Better Than Chemo: Turmeric Kills Cancer Not Patients

Better Than Chemo

About one hundred times less toxic than chemotherapy, turmeric extract (curcumin) was found more effective at killing colorectal cancer stem cells from patients than a popular combination of conventional drugs.

Researchers from the United Kingdom have just made a major breakthrough in cancer research by demonstrating for the first time in patient-derived colorectal cell lines that a turmeric extract (curcumin) is not only an effective adjunct agent to enhance conventional chemotherapy, but that it may be even more effective on its own.

Published this month in Cancer Letters and titled, “Curcumin inhibits cancer stem cell phenotypes in ex vivo models of colorectal liver metastases, and is clinically safe and tolerable in combination with FOLFOX chemotherapy,” the study evaluated the so-called “diet-derived agent” curcumin — the primary polyphenol in turmeric — as a possible adjunct to enhance conventional treatment of colorectal cancer with chemotherapy.

Cancer Letter curcumin

click to view the full free study

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Curcumin Helps Menopausal Women Mitigate Metabolic Alterations And Lose Fat

Curcumin is a compound found in the spice turmeric which gives it a natural pigment. It has been linked to a range of health benefits, and now researchers have found it helps mitigate metabolic and oxidative alterations caused by hormone deprivation in events such as menopause.

Intake of curcumin at ‘physiologically attainable’ doses have recently been reported to slow the development of many disease including cancer. It even outperforms pharmaceuticals without side effects.

Previous research in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests that curcumin may be useful for the treatment and prevention of obesity-related chronic diseases, as the interactions of curcumin with several signal transduction pathways — the process by which biological functions are recognized — also reverse insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and other inflammatory symptoms associated with obesity and metabolic disorders.

Researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul published a report in the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity journal that outlines how curcumin may reverse aging symptoms, such as bone loss and weight gain, associated with post-menopausal animals and humans.

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Prevent Breast Cancer With These Four Foods

The U.S. spends billions of dollars every year on cancer research, with breast cancer receiving the lion’s share of the funding. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, funding for breast cancer research in 2012 reached a staggering $602 million—twice as much as that allocated for lung cancer research.1

While some research on prevention measures exists, many of the studies on breast cancer focus on genetics, diagnosis and treatment—including novel drug/chemotherapy regimens, stem cell therapy and antibody and nanotechnology treatments.

However, doesn’t it make sense to do everything in your power to protect yourself from getting a horrible disease like cancer? Prevention is a whole lot easier than grueling treatments after diagnosis.

Fortunately, you don’t have to look far to find some of the best breast cancer preventives. In fact, most are probably already in your kitchen.

Broccoli

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The Real Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease Revealed

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Researchers have not even gotten close to creating effective long-term therapies for this disease. However, a recent breakthrough may open many new doors in the way of prevention, treatment and, hopefully, a cure.

For the past two decades, Alzheimer’s research has focused on what was considered the prime culprit in the development of the disease—amyloid-beta. This sticky protein fragment accumulates in the brain and forms plaques. These plaques disrupt cellular communication in the brain, triggering an inflammatory response that ultimately harms the cells.

But research out of the Mayo Clinic shows that another protein called tau may have an even more significant role in Alzheimer’s disease.1

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The Best Cancer Fighting and Immune Boosting Food Choices for Beating and Avoiding Cancer

Cancer fighting foods2

The right food choices can greatly increase the odds of beating cancer and nature offers a multitude of foods which have intrinsic cancer fighting and immune boosting properties. Here are some of the very best cancer fighting and immune boosting superstars:

Cruciferous Vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale are among the most powerful cancer fighting foods to be found. Cruciferous vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and important antioxidants such as beta carotene and the sulforaphane compound. Cruciferous vegetables contain isothiocyanates; phytochemicals which help break down potential carcinogens. They also contain indole-3-carbidol (I3C), which help prevent estrogen driven cancers. Other cruciferous vegetables are: arugula, bok choy, swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, daikon, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, rutabagas, turnips and watercress.

Curcumin (turmeric). Curcumin, the major ingredient of the spice turmeric, has been a rising star against cancer in recent years. Numerous studies have reported curcumin’s cancer fighting abilities and prevention abilities, including one study which found that curcumin helps prevent lung cancer for tobacco smokers.

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Cancer as a Curable Metabolic Disease

Cancer as a Metabolic Disease

Published on jeffreydachmd.com

We have lost the war against cancer.  This becomes obvious by taking a quick look at the chart below.  Cancer Death Rates have declined slightly since 1975 due to reduction in lung cancer rates from decreased cigarette consumption.  Otherwise, there has been little change.

Lung cancer cell division, SEM

Above left lung cancer cell dividing courtesy of NIH.  Below chart image courtesy of Scientific American.War_On_Cancer_Lost_spector_cancer_Fig_22

The Failure of Chemotherapy

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How WHOLE Turmeric Heals The Damaged Brain

How Whole Turmeric Heals The Damaged Brain

Long considered impossible to accomplish, new research reveals how a simple spice might contribute to the regeneration of the damaged brain.

Turmeric is hands down one of the, if not the, most versatile healing spice in the world with over 600 experimentally confirmed health benefits, and an ancient history filled with deep reverence for its seemingly compassionate power to alleviate human suffering.

