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Curcumin (Turmeric)

Posted Sep 30 2009 10:24pm

turmeric After receiving many emails requesting more information on Enhansa, which is curcumin, I decided to post one of the many informative pieces (thank you I have read on the subject.  I know this will help you all in understanding the benefits of this substance, and I encourage you to do your own research to discover more about the subject.

As most of you know by now, last month I put my entire family on Enhansa/curcumin and have seen some incredible changes.  Charlie’s language has exploded, he’s talking almost non-stop, as if he is making up for lost time.  He definitely had die-off, and has maintained good general health through a month filled with various flu bugs (knock on wood!).

My teenage daughter has become more social (I’m not kidding).  She went from miserable to adorable in a matter of weeks.  Am I saying curcumin can cure teenagers of their angst?  Nah.  I’m just saying she’s more social, especially with family.

I could swear my teenage son’s acne has improved, but I’m holding out on that one until I see it clear up.  I have not read anywhere that curcumin treats acne; however, because of its antimicrobial properties, I thought I’d give it a try.  I’m going to give it another two weeks and then I’ll give you a full report on any improvements, and what my son thinks about it.

As far as the adults in the house, my mother, my husband and I all take Enhansa.  Yesterday was our first day at the full dose, and I’m expecting to see some upset – as it seems each time we increase our dose we get a variety of side effects (sores, rashes, aches, extreme fatigue, bloating, diarrhea).  Stay tuned for more updates on my little curcumin experiment.

Here’s the article from

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the giner family, is a traditional Indian curry spice. It is also used as a yellow food coloring and has been used in traditional medicine in India and Ancient Egypt for at least 6000 years. In approximately the past 50 years, it has been subjected to numerous trials and studies and its use has been validated and clarified by modern science.

Curcumin, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Research indicates that curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, may help to reduce and/or prevent ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Researchers found that mice pretreated with curcumin experienced a clear reduction in intestinal inflammation when exposed to an irritant as compared to controls. The researchers also noted a reduction in DNA binding and inhibition of NF-kappa B activation. (1)

Curcumin and Cystic Fibrosis

Yale University researchers have discovered that curcumin may correct a cellular malformation that causes cystic fibrosis. In experiments with mice, curcumin corrected the cystic fibrosis defect and significantly increased the survival of the mice. Clinical trials in humans are under way. (2)

Curcumin and Cancer

Researchers have demonstrated that curcumin inhibited the growth and promoted cell death in three different melanoma cell lines. Curcumin appears to work by suppressing the production of the proteins in the cancer cells that normally protect the cells from cell death. All doses tested decreased cancer cell growth and triggered cell death. Higher doses were more effective, and the higher the dose used, the more cancer cells died. (3)

Curcumin triggered the death of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in a recent study published in Clinical Cancer Research. This research indicated that the addition of curcumin to cultures of squamous cell carcinoma resulted in a dose-dependent growth inhibition of three cell lines. Researchers also conducted in vivo studies with squamous cell tumors in mice. Topical application of curcumin also inhibited the growth of the cancer cells.

In addition, the researchers conducted in vivo studies by implanting squamous cell tumors in mice. Curcumin was applied as a noninvasive topical paste to the tumors and inhibition of tumor growth was observed. (4)

Additional research at the University of Texas demonstrated that curcumin can stop the spread of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. Curcumin stopped the activation of processes known to lead to the spread of myeloma cells and triggered apoptosis. Apoptosis is a process where cancer cells program themselves to die. (5)

Curcumin can stop the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells, according to a study in the journal Cancer. Researchers found that curcumin inhibited the production of interlukin-8, a protein produced by white blood cells that contributes to tumor growth. (6)

Curcumin and Prion Related (Mad Cow) Diseases

A recent study shows that curcumin can inhibit the accumulation of prions in vitro. Prions are proteins that are responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the scientific term for mad cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, as its called in humans. In this study, curcumin potently inhibited the accumulation of a type of prion called protease-resistant prion protein. Prions must convert from their original state to this protease-resistant state in order to cause disease. (7)

Curcumin and Alzheimer’s

Scientists recently discovered that curcumin reduces the amyloid protein plaques associated with Alzheimers disease. In a recent study involving animal brains injected with amyloid, curcumin reduced the accumulation of amyloid deposits and reduced the loss of proteins in the spaces between brain cells. By reducing the loss of protein in synapses, curcumin may also help maintain memory. Curcumin also appears to act as an anti-inflammatory agent with respect to Alzheimers related inflammation in neurologic tissue. India has the lowest rate of Alzheimers in the world, probably correlated with the consumption of curry which contains turmeric, the source of curcumin.

