

Well, you always wondered what smoking weed was like. Now, you can find out!

We’re going to buy you the most fabulous earrings. Bald is beautiful, girl.

On the bright side, you won’t have any bad hair days for a while!

Guess what? You officially have a “get out of jail free” card for all those lunches you try to avoid with your in-laws!

You’ve always wanted a good reason to get out of hosting Thanksgiving at your house. Now you have one.

Cancer didn’t know what it was in for when it decided to hassle you!

Laughter may have some healing properties, but I like the odds of chemo and radiation.

Remember that year when your number one goal was to survive? Oh yeah, that’s right now!

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? I’m betting on stronger.

Listening Matters Too

Sometimes the right thing to say to a person who has cancer is nothing at all. Let the individual scream, shout, punch the wall, shake a fist to the sky, or whatever else will help. Listen to what the person has to say without judgment and make sure the individual knows that you’ll always be there, no matter what. Knowing that someone has one’s back through the roller coaster of a cancer diagnosis and treatment can be a great comfort.

Find the Right Words

If someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, your love and support can really mean a lot to them. While it’s easy to feel helpless in this situation, it’s important to be aware that providing encouraging words for someone with cancer can be just the lift they need to help them get through the long, difficult road ahead. If the suggestions here don’t seem to express what you’d like to say, see appropriate words for a serious illness card for some other ideas.

Battling, Brave Or Victim: Why The Language Of Cancer Matters

Words that are often used to describe cancer such as ‘battling’ or ‘survivor’ can divide opinion among people who’ve been diagnosed with it.

Some people find certain words motivating, while others find them upsetting. We asked some Vita readers which words they do and don’t like using.

Battling cancer

People with cancer are frequently described as fighting a battle with their illness. Sometimes when someone dies as a result of cancer, they’re described as having lost their battle. Newspaper headlines often talk in these terms when describing a famous person diagnosed with cancer.

Ines believes that words like battling are best left to descriptions of war, not illness. ‘What does it mean if you lose the battle?’ she says. ‘Haven’t you been brave enough or fought hard enough?

‘Celebrities and newspapers seem especially keen on these words, as though individuals somehow have an ability or a strong character trait which can go above and beyond what the surgery chemotherapy radiotherapy and medicines do.

‘I think it’s human nature to want to have control over things like illness, but all these words just pile on the pressure for people with cancer. People telling you to “keep fighting” when you’re feeling weak or having a low day makes you feel as though you’re doing something wrong or even worse, being cowardly.’

Chris questions whether ‘battling’ is an accurate term for everyone’s experience of cancer. ‘My cousin died after “bravely battling cancer” for eight years. Actually, there were eight years between her initial diagnosis and her death, but for most of that time she was feeling well not having difficult treatment, and not fearing that her illness would have the outcome it did.’

Brave

People with cancer are sometimes described as being brave, whether it’s for going through treatment or coping with the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis.

Susan objects to this term. ‘I don’t like being described as brave,’ she says. ‘You simply do not have a realistic choice. I think you can make a choice to be positive about it, but it is not bravery.’

Eleanor, on the other hand, feels differently. ‘Folk often say I’m “brave” and sometimes that can be quite a boost,’ she says.

Tracey also likes the term. ‘I am happy to be called brave and strong as I feel this is an excellent description of anyone who has had cancer and tolerated the treatments.’

Vicky also doesn’t mind being called brave. ‘Brave I can cope with, though I never know how to respond (shrug of the shoulders and a muttered “thanks” usually happens!).’

Survivor

People who live with and beyond cancer are often described as being survivors. It’s a very common term and is even used by some cancer charities, as well as people who’ve had cancer.

However, not everyone is so keen on the term.

Chris prefers not to describe herself as a survivor. ‘Cancer can return after many years and it seems that this term may be ignoring that fact. Also, the aim of getting back to health is to resume life as normal – as it would have been maybe enhanced by experiences – but labelling someone as a survivor is like looking back rather than forward.’

