Turmeric is well known Indian spice that gives yellow color to different types of food. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Many experts mention that turmeric could be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence (especially for cancer prevention and even treatment).
During last decades several publications were devoted to the miracle properties of turmeric – some experts suggest the turmeric prevents, slows and kills the growth of various types of cancer, particularly tumors of the esophagus, mouth, intestines, stomach, breast and skin.
Can we consider turmeric as an anticancer product? What are anticancer turmeric real functions and interactions in human body? Can turmeric be recommended to women who suffer from cancer?
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant from ginger family – it is well known wildly grown SAF plant native to southeast India known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-tumor properties. Turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years and it is a major part of Siddha medicine. Turmeric is also known as curcuma longa. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric – it is a very strong antioxidant. Curcumin is identified as the most active ingredient – curcumin consists about 3% of the dried turmeric powder.
SAF nutrients are produced by plants and other organisms in response to stress. Their main important activity is increasing organisms’ survivability under life-threatening conditions.
SAF nutrients have shown to extend the survivability not only of the organism that produces them, but also of the organisms that consume them – animals and humans alike.
SAF nutrients generally possess immune enhancing, anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic and anti-aging properties.
Science about Turmeric
Scientific experiments on animals demonstrated that most active ingredient of turmeric called “curcuma” interferes with key molecular pathways involved in cancer formation and metastasis. Recent studies have shown that curcumin induces growth inhibiting effects and reduces development of several forms of cancer in lab animals.
Some studies were performed in humans and it was noted that due to poor absorption curcumin needs to be taken in large dosages in order to reach the circulation. However, even though it has poor absorption to the blood circulation, curcumin has shown a greater absorption capacity into the colon lining and related cancerous tissues.
Looking at existing scientific studies, we can conclude that curcumin has the most evidence-based literature analysis which is demonstrating effectiveness of curcumin in its use against cancer.
Surprisingly the turmetic (mainly curcumin) appears to be equally useful for almost every type of cancer. Curcumin has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression – it is destroying cancer cells and promoting healthy cell functions. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis, meaning it helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth. It was discovered that curcumin is able to:
Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells;
Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor;
Support human body in destroying mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout the body;
Decrease inflammation processes;
Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation;
Stop angiogenesis – development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth.
Turmeric is able to prevent cancer. Turmeric is a very special “super food” which can stop cancer from growing and spreading into other organs. It causes cancer cells to commit suicide.
Many scientists have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment taking into consideration that curcumin (in lab tests) can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level.
Some experts (mainly nutritionists) recommend using high-doses of curcumin (preferably with an absorption enhancer like pepper) in cases of human cancer. A new study shows that a combination of curcumin and piperine can limit the growth of stem cells for breast cancer — the cells that conventional treatment has the hardest time eliminating. If curcumin and piperine can target stem cells, they have the potential to be useful in many types of breast cancer, particularly those that aren’t estrogen-sensitive – these are often the most aggressive.
In principle, curcumin is a common food product which was used for centures and it is not harmful. Regular use of curcumin with food can be a good idea for cancer prevention as well as for cancer survival (after traditional cancer treatments). There is some evidence that curcumin could help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system (like colorectal cancer).
Anyway, curcumin leads to several changes on the molecular level that could help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer. More studies are needed for making curcuma a part of traditional cancer treatment modules.
Important to know that curcumin is fat soluble and it is a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.
Better to avoid turmeric (curcumin) during chemotherapy as well as a three days before and after the treatment. This is because it can interfere with some chemotherapy treatments and reduce their benefits.
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.