Anti-inflammatory Effects of Curcumin

Curcumin inhibits enzymes which participate in the synthesis of inflammatory substances in the body. The natural anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin is comparable in strength to steroidal drugs, and some nonsteroidal drugs and does not have the same have dangerous side effects. (9, 10, 11) Inflammation results from a complex series of actions and/or reactions triggered by the body’s immunological response to tissue damage. The processes of healing and infection fighting produce a moderate level of inflammation. Chronic inflammation leads to degenerative conditions like arthritis, arteriosclerosis, etc. Several clinical studies have compared the effects of curcumin at dosages of 400 mg. per day to 1200 mg. per day to the drug phenylbutazone. Curcumin was as effective as phenylbutazone in treating post operative inflammation and arthritis. (9, 10, 11, 12)

Curcumin prevents the synthesis of several inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Curcumin has a similar action to aspirin except that curcumin does not cause vascular thrombosis the way aspirin does. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may be attributed to its ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid, as well as neutrophil function during inflammatory states. (11, 12)

Curcumin as an Antioxidant

Free radicals can originate from environmental chemicals, tissue injury, infections and auto-immune processes. Antioxidants protect the body from damage from free radicals. Water- and fat-soluble extracts of turmeric and its curcumin component exhibit strong antioxidant activity, comparable to vitamins C and E. One study showed curcumin to be eight times more powerful that vitamin E in preventing lipid peroxidation. Taken in group arrangements such as C-complex, curcuminoids are three times as potent in neutralizing free-radical molecules.(13) Several studies have demonstrated curcumin’s ability to reduce oxidative stress. (13, 14, 15, 16) It appears that curcumin’s role as an antioxidant may be due in part to its ability to down regulate nitric oxide formation. Nitric oxide is a key element in inflammation and may contribute to carcinogenesis.

Cardiovascular Effects of Curcumin

Curcumin lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreases susceptibility of low density lipoprotein (LDL) to lipid peroxidation, and inhibiting platelet aggregation. These effects have been noted even with low doses of turmeric. (23, 24)

Curcumin’s Antimicrobial Effects

Several animal studies have deomonstrated that Turmeric extract and curcumin inhibits the growth of a variety of bacteria, parasites and pathogenic fungi. Turmeric reduced the lesions caused by intestinal parasites, dermatophytes, pathogenic fungi, yeast plasmodium falciparum and leishmania organisms. Topical applications of curcumin extract was also effective. (20, 21, 22)

Hepatoprotective Effects of Curcumin

Turmeric and curcumin has been found to have a hepatoprotective characteristic similar to that of silymarin. Several studies have shown curcumin’s hepatoprotective effects in protecting animal livers from a variety of hepatotoxic insults induced by chemicals and drugs. Turmeric and curcumin were also been found to reverse biliary hyperplasia, fatty liver and liver necrosis induced by aflatoxin production. (17, 18, 19)

Curcumin Side Effects

Reported side effects are uncommon and are generally limited to mild stomach distress. There is some evidence to suggest that turmeric extracts can be toxic to the liver when taken in high doses or for a prolonged period of time. For this reason, individuals with liver disease, heavy drinkers, and those taking hepatotoxic medications should have liver enzyme tests and be under the care of their physician if they also wish to take turmeric products.

Curcumin was found to be pharmacologically safe in human clinical trials with doses up to 10 g/day. A phase 1 human trial with 25 subjects using up to 8000 mg of Curcumin per day for 3 months found no toxicity from Curcumin. Five other human trials using 1125-2500 mg of Curcumin per day have also been found it to be safe.

There is a possibility of allergic contact dermatitis from turmeric.

Curcumin Drug Interactions

Turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding or potentiate the effects of warfarin or other blood thinning therapies.

Curcumin Dosage Information

There is no minimum daily requirement for Curcumin. Dosages for optimum benefit have not been determined. Common recommendations are 400 to 600 mg of Curcumin 3 times daily.

Curcumin and Turmeric References

(1) Am J. of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, July 2003.

(2) Egan ME, Pearson M, Weiner SA, Rajendran V, Rubin D, Glockner-Pagel J, Canny S, Du K, Lukacs GL, Caplan MJ. 2. Curcumin, a major constituent of turmeric, corrects cystic fibrosis defects. Science. 2004 Apr 23;304(5670):600-2.

