Turmeric Compounds Can Help Treat Cancer Safely
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The natural compounds in turmeric may not only prevent cancer, they could also help treat it. Dozens of studies, including clinical trials with cancer patients, suggest that turmeric compounds (especially curcumin) can safely and effectively stop tumors from growing and kill cancer cells in all four of the main categories of cancer: (vi.35)
Focus on Curcumin: Treating Cancer with Turmeric's Golden Compounds
Lab, animal studies, and clinical trials with cancer patients demonstrate that turmeric's curcumin compounds target the many proteins involved in initial tumor growth, progression, and metastasis. This suggests curcumin could help treat as well as prevent cancer. Results show that curcumin works alone and also when combined with cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation. (vi.2, 10, 13, 35)
Curcumin doesn't just go after deregulated, inflammatory proteins and enzymes produced in cancer. It often blocks them at their source. For example, curcumin inhibits transcription factor proteins that trigger oncogenes. These oncogenes produce cancer-promoting proteins (such as growth factors and those that control the cell cycle). (vi.39)
Curcumin also stimulates genes that produce natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory proteins. These help counteract the free radicals and inflammation related to cancer. Finally, curcumin can directly kill or stop cancer cells. (vi.39)
It does so by targeting the factors that cause or are produced by dysfunctional, abnormal cancer cell processes. But unlike conventional pharmaceutical drugs for cancer, studies show that the curcumin compounds in turmeric target many molecules involved in cancer growth at once: (vi.2, 89, 158)
In fact, curcumin's ability to target many proteins at once is a benefit many conventional chemo drugs don't have. Most work by affecting one specific protein that promotes tumor growth. For example, Avastin® is a chemotherapy drug that blocks a growth factor which stimulates development of new tumor-feeding blood vessels. Curcumin's ability to attack multiple targets makes it potentially more versatile. It also means that it's less likely that the cancer cells will be able to develop resistance to curcumin. (vi.2, 10, 13, 35)
Even at high doses, turmeric's curcumin compounds are often effective without causing the severe side effects typically associated with chemotherapy. This still holds true when curcumin generates free radicals to kill cancer cells. Additionally, curcumin is actually able to focus on specific targets depending on the type of cancer involved. (vi.35, 159)
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