Curcumin Turmeric & Cancer

Cancer is an inflammatory condition that also requires immune modulation; curcumin helps lower inflammation caused by cancer and helps to balance the immune response, making it a essential part of our allopathic cancer treatment program.

Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of the popular Indian spice turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. Turmeric has been used historically as a component of Ayurvedic medicine since the 18th century to treat ailments, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that research identified curcumin as responsible for most of the biological activity of turmeric.

In vitro and animal studies have suggested a wide range of potential therapeutic or preventive effects associated with curcumin, and in the past several years a proliferation of human clinical trials have studied the effect of curcumin on pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

Research has demonstrated that curcumin as well as capsaicin (found in red pepper) inhibit the secretion of collagenase, elastase, and hyaluronidase, clearly indicating that these spice components control the release of inflammatory mediators such as eicosanoids and hydrolytic enzymes secreted by macrophages, suggesting anti-inflammatory properties.

Arachidonic acid is one of the essential fatty acids required by most mammals . The metabolism of arachidonic acid in cell membranes plays an important role in the fighting inflammation in the body, which occurs by generating potent chemical messengers known as eicosanoids. Membrane phospholipids are hydrolyzed by phospholipase A2 (PLA2), releasing arachidonic acid, which may be metabolized by cyclooxygenases (COX) to form prostaglandins and thromboxanes, or by lipoxygenases (LOX) to form leukotrienes. Curcumin has been found to inhibit PLA2, COX-2, and 5-LOX activities in cultured cells.

Although Curcumin inhibited the catalytic activity of 5-LOX directly, it inhibited PLA2 by preventing its phosphorylation and COX-2 mainly by inhibiting its transcription. Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB) is a transcription factor that binds DNA and enhances the transcription of the COX-2 gene as well as other pro-inflammatory genes, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). In inflammatory cells, such as macrophages, iNOS catalyzes the synthesis of nitric oxide, which can react with superoxide to form peroxynitrite, a reactive nitrogen species that can damage proteins and DNA. Curcumin has been found to inhibit NF-kB-dependent gene transcription, and the induction of COX-2 and iNOS in cell culture and animal studies.

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