Curcumin, a substance found in the spice turmeric, has long been used in Asian medicine to treat a variety of maladies. Now some research suggests that curcuminmay help prevent or treat cancer. Curcumin is thought to have antioxidant properties, which means it may decrease swelling and inflammation.
A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
Extensive research is being conducted in many laboratories across the globe on the anti-cancer properties of turmeric. Being a powerful anti-oxidant, turmeric can protect cells from getting damaged. Turmeric is now being used as a complementary therapy with conventional cancer treatment.
Laboratory tests have found that turmeric interferes with many critical molecular pathways that cause the growth and spread of cancer. Recent studies have concentrated on the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and if this could help with the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Scientists believe that the active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin is a well-known antioxidant and thus help in fighting free radicals which cause cell damage. Turmeric is also known to interfere with several key molecular pathways which lead to cancer development.
TURMERIC AND CANCER TREATMENT
A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that #Curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be an #Anti oxidant an has the ability to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
A 2013 international laboratory study looked at the effects of a combined treatment with curcumin and chemotherapy on bowel cancer cells. The researchers concluded that the combined treatment might be better than chemotherapy alone.
A 2007 American study in mice seemed to show that curcumin helped to stop the spread of breast cancer cells to other parts of the body.
Doctors think that curcumin stays in the digestive system and is absorbed by the cells in the bowel. To find out more, a small study in the UK looked at how curcumin is absorbed from the human gut into liver cells. This study looked at how much of the curcumin is absorbed into both cancer cells and normal cells. This was a very small study of people with bowel cancer that had spread to the liver. They were given curcumin for 7 days before surgery.
During the surgery doctors removed liver tissue and they then then measured the levels of curcumin in the tissue. The results showed that the level of curcumin absorbed into the liver was not high enough to have any anticancer effect. The researchers suggested that future clinical trials of curcumin should focus on preventing bowel tumours. Several studies have shown that curcumin taken as capsules does get absorbed by the gut and is present in the blood. But the amount in the blood is small.
An American phase 2 study reported in 2008. 25 patients had curcumin treatment and 21 had tumours that could be measured. In 2 patients their tumours shrank or remained stable. In some patients their levels of particular immune system chemicals that destroy cancer cells went up. But the researchers found that blood levels of curcumin were very low because it is not well absorbed from the gut. Scientists have since developed injectable, fat soluble forms of curcumin which may improve the results.
These studies look promising but we need to do more clinical trials in humans before we will know if curcumin has any potential to treat cancer in people.
A trial is currently under way in Puerto Rico to find out whether curcumin can shrink precancerous growths in patients with a genetic disorder that greatly increases their risk of bowel cancer.
Benefits of Turmeric In Cancer
- Turmeric is supposed to kill cancer cells
- Works as a chemo preventive agent
- Prevents metastasis
- Halts progression of pre-cancerous lesions
- Has anti-carcinogenic action
- It has anti-tumour property
- It inhibits angiogenesis in tumors
- It acts on 30+ targets to induce cell death in cancer cells
- It arrests cell cycle and development in cancer
- It selectively kills cancer cells and protects normal cells
- It reverses drug resistance in cancer cells
- It destroys cancer stem cells
- It increases chemo and radio sensitivity
- It is a chemo and radioprotector
- It protects from side effects of cancer treatment
- It can regulate immune responses to combat cancer
- It curbs inflammation
- It improves antioxidant defences
- It is an epigenetic agent
- Curcumin free turmeric has anti-cancer activity