Can curcumin help cure cancer?
2018-09-29 10:31 Saturday
The British Medical Journal, a leading academic journal, reported on an unusual recent case of cancer rehabilitation. A middle-aged woman with advanced myeloma, a cancer caused by bone marrow plasma cell disease, consumed curcumin, a spice in curry, everyday after her treatments had failed.
Five years later, her cancel was under control and all health indicators had returned to normal. This example of a folk remedy as a cancer treatment has been controversial within the medical community and general public.
Curcumin, an acidic polyphenol compound obtained from the root of turmeric, is a component of the traditional Chinese medicine curcuma. Modern pharmacological studies have shown that curcumin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumor, cholagogue, lipid-lowering, bacteriostatic and anti-senile dementia effects. Curcumin contains curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and desmethoxycurcumin, three curcuminoids.
Turmeric is not Ginger
Ginger is a common cooking ingredient that boosts the body's metabolism and regulates body temperature. The key nutrient is gingerol.
Turmeric looks almost indistinguishable from ginger, but in fact has a darker color. Turmeric also has a slightly spicy and bitter taste, best described as a mixture of pepper, musk, orange and ginger.
Curcumin is a natural pigment, so it is usually used as a colorant of meat food and PH indicator. Because of it is insoluble in water, it is not easy to absorb. Furthermore, low bioavailability and rapid metabolism greatly limit curcumin's wide clinical application.
Curcumin is generally sold as a health product, and there are many curcumin products on the market, each with slightly different content and functions. As of yet, no curcumin product has been approved as a cancer drug.
Since the health functions of turmeric and its extracts have been gradually confirmed, suppliers are no longer content with selling them as mere ingredients, leading to its increased visibility in the dietary supplement market where it has emerged in the ready-to-drink beverage format.
Notably, Sabinsa Corp has launched the turmeric extract product UC3 Clear, which contains water-soluble curcumin.
Other companies have also entered the market: Temple Turmeric released a new turmeric beverage brand, Hawaiian Oana Turmeric;, and Nordic Naturals has developed fish oil and turmeric gel products.
Curcumin is insoluble in water but is able to take beverage form thanks to liquid curcumin (e.g. NovaSOL Curcumin of Frutarom Health), which is stable, and clear, making it especially suitable for sports nutrition drinks.
According to research from Innova Market Insight, in the past five years (2013-2017), the number of new curcumin products increased by 150%, a compound annual growth rate of 9%. Among all curcumin products, hot drinks are the fastest-growing category, featuring a compound annual growth rate of 47%, followed by ready-to-drink beverages, with a compound annual growth rate of 27%.
Further Research has indicated that consumer awareness of health and dietary trends has increased in recent years, which has led to growing interest in curcumin. Anti-arthritis curcumin products are most prominent, followed by the products that improve motor recovery and immunity.
Turmeric and curcumin have various beneficial functions for human health, including reducing the risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It's worth noting that the body's absorption rate of curcumin is very low, but consumingboth piperine and curcumin can increase the body's absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%.