Recently by Joseph Mercola: Another Reason To Ignore the Warnings About This Super Food
Curcumin — a derivative of turmeric, and the pigment that gives the curry spice turmeric its yellow-orange color is a natural compound that has been extensively researched, and has been found to have numerous health applications. As a result, turmeric is becoming increasingly popular as a supplement. Each 100 grams of turmeric contains an estimated three to five grams of curcumin.
The ancient Chinese and Indian systems of medicine have recognized curcumin’s beneficial properties for thousands of years. Most notably, curcumin is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, and as you may know, chronic inflammation is an underlying factor in many, if not most, chronic diseases. The compound has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, which may in part explain its numerous health benefits.
To learn more about these, please review my special report on this healing spice.
Here, I will review one of curcumin’s most exciting properties, as researchers are increasingly recognizing its potential as an anti-cancer agent. At the end of this article, you’ll also find a list of my other common-sense cancer-prevention strategies.
Curcumin Effective against Fatal Type of Brain Tumor
In an exciting discovery announced in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in July, researchers say curcumin could be the answer to stopping a fatal brain cancer known as glioblastoma (GBMs). This study strengthens previous findings. In this study, scientists showed that it decreased brain tumors in nine of 11 study animals (81 percent), with no evidence of toxicity.
Furthermore, curcumin did not affect healthy cells, suggesting curcumin selectively targets cancer cells. They also found that it worked synergistically with two different chemotherapy drugs, enhancing the elimination of cancer cells.
The authors state:
“In summary, data presented here suggest curcumin as a potential agent for therapy of GBMs.”
One of the BEST Supplements for Many Cancers
Several years ago, I learned about the anti-cancer potential of curcumin from Dr. William LaValley, one of the top natural medicine cancer physicians I know. He pointed out that curcumin has the most evidence-based literature backing its use as a cancer support than any other nutrient. Not only does it affect more than 700 genes, curcumin also affects more than 100 different pathways once it gets into the cell. Best of all, it appears to be safe in the treatment of all cancers.
To get an idea of just how much research there is, simply search GreenMedInfo.com using the search term “curcumin cancer.” There are hundreds of studies relating to curcumin’s beneficial effects on various types of cancer.
Here’s a sampling of some of the most recent ones:
- A 2008 study in Cancer Prevention Research, found that curcumin inhibits breast cancer cell motility and invasion by directly inhibiting the function of alpha6beta4 integrin, which suggests it may serve as an effective therapeutic agent in tumors that overexpress alpha6beta4. (Alpha6beta4 is associated with cancer progression by contributing to apoptosis resistance and metastasis)
- In 2009, a study in Molecular Pharmacology found that curcumin inhibits pancreatic cancer cell growth and acts as a chemosensitizing agent
- Other research from 2009 found that curcumin induces programmed cell death in lung cancer cells
- A 2010 study concluded that curcumin has the potential to target cancer stem cells
How Does Curcumin Fight Cancer?
In India, where turmeric is widely used in the diet, the prevalence of four common U.S. cancers colon, breast, prostate and lung is 10 times lower. In fact, prostate cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, is rare in India and this is attributed, in part, to the curcumin in turmeric. It appears that curcumin combats cancer in a number of different ways.
For instance, curcumin has been found to:
Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor Decrease inflammation Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth Which Type of Turmeric is Best?
To get the full benefits that curcumin has to offer, look for a 100 percent certified organic turmeric extract with at least 95 percent curcuminoids. The formula should be free of fillers, additives and excipients (a substance added to the supplement as a processing or stability aid), and the manufacturer should use safe production practices at all stages: planting, cultivation, selective harvesting, and then producing and packaging the final product.
For use in cooking, choose a pure turmeric powder rather than a curry powder. Preferably organic. At least one study has found that curry powders tend to contain very little curcumin, compared to turmeric powder.
Guidelines for Using Curcumin
Right now, there are no formulations commercially available for use against cancer, and you should know that not only are relatively high doses required, curcumin is also not absorbed very well… A typical anti-cancer dose can be as high as three grams of good bioavailable curcumin extract, three to four times daily.
One work-around is to make a microemulsion from curcumin powder. To do that, mix one tablespoon of the powder into 1-2 egg yolks, along with a teaspoon or two of melted coconut oil. Then, use a high-speed hand blender to emulsify the mixture.
Another strategy that can help increase absorption is to add one tablespoon of curcumin powder to a quart of boiling water. (It must be boiling when you add the powder as it will not work as well if you put it in tepid water.) After boiling it for 10 minutes you will have created a 12 percent solution, which you can drink once cooled. It has a slightly woody taste. Keep in mind though that the curcumin will gradually fall out of solution. In about six hours it will be a six percent solution, so it is best to drink the water within four hours of boiling.
One drawback of doing this at home is that curcumin is a very potent yellow pigment and can permanently discolor surfaces if you’re not careful.
Preventing Cancer: 11 Tips to Live By
In the last 30 years the global cancer burden has doubled, and is estimated to nearly triple by 2030. Clearly, we must begin to take cancer prevention seriously.