Eleanor also doesn’t like the term. ‘Since I have secondary breast cancer it’s not appropriate,’ she says.

Tracey, on the other hand, isn’t bothered by the word. ‘I do not mind being classed as a cancer survivor,’ she says, ‘but do admit that I sometimes suffer from survivors’ guilt as a colleague at work died at age 47 and my next door neighbour at age 56.’

Victim

A term that was almost universally disliked by our readers is the word ‘victim’ to describe someone with cancer.

Tracey, for example, prefers to think of herself as simply being unlucky. ‘I felt very ill after the chemotherapy as it sent me into an early menopause,’ she says. ‘Along with the tamoxifen this made me feel dreadful. But I am not a victim of cancer, just unlucky that my body grew the cancer cells.’

What words do people like?

In contrast to the emotive language of ‘battles’ and ‘victims’, many of the readers we asked prefer to talk about their cancer using simple factual language.

‘I tend to prefer terms such as “living with cancer” and “recovering from cancer treatment”,’ says Vicky.

Susan says: ‘I simply say I have had treatment for breast cancer. The treatment is now finished. I really don’t want to be labelled by an illness.’

Caroline also likes to keep things simple. ‘I much preferred to say factual things like “I am having treatment for cancer” or “I’ve been in remission for three years and it’s good to have passed that milestone”.’

Finally not everyone is keen on euphemisms. ‘I do get annoyed by people who won’t say the word cancer’, says Eithne, ‘but instead call it “the big C”.’

Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed you’re undergoing treatment or you want to know about breast health Breast Cancer Now’s award-winning range of breast cancer and breast health publications provides reliable information written in plain English for you and your family.

Content last reviewed January 2016; next planned review 2018

Curcumin, Or Turmeric, As A Natural Cancer Treatment

Curcumin is the main bioactive phenol derived from the turmeric root (curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae); it is probably the most researched compound in health being known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties.

“No cancer has been found, to my knowledge, that is not affected by curcumin”. (Professor Bharat Aggarwal, Biochemist, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas).

Curcuminhas many serious fans in the fight to beat cancer – Professors at UCLA, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Emory School of Medicine and Tufts to name but four important American Cancer Centers. Why? It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that is also anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. It has great potential to fight cancer in a number of ways and below we list those.

Curcumin is the most researched anti-cancer compound – it can be used as a complementary and integrative therapy or as an alternative cancer therapy. It protects healthy cells from chemotherapy damage, but attacks cancer cells and makes many chemotherapy drugs actually work better. It is already used in some American hospitals as a Complementary and Integrative (CIM) medicine against colorectal cancer after operations.

It can even work on its own against cancer. Doses of 3.2 gm a day have been shown to be very effective at managing smouldering Multiple Myeloma. We have had two Personal Prescription patients at stage 4, grade 4 use 8 gm of turmeric alongside Hyperbaric Oxygen with quite staggering results. We know of a number of others who have used this ‘formula’ with success.

Go to: Hyperbaric Oxygen and curcumin stabilises woman’s Grade 4, Stage 4 cancer

All people wishing to build an anti-cancer programme should think seriously about including at least a gram a day of curcumin within it.

What’s the difference between turmeric and curcumin?

Cucumin is between 2 and 5% of the turmeric root. It is a curcuminoid and this is a polyphenol. There are approximately 500 polyphenols existing in nature all known for their health benefits.

Go to: Polyphenols – Top foods for Health

This vivid yellow to brown spice was used, like many Asian spices and chillies, to hide the taste of stronger tasting meats and fish; even those that might have gone off in such hot climates. Like many such spices, it also performed a necessary and functional role – it was a cleanser and a pathogen-killer in the stomach and gut, protecting against such tainted foods!

