May 1, 2011

Combat Cancer With Curcumin

Combat Cancer with CurcuminCombat Cancer

One of three women and one of two men will be diagnosed with cancer sometime in their lifetime.  That’s pretty scary, right?  Eating well and exercise can improve those odds.  But, is there anything else you should do?   Add curcumin to your diet and combat cancer.

Curcumin may be our most versatile nutrient.  Curcumin comes from turmeric, an Indian spice, and contains several compounds that give curcumin potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Curcumin’s greatest benefit may be in its ability to disrupt cancer development.  MD Anderson Cancer Center, a leading cancer center, and other centers are actively conducting several studies researching curcumin’s anti-cancer potential.

What We Know

We know that cancer as well as most other diseases can be triggered by inflammation and free radicals both of which damage cells.  There are at least 10 factors in the development of cancer.  Preventing or disrupting even one factor increases your ability to prevent cancer.  Here’s what makes curcumin so special.  It disrupts several of these cancer-causing factors.  Most chemotherapy agents only target one to two.

What Can Curcumin Do For You?

Curcumin blocks nuclear factor-kappaB or NF-kB, the primary control molecule of inflammatory.  Curcumin also reduces inflammation by decreasing advanced glycation end products.  Glutathione is the main intracellular antioxidant that fights free radicals.  Curcumin increases glutathione levels.

Curcumin transforms enzymes involved in the metabolism of carcinogens, or cancer causing agents.  In cancer cells curcumin induces apoptosis or cell death by disrupting the cell cycle.   Cancer cells invade surrounding tissue with the aid of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases.  At least in laboratory studies curcumin inhibits matrix metalloproteinases.

Cancers spread by growing new blood vessels to invade surrounding tissues.  This process is called angiogenesis.  Curcumin inhibits angiogenesis, thereby limiting a cancer’s ability to spread.

Curcumin seems to also enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy agents by increasing the sensitivity of cancer cells to the chemotherapy agent potentially reducing the dose of chemotherapy drugs. That’s important given that chemotherapy agents are associated with many dose-related side effects.

How to Combat Cancer with Curcumin

Thus far curcumin appears promising in fighting hormone-negative breast cancers, and cervical cancer caused by infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV), an inflammatory process.  It also interferes with the spread of prostate cancer by disrupting NF-kB.  Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths.  Curcumin decreases the chances that benign colon polyps will evolve into colon cancer.

Curcumin is being studied in the prevention and treatment of leukemia, lymphomas, myelomas and cancers of the bladder, brain, and lungs.

Consider adding the savory spice tumeric to your diet and receive the health benefits of curcumin and better prepare yourself to combat cancer.

See related articles.

“Resveratrol and Cancer”

“TA-65: Potentially the Best Anti Aging Supplement”

“Exercise and Cancer”

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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