Cancer researchers from around the country are taking a closer look at the health benefits of an ancient spice found in curry.
Researchers including Dr. Bharat Aggarwal from the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas have found that a substance in turmeric called curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
Dr. Aggarwal says preliminary, human trials from M.D. Anderson, John Hopkins and UCLA suggest curcumin supplements may become an inexpensive, non-toxic anti-cancer agent some day.
Dr. Aggarwal was kind enough to answer these viewer questions about turmeric and curcumin supplements:
#1) My dad has 3A Multiple Myeloma and has been taking 500mg of Tumeric for a year and a half. Should he be eating the actual spice along with taking the capsule form of Tumeric?
YES, HE CAN ADD IT TO HIS FOOD. HE SHOULD TAKE CURCUMIN (NOT TURMERIC) SUPPLEMENTS, FOUR TIMES A DAY.
TAKE 2 GRAMS OF CURCUMIN, FOUR TIMES A DAY, FOR 3 MONTHS TO SEE IF HE NOTICES A DIFFERENCE.
(2 GRAMS WOULD BE 4 PILLS, 500MG EACH. A TOTAL OF 16 PILLS EACH DAY. MAKE SURE YOU SLOWLY WORK YOUR WAY UP TO THAT DOSAGE. TAKING TOO MUCH, TOO SOON CAN CAUSE CRAMPING AND DIARRHEA)
#2) Which human trial with curcumin has impressed you the most? How much curcumin was given?
SEVERAL TRIALS HAVE BEEN DONE. ALL HAVE SHOWN SOME BENEFIT. SEE DOSE ABOVE.
CLINICAL TRIAL FROM JOHN HOPKINS DONE WITH PATIENTS HAVING ABBERANT CRYPT FOCI (HIGH RISK FOR COLON CANCER) SHOWED AS LITTLE AS 500 MG CURCUMIN THRICE DAILY FOR 3 MONTHS CAUSED OVER 60% REDUCTION IN POLYPS. CELECOXIB , A STANDARD TREATMENT APPROVED BY THE FDA, IN COMPARISON REDUCED THESE POLYPS ONLY BY 26%.
#3) Is there a recommended preventative supplement dose? What should I look for on the label?
EVERYDAY DOSE FOR NORMAL PERSON IS 500 MG PER DAY.
#4) What diseases do you think can be improved with this spice or supplement?
WHERE EVER INFLAMMATION IS A MAJOR MEDIATOR. THIS INCLUDES CANCER, DIABETES, OBESITY, ALZHEIMER, AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, ARTHRITIS, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES ETC. ETC.
#5) How can I enroll in an upcoming trial?
WE HAVE MORE PATIENTS THAN WE CAN HANDLE.
#6) Is there a specific food I should eat with the spice or supplement to improve absorption?
MIX CURCUMIN WITH COOKING OIL OR YOGURT OR MILK.
#7) How have your cancer patients felt after taking high doses of curcumin supplement?
BETTER IN MOST CASES. DEPRESSION, FATIGUE, NEUROPATHIC PAIN, LACK OF APPETITE AND LACK OF SLEEP, ARE SYMPTOMS WHERE CURCUMIN CAN HELP. MOST PATIENTS FEEL THAT THEY HAVE MORE ENERGY THAN EVER BEFORE.
#8) I've hear turmeric is in mustard. Would I have to eat a lot to get a benefit?
MUSTARD HAS CURCUMIN BUT ONLY SMALL AMOUNTS.
#9) Who should take curcumin or eat the spice?
#10) What are your recommendations for people who want to take curcumin? Are there are conflicts with certain medications or potential issues I should tell my doctor?
CURCUMIN IS A BLOOD THINNER AND THUS NEED TO BE CAREFUL.
I was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer stage IIIC and currently undergoing chemo treatments after having a total hysterectomy, colon re-resection and debulking in July.
#11) Is it safe to take curcumin supplements during chemo treatments (Taxol and Cisplatin)? I will be undergoing my fifth of six rounds of chemo this week - my CA125 was 35 after surgery, 18 after my first round of chemo and 8 after my second and third rounds.
#12) How much should I take to help prevent cancer re-occurrence?
FOUR TIMES A DAY, 2 GRAM EACH TIME.
#13) Are there any concerns I should have by taking Turmeric supplements?
ONLY 2-5% OF TURMERIC IS CURCUMIN.
#14) What have the results been with your patients taking Turmeric?
ALL POSITIVE. NO SIDE EFEFCTS