Turmeric Curcumin: Natural Nutrient in Chemotherapy

Image Credit: cravebits.com
Image Credit: cravebits.com

Decades of toxic cancer treatments that destroy cancer cells, and healthy cells may soon be replaced by cancer therapies that work better by using natural nutrients like turmeric curcumin. This proposition stemmed from the scientific review of a research by world-renowned cancer research University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, a pioneer in preclinical research on anticancer effects of curcumin.

In a related development, Medical Express cited an international review of previous clinical trials reporting that curcumin is more effective as cancer treatment. It is a multi-targeting agent, able to combat numerous genes that have mutated in cancer. The report said further that curcumin may be the only drug taken in high dosage (up to 12 grams) without any indication of toxicity.

Natural nutrients

Unlike obnoxious chemotherapeutic agents in cancer treatments, substances or nutrients like turmeric curcumin appear to have innate intelligence to differentiate between tumor cells and normal cells, and strike powerfully to kill tumor cells. Turmeric curcumin’s dexterity to kill cancer cells — and spare healthy cells — becomes an intriguingly intense research issue in the medical community.

Furthermore, nutrients such as curcumin support the survival of good cells and increase the tolerance of cells against stress. No existing chemotherapy drugs promote healthy cell survival. In fact, new biological medicines applied in therapies are gene killing agents.

Conversely, chemotherapeutic agents are very expensive and not an affordable option for most patients. Besides, such highly toxic agents cannot be utilized in cancer prevention. Even worse, they produce harmful, and fatal, side effects.

Before we go any further, let’s define what turmeric curcumin means. It is a combination of turmeric, a favorite spice in South Asia that adds color and zest to the flavor of curry, and curcumin, a medicinal compound, antioxidant and cancer-killer nutrient of turmeric. Turmeric curcumin is sold as a food supplement and available in extra strength in capsules.

Understanding cancer

Cancer is medically described as a malignant neoplasm, a group of many diseases that make rapid production and proliferation of abnormal cells. Cancerous cells grow, and divide uncontrollably in the form of tumors and spread in other parts of the body (metastasis). Failure to seek treatment may result to organ failures, and death. A host of external factors contribute to the disease, including lifestyle, diet, virus and pollution. Internal factors may include genetic, hormonal or immunity disorders. Radiation, surgery and chemotherapy are common treatment therapies.

Cancer ranks as the second-leading cause of death, next to heart disease in the U.S., alone. Seventy-eight percent of diagnoses on cancer are attributed to individuals 55 years old and older. Risk for cancer is higher in percentage in men than in women. In 2011, the total cost of healthcare for cancer was $88.7 Billion.

Curcumin effect on cells

Curcumin has been observed to show differentiation effects on normal cells. The reason why it kills tumor cells defies understanding, but a few reasons were obvious. First, the absorption of curcumin is greater in tumor cells. Second, the glutathione levels are lower in tumor cells. And, third, most of the tumor cells signal gene NF-kB, and moderate their survival.

Curcumin alters epigenetic signals by suppressing NF-kB expression thus constricting the proliferation and survival of tumor cells and support healthy cells.

Mechanisms of Cell Death

Curcumin acts upon many biochemical and molecular signaling pathways to access various arrays of targets. It can physically bind up to 33 distinct protein, including thioredoxin reductase, COX2, protein kinase C, 5-LOX and tubulin, among others. Molecular targets regulated by curcumin include growth factors, transcription factors and receptors, cytokines, enzymes and genes controlling cell proliferation and apoptosis (cell death) of tumor cells. Studies suggest that cell death is induced by curcumin through the activation of cell death receptors, and suppression of growth and proliferation pathways, leading to apoptosis of cancer cells.

Nevertheless, as a fat-soluble substance, curcumin is not easily absorbed by the body. In order to obtain the optimal benefits from the nutrient, Piperine, another natural ingredient from black pepper comes to the rescue. Piperine, helps absorb curcumin and other nutrients quickly and effectively and can be found in Bioperine, a patented food supplement.

In the increasing proliferation and burden of cancer, curcumin promises to be a safe, effective, natural, and affordable chemotherapeutic agent. More notably, in the shifting paradigm of cancer therapy, curcumin has a very important role in cancer diagnosis, prevention and treatment that affects the health of billions in the planet.

By: Janet Grace Ortigas

First appeared in Medium

Turmeric Curcumin: Most Promising New Treatment in Alzheimer’s


Men and women who struggle over memory impairment or loss due to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) turn their attention on turmeric curcumin to alleviate and reverse this staggering trend. Turmeric curcumin is a spice that has been ascribed therapeutic properties like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

The medicinal properties of turmeric curcumin have attracted worldwide scientific research and applications in many diseases, including Alzheimer’s. The natural compounds of curcumin have broad-spectrum mechanisms to inhibit enzymes that trigger short-term inflammation and chronic inflammation.

The recent groundbreaking study released by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease claims that curcumin can penetrate the brain to gather and destroy amyloid plaques, that cause irreparable loss of neurons – and memory. Curcumin can block pathways to inflammation by inhibiting enzymes identified as COX-1, COX-2 and LOX with no side effects unlike NSAIDs (non-steriod anti-inflammatory drugs).

Turmeric curcumin is now consumed as food supplement and antiseptic in powder extract, liquid tonic and tincture. And yet, when taken orally, curcumin molecules are poorly absorbed by the body. A solution is offered by Bioperine, a natural food supplement that contains piperine, which boosts curcumin absorption by 2000 percent. The various inflictions that can be potentially alleviated by cumin are as follows:

Memory problems

Invariably, most adults will experience episodes of memory loss as they mature, marked by occasional disruption such as forgetting the name of a person you’ve met lately. Others, though, might experience mild cognitive impairment, a disease affecting the memory that, if unchecked, can grow progressively worse. Its symptoms have rendered the patient unable to remember recently learned things and an inability to procure new information.