The next issue is absorption: Curcumin and turmeric supplements provide good amounts but both are difficult to absorb into the blood stream from the gut. Absorption can be helped particularly by fats and oils forming ‘liposomes’ (fat bubbles) around the molecules which help take the molecule of turmeric or cucumin across the gut wall. Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper also helps but also piperine greatly amplifies the actions of curcumin.

Many people who practice Ayurvedic medicine will know that you peel and dry the root then powder it. Put the powder into a pot, add extra virgin olive oil and black pepper and mix to a paste. Keep it in the ‘fridge. This is Golden Turmeric and renowned for its health-giving properties.

The American Cancer Society urges people to make Golden Turmeric and then take a tablespoon of it, add more oil, and drink.

Aggarwal recommended 3.2 gm per day – that’s the same level as is used to hold smouldering Multiple Myeloma.

So is curcumin a cure for cancer? There is anecdotal evidence of people only using curcumin (and we have had examples) and beating their cancer and the British Medical Journal have pledged to investigate, what is exciting the experts in cancer centers in America is that it can play a role against many of the steps in the cancer process. As such it would seem stupid to ignore it as a part of an Integrative or holistic cancer treatment programme.

The anti-cancer action of curcumin:

Importantly, the spice can restrict the action of the enzyme COX-2, known to increase chronic inflammation in the body. Such inflammation is a known precursor to cancer and other chronic illnesses; it also helps cancer spread.

Curcumin has also been shown to inhibit vascular epithelial growth factors. Every tumour needs a blood supply – the growth factors build one, but curcumin has been shown to stop them.

Curcumin has been shown to ‘re-awaken’ a key tumour suppressor gene.

Curcumin has been shown to inhibit metastases.

Curcumin has been shown to kill cancer cells (B lymphoma cells) in NHL.

Curcumin prevents regrowth of cancer stem cells, which lie at the heart of many tumours.

Curcumin can block glutaminase enzymes producing glutamate in prostate cancer, and help reduce PSA levels.

Go to: Three foods stop prostate cancer feeding

Curcumin can lower blood platelets thinning the blood. However, cancer uses platelets to form blood supplies, grow and spread.

Curcumin has been shown to increase the effectiveness of certain drugs, while inhibiting their toxicity to healthy cells

Go To: Chemotherapy effectiveness enhanced by curcumin

More research is being reported every month! And showing a wide variety of benefits. For example:

Milk thistle and curcumin are strongly effective against colorectal cancer cells

Curcumin reduces the risk of breast cancer caused by HRT

Curcumin works with chokeberry to kill brain cancer cells

Even the BBC produced a programme showing turmeric to greatly reduce DNA methylation and homocysteine levels in the body. Homocysteine build up causes methylation around the DNA, which means more histones blocking messages being produced. This is the core of the Science of Epigenetics, and is linked to illnesses from cancer to Alzheimer’s.

Curcumin has strong epigenetic anti-cancer benefits

In the journal ‘Genes and Nutrition’ (2011, 6(2) 93-108) the whole issue of ‘Epigenetics’ was analysed. It used to be thought that the genes in the nucleus of your cells controlled all aspects of your health and that mutation (sequence change) in the DNA in that nucleus led to chronic illness and cancer. This was the Somatic Theory of cancer. Note the word theory! The solution is the cut out the cancer or destroy the nucleus with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

This theory was brought into question by research from St. Jude’s hospital in 2003 where they took the nuclei from aggressive cancer cells and transplanted them into frog embryos. Instead of seeing an aggressive cancer grow, nothing happened.

The Epigenetic theory of cancer holds that your DNA sequences are controlled, activated or suppressed by the localised environment around (epi-) your genome. So environmental toxins, hormones and stress can affect cause or release blockages, as can natural compounds in food. More than 60 natural compounds including vitamin D, melatonin, fish oil omega-3, and sulforaphanes can have strong epi-genetic effects. Such ‘signalling pathways’ have also been shown to be affected by curcumin – curcumin has powerful epigenetic properties.

