Monday, March 21, 2011

Curcumin is a Powerful Anti-Cancer Agent

(Article first published as This Indian Spice Packs a Powerful Anti-Cancer Punch on Technorati.)
Known as a staple in the Indian diet, curry and its powerful polyphenol derivative curcumin have rapidly gained attention as a potent antioxidant compound that is used to prevent and treat many forms of cancer. Curcumin is taking its rightful place among a small handful of agents that fight cancer at the genetic level by inhibiting ten critical initiation steps necessary for development and progression of the disease.

The spice can no longer be considered an herbal remedy as it has demonstrated efficacy in more than 240 peer reviewed research studies over the past year alone. Scientists continue to provide conclusive evidence that indicates all health-minded adults should include curcumin as part of their regular diet.

Curcumin Influences Gene Expression That Leads to Cancer
Cancer is known to develop through ten independent causative factors including DNA damage, chronic inflammation, cellular signaling dysfunction, abnormal cell death and metastasis. As if designed by nature to provide a protective shield against each of the factors known to promote cancer, curcumin has been shown to inhibit and halt the expression of genes that allow cancer cells to multiply.

Publishing in the AAPS Journal, researchers found that curcumin is an inexpensive natural compound that fights cancer at its root cause by derailing the initiation phase of ten different pathways used by the disease to multiply and spread throughout the body. Curcumin has also been shown to interfere with the production of advanced glycation end products that promote the accumulation of dangerous inflammatory byproducts that lead to cancerous mutations.

Curcumin Shown to Trigger Natural Cell Death to Prevent Cancer
The FEBS Journal reports that curcumin is particularly effective in targeting hormone-dependent forms of the disease such as breast cancer. The study found that curcumin is able to induce apoptosis (normal programmed cell death) in the most resistant breast cancer cells that lack estrogen receptors. The spice targets only cancerous cells causing them to self-destruct by destroying the mitochondria that power the rapidly growing tumor tissue.

Curcumin is a potent agent in the fight against colon cancer, an insidious form of the disease that ranks second among cancer deaths taking the lives of more than 50,000 Americans each year. The Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research provides evidence that curcumin slows the progression from colon polyp to cancerous growth by damping the pro-inflammatory cytokine called NF-kB. This action halts the development of cancer cells before they can become detectable tumors.

An extensive library of research underscores the importance of curcumin as an anti-cancer agent. As the second leading cause of death, cancer will affect 1 in 3 women and half of all men during their lifetime. Any natural compound that can help to lower these statistics should be embraced by traditional and alternative medical institutions alike. Nutritionists recommend supplementing with 250 to 400 mg of curcumin twice daily with meals to provide optimal cancer protection.

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