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Could a simple curry conquer cancer? That’s a good question and not to be taken lightly, researchers are delving into the topic and health benefits of curcumin and tumor growth. Curcumin is a component of one of the spices called Turmeric,used to make a curry giving it a distinct flavour and colour.. Traditional Asian medicine has used Turmeric in treatment of a range of maladies for centuries. Modern science is exploring curcumin as a possible weapon in the growing search of cancer-fighting substances. Its recommended that you talk with your doctor before using any supplement, especially if you have health problems or take other medicines.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, the
powdered root of the Curcuma longa plant. Turmeric is a high-profile
ingredient in East Indian cuisine, and gives curry its warm golden
color. The curcumin found in turmeric has antioxidant and
anti-inflammatory properties that suggest it may be helpful in fighting
cancer. Curcumin isn't well absorbed, so you need very large doses to
get any into the circulatory system, reports the American Cancer
Society. More recently studies have shown that the component Piperine which appears naturally in Black Pepper can increase bio availability of curcumin by a massive 2000%. This is exciting news for a lot of sufferers who now find that rather then 80% or the curcumin passing through the body to no effect, it is all used.
A wide range of doses have been tested in humans, ranging from 0.5 g per day up to 12 g per day, reports the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. The available evidence indicates that doses of at least 3.6 to 4 g per day are necessary in order for curcumin to accumulate to detectable levels in the blood. With the addition of piperine these doses can be reduced and the levels are more detectable in the blood.
Curcumin is classified as "Generally Recognized as
Safe", or GRAS, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Taking large
doses of curcumin, up to 12 g per day, does not appear to increase the
risk of severe adverse reactions, explains the Linus Pauling Institute
at Oregon State University. Due to this lack of toxicity, the Institute
of Medicine has not set a tolerable upper intake level of curcumin.
While high doses of curcumin do not cause serious side effects, large doses may increase the risk of mild side effects, warns the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Possible side effects include nausea, indigestion and diarrhea. Ingesting curcumin may also increase gallbladder contractions, which can worsen symptoms in people who have gallstones. This is why piperine can be so important, if you do suffer from these mild side effects you can reduce the dose add piperine and still get the full benefit plus more
Numerous studies have focused on curcumin’s cancer-fighting potential. According to the journal “Nutrition and Cancer,” curcumin makes tumors more sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation, making them more susceptible to these forms of cancer treatment. The journal suggests that use of curcumin as a chemosensitizer would allow these therapies to be more effective at lower dosages, which would be less toxic to healthy tissue.
Curcumin can pass through the blood-brain barrier, a defensive shield that keeps many substances from entering the brain. A study published in “Brain Research” in 2009 reported that laboratory tests of curcumin found that it activates substances that kill both brain and lung cancer tumors. The study determined that curcumin both prevents brain tumor formation and kills brain tumor cells. Though these studies are promising, they were performed in test tubes, not on patients. More research is needed to confirm the effects of curcumin in live patients.