Growth Factors and Receptors

Turmeric can help regulate growth factors and receptors that help cells grow and divide, including brain cells.
Table III.5: Growth Factors and Receptors
WHAT ARE GROWTH FACTORS AND RECEPTORS?

What do growth factors and receptors do?

Growth factors and their receptors promote cell growth. They stimulate progression through the cell cycle, allowing replication and proliferation of cells. (iii.50-52)

Growth factors such as VEGF and BFGF also play a vital role in angiogenesis and are often referred to as angiogenesis factors. Angiogenesis is the scientific term for the development of new blood vessels. It's how the body responds to a long-term increased need for oxygen and nutrients in a specific area. For example, angiogenesis is a beneficial response to a clogged artery or other loss of circulation. (iii.50-52)

What happens if growth factors and receptors are unregulated?

Abnormal expression of these proteins can enhance tumor growth, while inhibiting them suppresses it. (iii.12153)

Sometimes angiogenesis stimulated by growth factors is detrimental. For example, tumor growth often strains the existing blood supply. Angiogenesis in cancer can promote metastasis, or the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. (iii.50-52)

EFFECTS OF TURMERIC AND TURMERIC COMPOUNDS

Studies show that the curcumin in turmeric is a potent inhibitor of many growth factors and receptors. By blocking these angiogenesis factors, curcumin can help stop tumors from metastasizing(iii.12153)

On the flip side, curcumin stimulates expression of BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor growth factor). BDNF protects and promotes development of healthy neurons (neurogenesis) in the central nervous system. Stimulating BDNF may: (iii.4354)

In fact pharmaceutical antidepressants stimulate neurogenesis to produce desired behavioral effects. (iii.4354)

However, curcumin doesn't always increase BDNF. In some instances the turmeric compound inhibits the growth factor. For example, chronic morphine treatment promotes overstimulated, high levels of BDNF. This leads to morphine tolerance and addiction and decreases morphine's effectiveness as a pain reliever. (iii.55)

Animal studies show that co-treatment with curcumin can help prevent this tolerance by suppressing increased BDNF activity. Curcumin also enhanced pain relief by activating both opioid and non-opioid receptors. (iii.55)

When the body has a short-term need for more oxygen/nutrients, such as when exercising, the heart is stimulated to pump faster and existing blood vessels dilate temporarily. (iii.51)

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