Breast cancer is one of the most feared diseases that can affect both men and women.
Although breast cancer itself can be quite frightening, the possibility of it spreading to the lungs is particularly worrisome.
In some countries, breast cancer rates are surprisingly low, which have led scientists to examine the dietary habits of these citizens.
What they discovered was that people living in those regions, consumed on average 100-200g of turmeric a day, which contains curcumin, a cancer-fighting compound (1).
The Ultimate Breast Cancer Combination
In one study, co-ingestion of curcumin with 20 mg of the pepper constituent l-piperoylpiperidine appeared to increase curcumin’s bioavailability by 2000% (2).
Piperine, an alkaloid from black pepper, had been shown to inhibit the growth of human colon cancer cells by stopping the cancer cell cycle and inducing cell death, while distinguishing between healthy and cancerous cells (3).
On the other hand, curcumin inhibits tumor invasion and angiogenesis, preventing the spread of cancer to other regions of the body and induce death in breast cancer cells(4).
Human Clinical Trial (Phase I)
A phase I clinical human trial involved giving curcumin to 25 patients with precancerous changes in different organs. This study seemed to show that curcumin could stop the precancerous changes from becoming full-blown cancer. (source)
The combination seems to work most effectively on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that when the dietary compounds curcumin and piperine were applied to breast cells in culture, they decreased the number of stem cells while having no effect on normal differentiated cells.
“This shows that these compounds are not toxic to normal breast tissue,” says Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., R.D. a research investigator at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
“Women at high risk of breast cancer right now can choose to take the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene for prevention, but most women won’t take these drugs because there is too much toxicity. The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive, and curcumin and piperine appear to have very low toxicity.” (source)
Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have also found that curcumin inhibits metastasis to the lungs of mice with breast cancer (5).
It also appeared to reverse the effects of paclitaxel (TaxolTM), a commonly prescribed front-line chemotherapeutic agent for breast cancer that may trigger the spread of the disease over a long period of time. The drug alo frequently induces drug resistance after prolonged use, and is not effective in treating metastatic breast cancer (5).
Other Benefits Of This Combination
Flavorful and spicy, this mix goes well with just about anything!
1. Lowers Inflammation
Curcumin (6) and piperine(7) are both potent inflammation fighters. This is specifically interesting for people with osteoarthritis.
2. Fights Depression
Turmeric is said to be as effective as prozac in treating depression (8). Just add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and a few cracks of fresh pepper to your salad or soup for a quick mood boost.
3. Supports Weight Loss
Black pepper and turmeric can be a great combination to help turn fat-storing cells into fat-burning cells to help support weight loss. You can even add the combination to smoothies or use it as a rub on roasted vegetables.
Additional reading: How to Maximize Turmeric Absorption?