Oftentimes, memory problems are a result of side effects of medication, vitamin deficiencies or other health conditions. If your loved one has memory, thinking and cognitive problems, they may be symptoms of another type of dementia and should be referred to a physician.

Taking a Closer Look

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease is a painful and distressing affliction for sufferers and families alike. The disease is much more than just intermittent memory loss. It’s a severe form of memory loss, which gradually erases memory and thinking processes.

The disease causes brain cells to break down and eventually die. The malady is apparent when an individual forgets the name of a family member or loses direction on returning home where he’s lived for years.

The disease affects more than 5 million people in the U.S. alone. It ranks as the 6th leading killer, striking individuals as young as 30. Every minute an individual develops symptoms of this disease, and it is not limited to the frail and the elderly.

Alzheimer’s remains as among the costliest chronic diseases in the U.S. In 2015, it is estimated that the direct cost of the disease to the nation will total $226 billion.

The Alzheirmer’s association says that presently, there’s no treatment protocol that could cure, delay or stop the ravages of the disease. Some FDA-approved drugs may delay worsening symptoms within six months to one year for 50 percent of the respondents in the program.

Turmeric Curcumin Benefits for Alzheimer’s

The build-up and aggregation of amyloid plaques in the brain, inflammation, stress and free radicals are the key factors contributing to the development of the brain disease. A September 2010 study published in the journal “Neuroscience” revealed that rats with beta-amyloid plaques in the brain that were fed with curcumin extracts showed improvement in memory and spatial learning.

In 2009, Neuropharmacology published a study demonstrating the effect of curcumin in reversing impaired cognition on rats subjected to chronic stress. Curcumin revitalized memory and learning of laboratory rodents.

The health benefit of turmeric as a brain food is ubiquitous. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that India has the lowest cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the world because of the large consumption of turmeric spice in the population’s diet for many generations.


Turmeric curcumin consumption is regarded as safe. In some individuals, though, it might increase the content of oxalic acid in urine, which could lead to kidney stones. It is always best to see a physician before taking supplements.

By: Janet Grace Ortigas

First appeared in Inside The Planet

Turmeric Curcumin: Prehistoric Roots, Modern Elixir

Image Credit: truttmd.com
Image Credit: truttmd.com

Several human and animal laboratory studies suggest that turmeric curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. Interestingly, turmeric is a spice (Curcuma Longa), food coloring and food preservative used in culinary (a common ingredient in curry) and traditional, Indian and Chinese-medicine (as medicinal herb) for thousands of years.

Health Benefits

The active ingredient in turmeric is a chemical known as curcumin. Turmeric curcumin has healing properties. It helps relieve inflammation and pain by reducing the swelling of joints, brain, stomach, liver and the skin. In fact, Arthritis Foundation claims that curcumin inhibits cytokines and enzymes that cause joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. Many researchers dub curcumin as a natural “wonder drug” of the 21st century because it is comparable in efficacy to dozens of non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).

Curcumin regulates blood-glucose levels, improves food digestion and eases menstrual cramps. It has reportedly helped out many patients return to normal, productive lives. Untreated arthritis can lead to deformed bones and skeletal structure and prolongs the agony of pain and inflammation.

Owing to its antioxidant properties, curcumin is an efficient scavenger of free radicals and removes toxins in the body caused by stress and pollution. It promotes nourishment and regeneration of cells to help restore and improve one’s overall health and energy. It also has anti-aging effect on the skin. Johnson & Johnson has marketed a plaster with turmeric paste to showcase the natural antiseptic ability of curcumin to heal skin wounds and scratches.

The American Cancer Society claims turmeric curcumin may prevent the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells. In Alzheimer’s or dementia, turmeric curcumin is believed to prevent the formation amaloid plaques in the brain which cause irreversible memory loss.


Turmeric curcumin as a food supplement is available in many formulations from powder extract in capsules to liquid extract and tincture. For osteoarthritis and other cases, the recommended dose is 400 to 600mg three times per day.

Dietary Profile

The spice provides an excellent supply of manganese, iron, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium.


The medicinal properties of turmeric curcumin are well-known to experts around the world. However, poor bioavailability can affect the efficiency of the drug absorption into the body. Because curcumin cannot be dissolved in water, researchers turned to piperine, a natural substance that accelerates the absorption of curcumin into the bloodstream by as much as 2000 percent in laboratory expirement.

A 154 percent increase in bioavailability is observed after the administration of piperine. Significantly, serum resulted in high serum concentration of curcumin in less than one hour after ingestion.

Curcumin, supported by piperine, increases its potency to fight cancer cells, infections and inflammation in the body. Piperine, an alkaloid extracted from black pepper (Piper Nigrum) and long pepper, is available as a food supplement in BioPerine, a patented product widely distributed in the market today.

Side Effects and Precautions

Turmeric curcumin are safe when administered orally or topically to the skin. For some individuals, however, the compound causes nausea, dizziness, stomach upset or diarrhea. It is not recommended for pregnant women, people with gallbladder problems, diabetes, iron deficiency and bleeding disorders.

Turmeric may interact with other medications. According to National Institutes for Health, turmeric slows down blood clotting and increases the risk of bruising and bleeding. Individuals taking the supplement might experience excess bleeding during and post-surgery and should stop using it. Consult your physician if you have conditions mentioned.

By: Janet Grace Ortigas

First appeared in CNN iReport