An example of this ‘signalling pathway’ modification came in research from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany in 2012 which showed that curcumin can inhibit the formation of metastases in both prostate and breast cancer. Both cancers spread throughout the body through the release of chemical messengers, pro-inflammatory cytokines CXCL1 and CXCL2, but curcumin alters the expression of these two damaging proteins.

Next, Cheryl Myers (head of Scientific Affairs and Education for EuroPharma Inc.) refers to curcumin as ‘the anti-cancer herb’ because of its success in stopping cancer formation, replication and spread. Research also shows that curcumin increases the activity of certain anti-cancer drugs whilst protecting healthy cells and organs. It has been proven to reduce systemic inflammation and oxidative stress.

Dr Young S. Kim leading a team at the National Cancer Institute in America showed that curcumin was one of the most important natural compounds that could prevent cancer stem cells from re-growing and re-forming the cancer tumour. Her conclusion even suggested patients should supplement!

The University of Missouri has shown curcumin can counter the dangerous effects of HRT and its link to breast cancer cause. “The results of the study show that women could potentially take curcumin to protect themselves from developing progestin-accelerated tumors,” said the lead researcher. Synthetic progestin increases VEGF a protein that helps form blood supplies to developing tumours. Curcumin inhibits VEGF and thus reduces the potential of breast cancer to grow.

Professor Bharat Aggarwal Ph. D. in MD Andersons Department of Therapeutics has conducted a number of studies, for example showing that in a Phase II clinical trial, pancreatic cancer patients having no chemotherapy, it reduced tumour size. He believes it is effective against many types of cancer because it suppresses angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels essential to a tumour). Indeed he goes further: “No cancer has been found, to my knowledge, which is not affected by curcumin,” Aggarwal says. “The reason curcumin is so effective against cancer is that it hits not just a single target or cell signalling pathway but dozens of targets implicated in cancer.”

The biggest fans seem to reside at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. From Cancer Watch April 2011 comes this note:

It has also been shown to have a strong synergistic effect against cancer with resveratrol, and also with EGCG in green tea.

Curcumin’s many health benefits

Curcumin first caught my attention when I read a research report on its ability to prevent the crossed wires of Alzheimer’s, through blocking a certain peptide forming. Therapeutic doses seem able to prevent, and also reverse, early stages of the disease. (My father had the disease, in case you wondered!). As I started to do my homework, I found clinical trials for all manner of illnesses from cystic fibrosis to reduction of risk in stomach and colorectal cancers.

Curcumin is the most researched compound in medicine! And new research is coming thick and fast. You will find the latest in Cancer Watch

Curcumin/turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a cleanser of the body. It appears to work at a number of levels:

1. It can inhibit unwanted bacterial action in the stomach and intestine:

2. It is a significant anti-inflammatory:

For example (i) , University of Chicago researchers have shown it inhibits Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium known to be responsible for stomach ulcers and some stomach cancers. In Ayurvedic medicine, curcumin was used in poultices for this same reason to kill unwanted bacteria.

3. It boosts crucial cellular glutathione levels:

Arachidonic acid is a precursor/stimulator of the production of bad eicosancids (see our reviews of omega 3 and vitamin D) and thus to inflammation, which is itself a precursor to certain cancers. Curcumin has been found to inhibit several of the pre-inflammatory enzymes (e.g. COX2 and iNOS) in vitro and in vivo with animals. Japanese research suggests it works in much the same way as salicylin. (ii)

4. It is a powerful antioxidant:

Glutathione is a crucial intracellular antioxidant, helping the cell maintain its correct oxygen levels and fight off the effects of stress hormones. Research has shown that curcumin can prevent the action of an enzyme that limits glutathione production.

