Is it true that Turmeric Can Kill Cancer Cells
Is it true that Turmeric Can Kill Cancer Cells - Curcumin, a natural pigment that gives beautiful yellow turmeric, has been shown by new research from Ireland to kill esophageal cancer cells in the lab, suggesting the benefits of tumeric health might include anti-cancer treatments.
A team from the Cork Cancer Research Center treated esophageal cancer cells with curcumin, and found that the cell began killing these cells in just 24 hours. Unexpectedly, cancer cells even begin to digest themselves.
Turmeric has been used as part of Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat all kinds of diseases, although recent studies have identified curcumin as the cause of most biological activities.
Some studies have suggested curcumin can have an impact on the onset and growth of tumors, and those who eat a lot of spices are less likely to get certain diseases.
It has been well documented that cancer rates in India are lower than in western countries and may be related to the amount of curcumin in food. Curcumin is also being studied as a treatment for many diseases, including several types of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and many more.
In 2007, US researchers found curcumin might be involved in stimulating immune cells in Alzheimer's disease. Recent research in Ireland shows that it is possible to develop curcumin as a cancer drug for esophageal cancer.
In the British Journal of Cancer article, the research team concluded that curcumin is "a promising anticancer agent for the prevention and treatment of esophageal cancer."
Esophageal cancer is one that has a very deadly tumor. Often the five-year survival rate is bad, surviving at 12-31%. Every year esophageal cancer takes the lives of more than half a million people worldwide.
This level of cancer continues to increase, up by more than 50% since the 1970s. This increase is blamed on increasing rates of obesity, alcohol intake and cases of reflux.
What's interesting about Irish research is that cancer cells die as a result of an unexpected system of messages within the cell itself.
In most cases, damaged cells will die by doing a kind of suicide program, and this indeed happened in this study. However, the cancer cells affected by curcumin also appear to be attacked using a kind of alternative cell signaling system - as if the molecule was able to trigger other lethal signals in the cell.
Sharon McKenna, lead researcher in the study, explained, "Scientists have long known that natural compounds have the potential to treat the wrong cells that have become cancerous and we suspect that curcumin may have therapeutic value."
Curcumin is used in many foods as dyes - foods such as mustard, margarine, processed cheese, cakes, curry powder, soft drinks and snacks. However, for some of us, adding these spices to recipes or enjoying spicy Indian, Asian or Middle Eastern cuisine is not a suitable choice for our tastes or our stomachs.
Curcumin supplements are safe and well tolerated, although you want to discuss your plan to add this nutrient to your diet with your doctor before making changes.
It's not surprising that what we eat, even something as small and seemingly insignificant as spices like turmeric, may have a huge impact on our long-term health and our ability to fight disease.