Turmeric Contains Natural Colorectal Cancer Fighters
Turmeric contains natural compounds that could help prevent colon and rectal cancers. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death from cancer in the U.S. Population studies show that in countries (such as India) where turmeric is frequently used in food have much lower colorectal cancer rates than western countries. (vi.149, 272-273)
Ideal Cancer-Fighting Qualities
- Multi-targeting: Cancer involves hundreds of deregulated and abnormal genes and proteins. Studies suggest that substances that affect more than one target could be a more strategic way to combat cancer. Turmeric compounds regulate multiple factors that cause and promote colorectal cancer — including those that FDA-approved drugs block. (vi.94, 275)
- Safety record: Decades of lab and animal research vouch for the spice's health-boosting and non-toxic effects. Further, turmeric and its curcumin compound have been used safely at high doses in patients with colorectal and other types of cancer (such as pancreatic tumors). (vi.5, vi.272)
- Limits drug toxicity: Some of the compounds in turmeric could reduce the serious and potentially fatal side effects of conventional treatments. These drugs include chemotherapy and medicines that help prevent colon and rectal cancer (such as COX-2 inhibitors). (vi.94, 273, 276)
- Enhances conventional therapy: Turmeric's compounds may improve how well chemotherapy and radiation work against colon and rectal tumors — even in stage IV colorectal cancer. In addition, some of turmeric's compounds reduce the ability of colorectal cancer cells to resist treatment. (vi.277)
Are Turmeric Compounds Really Strong Enough to Fight Colorectal Cancer?
The primary drawback to using turmeric compounds for colorectal cancer treatment is low bioavailability. Turmeric's powerful curcumin compounds do not dissolve well in water. They also break down and pass quickly through the body. These factors suggesting they don't stay in tissue long enough to act like a drug. (vi.174, 278)
However, studies suggest even tiny amounts of curcumin can influence gene behavior and help prevent or treat cancer. In addition, scientists have developed new technology that increases how long curcumin stays in the body. Combining turmeric compounds with other spices (such as black pepper) also dramatically increases bioavailability. (vi.133, 174, 278)
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