Guest Articles >> Natural Health

Could Curcumin be the Cure to Cancer?

By Eric Hirota

If you’re not Asian or Middle Eastern, then chances are that you have no idea what Turmeric powder is.  However, if you’ve ever lived next door to an Indian family, you might recognize it as “that smell” that is emanating constantly from their apartment.  The yellowish powder, ground from a type of ginger root found in the rain forests of South Asia, is used in a litany of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, but is most widely recognized for giving curries their spicy, pungent taste.  Although Turmeric powder has been revered for its anti-inflammatory properties since it was first widely distributed in the 12th century, recent studies have shown that their benefits extend far beyond that. 

A study was recently published in the Alternative Medicine Review that compared the efficacy of Curcumin with over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).  The study, which included 100 test subjects diagnosed with osteoarthritis, had one group that took the “best available” over-the-counter medication (probably Ibuprofen), and another that took a proprietary blend that included 200 mg of Curcumin (suggested as a “daily” amount by many physicians).  The Curcumin group not only experienced a quicker mitigation of their symptoms of osteoarthritis, but had virtually no side effects.  The scientists concluded that Curcumin was more effective at blocking cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme instrumental in the creation of molecules that causes inflammation. 

The magical properties of Curcumin don’t just stop here, though.  A study done at a University in Singapore found that Curcumin could build up Amyloid plaques in the brain, which are thought to be a major factor in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  Other studies have found other benefits of the compound, such as moderating apoptosis in cells (cellular programmed self-destruction), slowing the progression of tumor and promoting neural health, leading to improved cognitive function. 

If you live in America, you have an almost 50% chance that you will suffer from some sort of cancer throughout your lifetime.  With all the carcinogens we’re exposed to, (the US is the country with the fifth highest cancer rates in the world), it wouldn’t hurt to incorporate Turmeric into your diet.  With our rampant consumerism leaving us with an influx of cell phones and even ostensibly “healthy” products like shaker weights (which can cause tendonitis) and abdominal exercise belts, (which have been known to cause cancer by subjecting your internal organs to nonionizing radiation) everywhere, it’s not very surprising that our cancer rates are 10 times higher than India’s and 3 times higher than China’s.  If only McDonald’s started putting Turmeric powder in their burgers, think about the lives that could be saved…

About the Author

Eric Hirota is a personal trainer at LAVA Sport & Fitness in San Diego, CA.  He is also a contributor to various fitness review sites.


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