What Is Curcumin?

Curcumin, an active ingredient found in turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds often found in plants that can protect the body’s cells from damage caused by activated molecules known as free radicals.

Curcumin has long been used in Asian medicine to treat a variety of ailments. New research suggests that curcumin can help prevent or even treat cancer.

Due to the antioxidant qualities of Curcumin, it decreases swelling and inflammation which led to it’s exploration as a cancer treatment.  Turmeric a member of the ginger family,  may prevent and slow the growth of a number of types of cancer tumors, particularly tumors of the esophagus, mouth, intestines, stomach, breast, and skin.

Turmeric is promoted mainly as an anti-inflammatory and is said to produce fewer side effects than commonly used pain relievers. Some practitioners prescribe turmeric to relieve inflammation caused by arthritis, muscle sprains, swelling, and pain caused by injuries or surgical incisions. It is also promoted as a treatment for rheumatism and as an antiseptic for cleaning wounds.

Some proponents claim turmeric interferes with the actions of some viruses, including hepatitis and HIV.

  • Curcumin kills cancer cells through apoptosis, curcumin causes the cancers cells to self-destruct.
  • Curcumin blocks estrogen-like chemicals and can be very important for cancers that are dependent on estrogen receptor binding.
  • Curcumin enhances Immunity…one of the mechanisms by which curcumin works is by increasing the immune system.
  • Curcumin Stops Angiogenesis

What Studies Are Telling Us.

Some studies indicate that turmeric protects against liver diseases, stimulates the gallbladder and circulatory systems, reduces cholesterol levels, dissolves blood clots, helps stop external and internal bleeding, and relieves painful menstruation and angina (chest pains that often occur with heart disease). It is also used as a remedy for digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and illnesses caused by toxins from parasites and bacteria.

Lab studies suggest that curcumin can help slow the growth of cancer cells, and more indications show that it can do the same in humans.

It’s now becoming more widely accepted that cancer is not pre-programmed into your genes, but rather it’s the environment of your body that regulates your genetic expression that can trigger cancer to occur. Adverse epigenetic influences that can damage or mutate DNA and alter genetic expression, allowing cancer to proliferate, include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances
  • Toxins and pollution
  • Chronic infections
  • Infectious toxic byproducts
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Free radical damage
  • Thoughts and emotional conflicts

Curcumin currently has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer among all nutrients. Interestingly this also includes the metabolite of curcumin and its derivatives, which are also anti-cancerous. Best of all, curcumin appears to be safe in the treatment of all cancers.

Researchers have found that curcumin can affect more than 100 different pathways, once it gets into the cell. More specifically, curcumin has been found to:

  • Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
  • Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
  • Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
  • Help prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (angiogenesis)

Much of curcumin’s power seems to lie in its ability to modulate genetic activity and expression—both by destroying cancer cells, and by promoting healthy cell function. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis, i.e. it helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth.

In 2005, a study in Biochemical Pharmacology  found that curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.

“Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch,” said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal. “Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells.

The Evidence

Curcumin,  is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds often found in plants that can protect the body’s cells from damage caused by activated molecules known as free radicals. Laboratory studies have also shown that curcumin interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth, and spread. Researchers have reported that curcumin inhibited the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents.

Recently, curcumin has received a great deal more attention in studies than turmeric as a whole herb. Researchers are studying curcumin to learn whether it is an effective anti-inflammatory agent and whether it holds any promise for cancer prevention or treatment. A number of studies of curcumin have shown promising results. Curcumin can kill cancer cells in laboratory dishes and also slows the growth of the surviving cells. Curcumin has been found to reduce development of several forms of cancer in lab animals and to shrink animal tumors.

Human studies of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment are in the very early stages. In scientific studies, curcumin does not absorb well from the intestine, so that big doses must be taken for even small amounts to get into the blood circulation. Large doses of curcumin would need to be taken in order to study any effects it might have in the body.

One study of 15 patients with colorectal cancer was done to find out how much curcumin they could safely take, and whether they could take a dose large enough to even be detected in the blood. The patients were able to take 3.6 grams of curcumin without noting ill effects. At this high dose, some curcumin and its products were found in the blood. Lower doses may be enough to directly affect the stomach and intestine. Even though it does not absorb well into the bloodstream, curcumin absorbs into the colon lining and into cancerous tissues in the colon. Small studies have found most people in study groups were able to take up to 10 grams of curcumin per day for a period of a few weeks without noticing problems other than the large volume of pills. There are also studies going on now that try different ways to formulate curcumin so that it absorbs well enough to be tested in humans.

A 2011 study took advantage of the fact that curcumin stays in the intestine rather than absorbing into the blood. Researchers tested it to find out if it could reduce the number of cancer precursors in the colon and rectum. They measured compounds that help promote cancer in rats, did colonoscopies to count abnormal crypt foci (a very early sign that colon cancer may be developing) in biopsy samples, then gave 2 to 4 grams of curcumin a day to 44 smokers. After a month on the curcumin, the researchers did second colonoscopies and biopsies to see if there was a lower concentration of pro-carcinogenic substances in the colon and rectum. The compounds were at the same level as they were before the study. But the smokers who took 4 grams of curcumin a day had fewer abnormal crypt foci after the study, while the smokers who took 2 grams a day had the same number as before.

Curcumin is being studied to see whether it helps other diseases as well. One small study of curcumin and another antioxidant called quercetin was done in adults who had kidney transplants. Those who took the combination in high dosages had fewer transplant rejections than those who received lower doses or placebo.

Early research has suggested that curcumin may help lower “bad” cholesterol, reduce inflammation, help ulcerative colitis, and reduce arthritis symptoms, although more reliable human studies are still needed. Tests of curcumin in HIV disease have been mixed and have generally not shown it to be helpful. In studies of mice, curcumin appeared to help block the plaques and proteins that cause problems in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease. Human studies have already started to look at this.

It is important to remember that extracted compounds such as curcumin are not the same as the whole herb. Studies that look at a whole herb often show different effects, and the quantity of whole herb needed to produce a certain effect in the body would be greater than for an extract.

Things To Consider.

At Sunridge Medical, learning about you as an individual, as well as the type of cancer you are fighting, is critically important in determining the individual treatment that will work best for you. Treating cancer and working with you to regain your health is what Sunridge Medical does best. Conventional approaches such as chemotherapy and radiation cannot be used continually because of their high toxicity and the side effects that are often more dangerous to a long life than the cancer itself.

Sunridge Medical offers cancer solutions drawn on the newest, evidence-based holistic, alternative, and integrative treatments that are based on your body chemistry and your body and medical history

Note: This information may not cover all possible claims, uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions. It is not intended as medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with a doctor, who is familiar with your medical situation.


For answers to your questions or to make an appointment, call us toll-free at 800-923-7878 to speak with a Patient Care Representative. Let us help you get your life back.


How can Sunridge Medical help?

At Sunridge Medical, our highly-trained physicians are experts in providing an integrated approach to the treatment of cancer and chronic disease. Our treatment plans are individualized and involve both traditional and alternative medicines. The physicians at Sunridge Medical have found that symptoms frequently can be improved and even reversed with our natural treatments. We take a holistic approach to patient care and strive not only treat the disease, but also alleviate symptoms, increase quality of life and, most importantly, address the underlying cause of disease.

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