Used in the ancient Chinese and Indian systems of medicine, curcumin is a naturally powerful anticancer compound that has been found to decrease brain tumor size in animals by 81 percent in more than 9 studies. A derivative of turmeric, curcumin is the pigment responsible for turmeric’s yellow-orange color. Each 100 grams of turmeric contains around 3 to 5 grams of curcumin, though turmeric is a also very powerful on its own. New studies are shedding light on curcumin, and illuminating its numerous benefits on cancer and other diseases.
Researchers experimenting with curcumin in the treatment of a fatal brain cancer known as glioblastoma (GBMs) published their groundbreaking findings in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in July. Adding scientific basis to previous findings surrounding the positive effects of curcumin, they showed that the compound dramatically decreased brain tumors in 9 out of the 11 studies examined by 81 percent. Furthermore, there was no evidence of toxicity, whereas chemotherapy and other cancer treatments often result in extreme side effects that are sometimes worse than the actual disease. Curcumin is not only effective against brain cancer, however.
According to a study conducted in 2008 and published in Cancer Prevention Research, curcumin also inhibits the growth and spread of breast cancer cells by directly impacting the function of alpha6beta4 integrin, responsible for cancer progression. Another study, performed in 2010, found that curcumin also has the potential to target cancer stem cells. Following the wave of information of curcumin, researchers who posted their findings in Molecular Pharmacology classified curcumin as a pancreatic cancer cell inhibitor back in 2009. Even more interesting is the fact that in most of these studies the researchers concluded that curcumin may also aid many different types of cancer that were not included in the trials.
While an amazing anticancer substance, studies have also pinpointed curcumin as a tool against more than 572 other diseases. Some of these include, in order of study count: oxidative stress, inflammation, DNA damage, lipid peroxidation, chemically-induced liver disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and liver fibrosis. Curcumin has even been found to influence more than 700 genes, which could explain its link to DNA repair.
Curcumin is an amazing natural compound that has profound effects on cancer and hundreds of other diseases. While it has been widely studied compared to many other nutritional substances, studies are only beginning to recognize the healing effects of curcumin and turmeric.