5. It can help prevent liver damage

Turmeric extract tested more potent than garlic, omega 3 and cat’s claw (devil’s claw) said German research. (iii)

6. It can prevent and even ‘treat’ cancer:

2010 research from St Louis has shown that it can turn off a protein called Leptin, which causes liver damage. It has also been shown to be capable of detoxifying the liver. Thus curcumin may be of help in keeping the liver healthy during chemotherapy cancer treatments.(vii)

As we have covered above, curcumin can suppress tumour initiation, promotion and metastasis. Extensive research over the last 50 years has indicated it can prevent and treat cancer. The anti-cancer potential stems from its ability to control gene signalling, and affect a wide variety of tumour cells, down-regulate transcription factors, down-regulate enzymes such as COX-2 and other inflammatories, cytokines, chemokines, cell-surface adhesion molecules, down-regulate growth factors, etc., etc. (iv)

But, its not just MD Anderson that are fans:

Tufts have conducted research with breast cancer patients concluding that curcumin and isoflavanoids seem to inhibit the action of environmental oestrogens. (v)

UCLA have researched its potential with colorectal cancer (San Diego, Chauhen). And there are Clinical Trials underway (according to the Mayo Clinic to investigate curcumin as a way to prevent cancer in people with precancerous conditions, as a cancer treatment, and as a remedy for signs and symptoms caused by cancer treatments.

Kentucky University researchers report on its inhibition of B lymphoma cells. (vi)

Emory School of Medicine showed that it attacked Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors cutting the ability of tumours to generate their essential blood supply lines. Many drugs are being developed specifically to stop VEGF’s, but this common spice already does the job

Memorial Sloan-Kettering (New York) even offered that ‘green tea spiced with curcumin was a double anti-cancer beater’!

There are a dozen or more studies where curcumin has caused cell death in cancer cells; and even more where it prevents tumours forming a blood supply.

However as always, some things seem too good to be true; and despite the euphoria of major hospitals in the USA, a few words of realism have to be added.

Firstly, much of the work original used cell cultures. Increasingly studies use a variety of animals, and there have been human trials, even clinical trials, primarily with cervical cancer lesions and with gastrointestinal cancers. So, although the biochemical knowledge is vast, the use of oral curcumin to prevent and treat cancer is still in its infancy.

Next, there is a problem maintaining effectiveness inside the cells; there are several studies that show oral consumption needs to be maintained in order to maintain blood and cellular levels. But it is not as simple as curry every day!

Counter indications

Some supplements contain piperine, supposedly to increase bio-availability. This can interfere with certain drugs.

Clearly there is a huge enthusiasm, even expectation, overseas for curcumin, if not in British hospitals and oncology departments. But the real issue is can you take enough of it orally to deliver it in adequate doses to your breast or prostate cells? Certainly curcumin ( curcuma longa) was seen to be an important herb in the natural and successful treatment of prostate cancer that we covered in Cancer Watch (icon 2006, issue 3 ). We will just have to wait and see whether this longstanding Ayurvedic medicine will curry favour with the UK medical fraternity.

(i) Magad et al, Anticancer Res 2002. 22(6C) 4179-81

(ii) Vane: Nobel Prize 1982

(iii) J Pharmacology 2003 55; 981-6

(iv) Aggarwal et al Anticancer Res. 2003. 23; 363-98

(v) Environ Health Perspective 1998; 106. 807-12

(vi) Clin. Immun. 1999. 93; 152-61

**************************************** PLEASE NOTE: Professor Aggarwal has been the subject of a number of ‘blogs’ – some anonymous and from Europe – attacking his credibility and even alleging fraud in his research. Aggarwal has withdrawn or revisited several of his very many research papers for methodology reasons. MD Anderson have investigated the issue and Aggarwal continues in his Professorial role. However, as a result we use only one MD Anderson study in the above report and that has been verified by a second research source. While this all sounds concerning, to put it in context, it should be noted that in 2015 the FDA found flaws in almost 40 per cent of clinical trials for drugs in recruitment, detail and methodology. People who read this article, also read: ****************************************

(vii) St Louis University 2010

Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.

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