Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to be effective in treating bone cancer. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory agent, an antioxidant, and a cancer cell killer. Diet supplements are the best way to increase your curcumin intake
Research on turmeric for osteosarcoma
One of the most common forms of bone cancer is osteosarcoma. While it can appear at any age, osteosarcomas most commonly develop in young people between the ages of 10 and 30 years. Because a malignancy is difficult to surgically remove from the bones, chemotherapy is typically used to treat osteosarcoma. However, because chemotherapy has dangerous complications for everyone – and the situation is even worse for children whose bones are still growing – alternative, natural treatments are being tested.
New research done at Washington State University at Pullman found that the spicy turmeric may show promise for the effective treatment of bone cancer without all of the side effects associated with chemotherapy. These results are based on research that focused on the effects of the active ingredient curcumin in people with osteosarcoma. Curcumin is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
Since pure curcumin is not easily absorbed by the body, the researchers focused on concentrating its bioavailability by placing it in a capsule made of fat molecules and housing them in a structure made of calcium phosphate. The structure was then used in bone implants. All participants received bone implants, but only a few received the curcumin-based version. In just 11 days, the curcumin-treated volunteers showed 96 percent more inhibition of osteosarcoma cell growth than their counterparts in the control group. In addition, the curcumin implants stimulated greater healthy bone growth.
What Makes Curcumin a Potential Cancer Fighter?
While this study was not intended to demonstrate cause and effect, and therefore we cannot definitively say that the curcumin alone produced these positive results, it certainly showed a link between curcumin and a slowdown in tumor growth. And when you know a little about curcumin, it’s not hard to see why this might be so.
Curcumin is anti-inflammatory
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that blocks NF-kB. NF-kB stands for Nuclear Factor Kappa Light Chain Enhancer of activated B cells. It is not a single protein, but a small family of transcription factors that play an important role in almost all human cells. In addition to switching on the genes that cause inflammation in the cell nuclei, NF-kB i controls the transcription of DNA, cytokine production and cell survival.
Curcumin is an antioxidant
Free radicals damage our body significantly over time at the cellular level and prepare the ground for diseases such as cancer. But antioxidants like curcumin can prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc. Studies have shown that as an added bonus, curcumin puts the body’s own antioxidant enzymes into action to provide further protection.
Curcumin is a cancer cell killer
Current research isn’t the first to show curcumin is an effective cancer fighter. A 2015 study at the University of Manitoba in Canada showed that curcumin weakens and possibly even deactivates certain types of cell signaling pathways and inhibits tumor growth.
Adding curcumin to your daily routine
Given the many health benefits of curcumin beyond cancer treatment and prevention – including protection against heart disease and dementia – it is wise to increase your turmeric intake. You can certainly add more flavor to your cuisine, especially by trying traditional Indian dishes like curries, which rely heavily on turmeric.
But even if you eat foods flavored with turmeric every day, you probably won’t get the full benefits of curcumin because there will only be a small amount in the spice and your body will not be able to absorb all of it easily. Your better choice is to take a natural supplement that contains curcumin on a daily basis to ensure adequate intake. Look for a supplement that balances the three main chemical compounds – curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin – collectively known as curcuminoids. To increase your absorption, take the supplement with a meal that contains healthy fats since curcumin is fat soluble.