In my last post, I shared some information about why cancer and curcumin (molecule in ancient spice Turmeric) don’t mix. Because including curcumin (along with black pepper to enable its absorption)is a “no brainer” in an anti-cancer lifestyle, I wanted to share what several “experts” say about it.
Remember that inflammation is a hotbed for tumor development (see earlier posts on this blog), we see that curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory molecule among other important functions.
I’m going to start with Shane Ellison, M.S., www.thepeopleschemist.com , and author of Over the Counter Natural Cures which has just been courageously revised. Ellison is a former pharmaceutical chemist who left that life for one that allows him to sleep at night and look himself in the mirror. First Ellison quotes A. Duvois, et al. [ “Chemopreventive and therapeutic effects of curcumin”. Cancer Letters. 2005; 223: 181-90.] as saying, “discoveries have given rise to the identification of Mother Nature’s most potent weapon against cancer: turmeric. Not only does the commonly used spice give cancer cells a biological smack-down, but it also can prevent unruly and invasive cancer tumors from spreading.”
Ellison adds, “In 2008, the medical journal Endocrinology [(2008;149 (8): 4158-4167)],
together with the Medical College of Wisconsin, studied the curcuminoids extensively. Their positive results led them to this recommendation: “We propose developing curcumin as a novel therapeutic tool.” Following this lead, Big Pharma is hell-bent on creating a synthetic, turmeric copycat.”
Ellison further shares, “Doctors have even tried to patent turmeric to profit from later prescribing it. They were shot down after the Indian government filed complaints that ‘you can’t patent something we’ve known for thousands of years’.” (p 156 revised ed. OTC Natural Cures).
In his book, Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, M.D. PhD (and long time cancer survivor) writes that turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory . He adds, “No other food ingredient has such a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. The principal molecule responsible for that effect is curcumin. In the laboratory, curcumin inhibits growth in a large number of cancers: colon, prostate, lung, liver, stomach, breast, ovary, and leukemia, for example. It also inhibits angiogenesis and forces cancer cells to die (through a process of cell suicide known as ‘apoptosis’).” (p 151 of revised Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life).
Both Ellison and Servan-Schreiber reference particular research outside the scope of this post but both point out that centuries of use prove turmeric has no detrimental side effects and is easily obtained inexpensively. Turmeric is available in supplement capsules (best with black pepper or piperidine for absorption) and even better if used in foods. Servan-Schreiber also says Turmeric aids orthodox cancer treatment.
Turmeric’s powerful medicinal impacts are much discussed by the four doctor/authors of the book, How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine. These doctors cite several studies in this book, but to summarize, they say: “Curcumin protects against the disease (cancer) before, during, and after exposure to carcinogens.” (p 102)
Continuing from How to Prevent and Treat Cancer With Natural Medicine, the doctor/authors say (p173-4): “The benefit of turmeric and curcumin have been demonstrated at all stages of cancer formation: initiation, promotion, and progression. Evidence also suggests that curcumin causes cancer to regress. . . Some of curcumin’s benefits come from its known activity as an antioxidant. Curcumin also:
-inhibits the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines
-enhances the body’s production of cancer-fighting compounds such as glutathione’-promotes the liver’s proper detoxification of cancer-causing compounds
-prevents overproduction of cyclooxyrgenase 2 (cox-2), an enzyme that can contribute to the development of tumors.
Curcumin has also been shown to inhibit tumor growth in several ways:
-Inhibiting epidermal growth factor at receptor sites……decreases the cell’s tendency to proliferate
-Inhibit angiogenesis by inhibiting the fibroblast growth factor that promotes formation of new blood vessels to feed the growing tumor.
-Increases the expression of the protein essential for apoptosis or normal process of cell “suicide”.
-Inhibits growth promoting enzymes.
These four doctor/authors add: “Curcumin appears to be useful in virtually all types of cancer, because of its fundamental mechanisms of actions against cancer progression. ” (p175) And they add, “Curcumin (and Quercetin) protect healthy cells against the harmful effects of radiation . . ” (p233)
In the expansive book, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Third Edition, (pp 198-203), the authors discuss the impact of chronic inflammation on health including so many of the “diseases” seated in this “fire that won’t go out” because some “insult” keeps re-igniting it through an immune system gone awry.
They name curcumin as an important biological medicine in these inflammatory situations saying, ” Specific botanical medicines to reduce silent inflammation are usually not necessary as the recommendations for diet are far more important.” (p201) In other words we can’t continue to eat inflammatory diets (and I would add keep toxic emotions churning) and try to “fix the problem” with a band-aid of botanical medicines any more than pharmaceutical medicines.
But these doctors elaborate further: “Nonetheless, there may be some specific situations where the CRP’s (inflammatory proteins) are stubbornly resistant to falling. In these situations, curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric (curcuma longa), may be helpful because of its variety of anti-inflammatory effects.” Because curcumin absorption is a concern, two complex products are mentioned: Meriva and Theracurmin. The authors claim these products are blends of curcumin and other food molecules that enhance absorption.
I have no experience with such products. But I do take my Turmeric blended with black pepper extract. I have also recently added a product from “The Peoples’ Chemist” called “Daily Dose” and I suggest you go to the www.thepeopleschemist.com and investigate “Daily Dose” for yourself. I also like “Cinnergy” from this source as it is a neat blend of milk thistle (liver protection) and cinnamon (blood sugar control).
Again, using these powerful molecules in food is as our Creator designed. I’ve recently bought a couple of neat cookbooks by Anupy Singla (available from www.amazon.com ) and find the recipes easy, tasty, and nutritious. I used to be prejudiced against Indian food, but Singla has won me over. She’s vegan also and I love having very tasty vegan recipes. Just go ahead and stock up on the spices she uses. You will be glad you did.