But, most of the focus over the past decade has been centered on only one of its many hundreds of phytocompounds: namely, the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin which gives the spice its richly golden hue.  This curcumin-centric focus has lead to the development of some very good products, such as phospholipid bound curcumin concentrate (e.g. Meriva, BCM-95) which greatly helps to increase the absorption and bio-activity of curcumin. But, curcumin isolates are only capable of conferring a part of turmeric’s therapeutic power – and therein lies the limitation and hubris of the dominant ‘isolate the active ingredient’ model.

Indeed, it has become typical within the so-called nutraceutical industry to emulate the pharmaceutical model, which focuses on identifying a particular “monochemical” tree within the forest of complexity represented by each botanical agent, striving to standardize the delivery of each purported ‘active ingredient’ with each serving, as if it were a pharmaceutical drug. These extraction and isolation processes also generates proprietary formulas which are what manufacturers want to differentiate their product from all others and henceforth capture a larger part of the market share; a value proposition that serves the manufacturer and not the consumer/patient.

Truth be told, there is no singular ‘magic bullet’ in foods and herbs responsible for reproducing the whole plant’s healing power.  There are, in fact, in most healing plants or foods hundreds of compounds orchestrated by the intelligent ‘invisible hand’ of God or ‘Nature,’ or whatever you wish to call it, and which can never be reduced to the activity of a singularly quantifiable phytocompound or chemical.

Beyond The Curcumin ‘Magic Bullet’ Meme

Now, an exciting new study published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy provides additional support for the concept that curcumin alone is not enough to explain the healing power of turmeric as a whole plant. The study found that a little known, fat-soluble component within turmeric – Ar-tumerone – may make “a promising candidate to support regeneration in neurologic disease.”

Titled, “Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo,” German researchers evaluated the effects of this turmeric-derived compound on neural stem cells (NSCs) – the subgroup of brain cells capable of continuous self-renewal required for brain repair.

The study found that when brain cells were exposed to ar-tumerone, neural stem cells increased in number through enhanced proliferation. Moreover, these newly formed neural stem cells also increased the number of fully differentiated neuronal cells, indicating a healing effect was taking place. This effect was also observed in a live animal model, showing that rats injected with ar-tumerone into their brains experienced increases in neural stem cell proliferation and the creation of newly formed healthy brain cells.

This study did not go unnoticed by major medical news channels. Here are some good reviews if you wish to explore the implications in greater depth:

The GreenMedInfo.com Turmeric Database Confirms It’s Brain-Saving Power!

As you may already know, our database is the world’s most extensive open access natural medical database on over 1,800 different natural substances, with over 1600 study abstracts on turmeric’s healing properties indexed thus far: view the Turmeric research page here to view!  If you take a look at the laundry list of over 600 diseases that this spice (or its components, e.g. curcumin) has been studied for to prevent and/or treat, the sheer volume of supportive literature is astounding. Amazingly, we have identified over 180 physiological pathways – according to their conventional pharmacological characterization, e.g. COX-2 inhibitor, Interleukin 6 down-regulator – by which turmeric or its components heals the human body.  In addition, you will find over 100 articles on turmeric’s neuroprotective properties on this page: Turmeric as a Neuroprotective agent.

The research clearly indicates that turmeric is a great brain supportive plant. For a more layperson oriented review, read the following articles:

How To Get The Most Out of Your Turmeric

One of the most frequent questions we field is ‘what is the best type of turmeric or curcumin to use’? Obviously, given the aforementioned research, the whole plant is going to carry a wider range of therapeutic compounds than curcumin alone. And yet, most have been heavily enculturated to focus entirely on the ‘how much’ question, opting to identify the molecular weight (i.e. how many milligrams in a serving) of a particular compound as more important than the qualitative dimensions (e.g. is it organic? It is delivered within its natural context as food or a whole plant?) which reflect the type of nutrigenomic information the substance contains, and therefore the ‘intelligence’ it embodies. To learn more about the intelligence of food watch my e-course ‘The Wisdom of Food.’

And really, there is no generic answer to a generic question about the best way to take turmeric/curcumin. The question always comes from an individual with a particular need, and so, recommendations must be bio-individualized.

For instance, if you have colonic inflammation or polyps, and you are trying to use turmeric to reduce inflammation there or regress precancerous growths, then using the whole plant is best versus a highly bioavailable form of curcumin in capsule form (e.g. Meriva), for instance, which will likely be absorbed by the small intestine and mostly pass through the liver never getting adequate quantities to the large intestine. So, in this person’s case taking a teaspoon of relatively difficult to absorb turmeric may result in painting the diseased surfaces of that person’s intestinal or colonic lumen with exactly the form needed to reverse disease.

But what if you have someone who wants to experience a systemic effect, say, for arthritis or for brain cancer? In these instances, getting turmeric compounds such as curcumin through the glucuronidation barrier in the liver with a phospholipid-bound or black pepper (piperine) combination could be ideal. There is certainly a place for the ‘nutraceutical’ model when properly applied, especially when provided as an adjuvant to the pharmaceutical model within an integrative medical setting.

Ultimately, the goal is not to wait to have such a serious health problem that you have to force yourself to take a ‘heroic dose’ of any herb or food extract. Better is to use small amounts in culinary doses in combination with ingredients that synergize on a physiochemical/informational and sensual basis (producing the all important vitamin P [pleasure] as well!). Recently we actually featured a study that showed culinary doses of rosemary helped improve memory whereas higher ‘heroic’ doses impaired it!

This is why exploring the use of turmeric in curries, or by adding a pinch in a smoothie, may be an ideal daily supplementation approach, versus capsules, whose questionably ‘natural’ capsules and excipients all can add up to cause some stress on the liver you are trying to protect with these natural interventions.  Just remember quality is everything and less is more!