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Curcumin: How It Helps in Cancer Treatment

Cancer is the most dreaded disease of the modern world. It takes millions of life worldwide. What if a natural spice can kill cancer cells and treat almost all forms of cancer?

The answer and cure lies within the most used spice turmeric (and its active component curcumin). Curcumin is a derivative and pigment of turmeric that gives the spice its yellow-orange colour.

Curcumin is most extensively researched and talked about natural pigment that has shown remarkable results in cancer cure researches carried out across the world. It is the only plant derivative which has shown positive results in all forms of cancers.

Curcumin has emerged as one of the most powerful chemopreventive and anti-cancer agent. A number of scientific studies prove that curcumin has anti-cancer properties and when given in right dosage it has the ability to kill cancer cells, it prevents them from growing more and promotes healthy cell function.

It has shown miraculous effects on various types of cancer including leukaemia and lymphoma, gastrointestinal cancers, breast cancers, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung cancer, melanoma and neurological cancers. 

The curcumin works synergistically with chemotherapy to kill cancer cells and helps in better recovery of the patient. A 2007 American study that combined curcumin with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer cells in a laboratory showed that the combined treatment killed more cancer cells than the chemotherapy alone.

Curcumin has a strong credibility to fight against cancer causing elements in the body. A research conducted by the Life Extension Foundation proved that curcuminoids work effectively against ten factors reasoning cancer development in the body. 

The healing properties of curcumin against cancer include chronic inflammation, DNA damage and disruption of a cell showing pathways.Curcumin doses have shown to destroy cancer cell mitochondria as well as disrupting the cancer cell cycle. 

It prevents stem cell development which promotes more cancer causing cell formation. Studies show that the Curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric stimulates cancer causing cells’ self-destruction and turns on natural apoptotic switches in the cells. 

This leads to anti-inflammatory prostaglandins which promote cancer cell growth from further occurring. Such is the amazing healing quality of Curcumin that it can feed apoptosis within Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) cells which is a kind of cancer wherein conventional chemotherapy generally becomes ineffective.

The quality of curcumin to induce apoptosis in cancer cells through a number of mechanisms drew interest of interlinking it with some types of cancer healing effects. 

Oral consumption of curcumin was found to inhibit the development of chemically-induced cancers including oral, colon, liver and stomach but has remained ineffective on breast cancer in some studies. 

The potential benefit of curcumin in cancer treatment is its efficacy to enhance the immunity while the other cancer drugs including chemotherapy lowers the immunity, thereby bringing more complications for the patients.

An abstract of a research paper published in PubMed says, "Curcumin is the active ingredient in the traditional herbal remedy and dietary spice turmeric (Curcuma longa). Curcumin has a surprisingly wide range of beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and chemo preventive and chemotherapeutic activity." Curcumin is a free radical scavenger and hydrogen donor, and exhibits both pro- and antioxidant activity. It also binds metals, particularly iron and copper, and can function as an iron chelator. Curcumin is remarkably non-toxic and exhibits limited bioavailability. 

Curcumin exhibits great promise as a therapeutic agent, and is currently in human clinical trials for a variety of conditions, including multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, myelodysplastic syndromes, colon cancer, psoriasis and Alzheimer's disease, the paper further says.

Dosage: Curcumin can be consumed up to a dosage of 8 Gms curcuminoids. It has not shown much adverse effects at all, and vitro tests suggest curcumin has quite a large safety threshold.

However, the medicinal properties of curcumin cannot be utilised because of its poor bioavailability due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal wall. It should be thus consumed with other agents such as black pepper extract, called piperine which increases the bioavailability of curcumin in the body by almost 2000 percent.

References:

Curcumin: from ancient medicine to current clinical trials. Hatcher H1Planalp RCho JTorti FMTorti SV.

Author information: Department of Cancer Biology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA

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