Curcumin is an extract that comes from the spice turmeric and after many studies it has been shown to possess important components that maybe beneficial for certain forms of cancer. Studies have shown that curcumin has chemo-preventive traits that may have the potential to eliminate around ten causative factors involved in the development of cancer.
In a report by J. Everett Borger, he discusses how, when one of these causative factors are disrupted you can increase the chances of preventing cancer and if you are able to disrupt several factors you increase the chances of preventing cancer even more, which may even prevent DNA damage.
What is Cancer
Before we look at curcumin and the effects it has on cancer, its good you have a little knowledge on what cancer is and how it affects the human body.
Cancer is simply a disease whereby abnormal cells multiply without control and they are capable of attacking other body tissues. This cancer cells are dangerous as they are able to spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system.
Cancer can be classified into five main groups;
- Sarcoma – a cancer that starts in the bones or any other connective and supportive tissues
- Carcinoma – a cancer that starts mainly in the skin
- Leukemia – a cancer that starts in blood
- Lymphoma – a cancer that starts in immune system cells and central nervous system cancers which originates from the brain and spinal tissues.
Curcumin may be beneficial as a potential cancer preventive in several ways. One way is through blocking the main inflammatory molecule NF-kB or nuclear factor-kappaB as its known, this reduces the levels of inflammatory cytokines in the body which then lowers the risk associated with cancer. It also hinders the creation of dangerous AGE which can lead to cancerous mutation.
Curcumin strengthens cellular warning signs to ensure cellular replication is as required thus helping in curbing uncontrolled new tissues in the growth of tumors. Curcumin has the capability of promoting apoptosis in cancer cells that multiply rapidly without touching any of the healthy tissues. It lives in the tumor growth by making tumors weaker to treatments that kill pharmacologic cells.
In addition to this Curcumin further increases the death of cancer cells through triggering mitochondrial-mediated deaths in the tumor tissues and also interjects with spreading of tumor by blocking molecules that would create conducive environment for tumor related tissues. Curcumin also starve the tumors by reducing their blood supplies. Its through this actions that Curcumin has the potential to prevent many forms of cancer before they develop.
Breast cancers besides varying greatly also respond to treatments differently.
- Cancer dependent on estrogen to survive may benefit more by being treated through normal methods.
- Cancers that do not have receptors for female hormones are more difficult to treat as they have greater resistance to normal cancer treatments.
According to the report In certain hormone negative cancers curcumin is able to prompt apoptosis - where the cell uses certain things to kill itself (programmed cell death) yet do not produce any change in healthy breast cells even at high doses.
Curcumin may have the following positive effects as far as breast treatment is concerned;
- It disrupts breast cancer cell cycle thereby stopping their replication
- Blocks renewal and growth of the cancer stem cells
- Blocks molecules that assists in the process of metastasis
Research has indicated that Curcumin may aid in the fight against cervical cancer which is a major cause of death in both developing and developed countries.
Studies have indicated that prostate cancer is number two when it comes to cause of cancer death in American men. The studies show that curcumin may assist in preventing the spread of cancer cells, by striking various multiple areas of prostate cancer cells.
Just like in the breast cancer, prostate cancer depends on the male sex hormone in order to develop. Curcumin may reduce the hormone receptors in the prostate thus impairing the cancer cells ability to respond to the effects of testosterone.
Curcumin has also been shown to be effective in its ability to prevent gastrointestinal cancers.
- Colorectal cancer is said to be the third most common tumor in adults
- The second leading cause of cancer death
- 50% of people also develop another tumor despite being aggressively treated
Curcumin may be ideal in trying to prevent colorectal cancers as these types of cancers follow predictable sequences from the polyp stage to full blown growths.
Curcumin may have the ability to reduce development by destroying inflammation caused by NF-k8 cytokines thereby slowing down the growth of cancer cells before they become detectable tumors.
Cancer is said to be the second highest cause of death in United States as well as some other developing nations in the world and studies have shown conclusive that curcumin is a potential preventive in many forms of cancer.
A study conducted in 2007 and published in Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology demonstrated that CurcuminX4000 provided higher bio-availability as opposed to the standard curcumin extract.