(3) Siwak DR, Shishodia S, Aggarwal BB, Kurzrock R. Curcumin-induced antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in melanoma cells are associated with suppression of IkappaB kinase and nuclear factor kappaB activity and are independent of the B-Raf/mitogen-activated/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase pathway and the Akt pathway. Cancer. 2005 Jul 11;

(4) LoTempio MM, Veena MS, Steele HL, Ramamurthy B, Ramalingam TS, Cohen AN, Chakrabarti R, Srivatsan ES, Wang MB. Curcumin suppresses growth of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Oct 1;11(19 Pt 1):6994-7002.

(5) Bharti AC, Donato N, Singh S, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) down-regulates the constitutive activation of nuclear factor-kappa B and Ikappa Balpha kinase in human multiple myeloma cells, leading to suppression of proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Blood. 2003 Feb 1;101(3):1053-62.

(6) Hidaka H, Ishiko T, Furuhashi T, Kamohara H, Suzuki S, Miyazaki M, Ikeda O, Mita S, Setoguchi T, Ogawa M. Curcumin inhibits interleukin 8 production and enhances interleukin 8 receptor expression on the cell surface: impact on human pancreatic carcinoma cell growth by autocrine regulation. Cancer. 2002 Sep 15;95(6):1206-14.

(7) Caughey B, Raymond LD, Raymond GJ, Maxson L, Silveira J, Baron GS. Inhibition of protease-resistant prion protein accumulation in vitro by curcumin. J Virol. 2003 May;77(9):5499-502

(8) Bengmark, Stig, Curcumin, An Atoxic Antioxidant and Natural NF[Kappa]B, Cyclooxygenase-2, Lipooxygenase, and Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitor: A Shield Against Acute and Chronic Diseases – Click Here

(9) Chandra D, Gupta S. Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity of volatile oil of Curcuma longa (Haldi). Ind J Med Res 1972;60:138-142.

(10) Arora R, Basu N, Kapoor V, et al. Anti-inflammatory studies on Curcuma longa (turmeric). Ind J Med Res 1971;59:1289-1295.

(11) Mukhopadhyay A, Basu N, Ghatak N, et al. Anti-inflammatory and irritant activities of curcumin analogues in rats. Agents Actions 1982;12:508-515.

(12) Srivastava R. Inhibition of neutrophil response by curcumin. Agents Actions 1989;28:298-303.

(13) Toda S, Miyase T, Arich H, et al. Natural antioxidants. Antioxidative compounds isolated from rhizome of Curcuma longa L. Chem Pharmacol Bull 1985;33:1725-1728.

(14) Dikshit M, Rastogi L, Shukla R, Srimal RC. Prevention of ischaemia-induced biochemical changes by curcumin and quinidine in the cat heart. Indian J Med Res 1995;101:31-35.

(15) Mortellini R, Foresti R, Bassi R, Green CJ. Curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, induces heme oxygenase-1 and protects endothelial cells against oxidative stress. Free Radic Biol Med 2000;28:1303-1312.

(16) Brouet I, Ohshima H. Curcumin, an anti-tumour promoter and anti-inflammatory agent, inhibits induction of nitric oxide synthetase in activated macrophages. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1995;206:533-540.

(17) Donatus IA, Sardjoko, Vermeulen NP. Cytotoxic and cytoprotective activities of curcumin. Effects on paracetamol-induced cytotoxicity, lipid peroxidation and glutathione depletion in rat hepatocytes. Biochem Pharmacol 1990;39:1869-1875.

(18) Soni KB, Rajan A, Kuttan R. Reversal of aflatoxin induced liver damage by turmeric and curcumin. Cancer Lett 1992;66:115-121.

(19) Ramprasad C, Sirsi M. Curcuma longa and bile secretion. Quantitative changes in the bile constituents induced by sodium curcuminate. J Sci Indust Res 1957;16C:108-110.

(20) Allen PC, Danforth HD, Augustine PC. Dietary modulation of avian coccidiosis. Int J Parasitol 1998;28:1131-1140.

(21) Apisariyakul A, Vanittanakom N, Buddhasukh D. Antifungal activity of turmeric oil extracted from Curcuma longa (Zingiberaceae). J Ethnopharmacol 1995;49:163-169.

(22) Rasmussen HB, Christensen SB, Kvist LP, Karazami A. A simple and efficient separation of the curcumins, the antiprotozoal constituents of Curcuma longa. Planta Med 2000;66:396-398.

(23) Ramirez-Tortosa MC, Mesa MD, Aguilera MC, et al. Oral administration of a turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis 1999;147:371-378.

(24) Srivastava R, Puri V, Srimal RC, Dhawan BN. Effect of curcumin on platelet aggregation and vascular prostacyclin synthesis. Arzneim Forsch 1986;36:715-717.

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