How Turmeric Can Help
Nature has provided in turmeric an extremely potent and promising spice that when taken often has significant health promoting actions.
The root of the turmeric plant is what is used, usually dried and milled into a powder for spicing foods.
Within the root are several phyto-constituents, one of which is curcumin and has been the subject of hundreds of research studies.[1, 2, 3, 4] Curcumin has been shown to provide antioxidant effects by helping cells to manage pesky ROS thus reducing oxidative damage.
As an antioxidant, curcumin works well with vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Curcumin found in turmeric is a strong inhibitor of pro-inflammatory NF-kB, TNF, and STAT3.[3, 4]
These cellular proteins, especially NF-kB are found to be highly active in inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease and NF-kB is highly active in cancer cells.
Curcumin has been shown to reduce the activation of NF-kB and other inflammatory proteins and in turn has shown to have anti-cancer effects.[3, 4] Curcumin can even sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy and radiation allowing for a lower dose of conventional interventions and less extreme side effects.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States. Curcumin has been shown to reduce breast cancer tumor formation and growth.
Curcumin also works to inhibit the formation of new blood vessels to a tumor site, cutting off the food supply to cancer cells. Studies also show that curcumin helps to reduce chemotherapy resistance in breast cancers.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Several studies have shown that curcumin not only helps to prevent prostate cancer formation, but also is an important agent that reduces and prevents metastasis of prostate cancer cells.[7, 8, 9]
Another study involved mice implanted with human prostate cancer cells. Four groups of mice were each given a separate therapy; chemotherapy, radiation, curumin, and no therapy.
Researchers found that curcumin worked best at controlling the progression of prostate cancer. Using curcumin in combination with cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, and cauliflower has shown an enhanced effect to stop and potentially reverse prostate cancer.