Presentation on theme: "Turmeric – Currying Favour with Cancer Experts A Presentation by Greg Thornton."— Presentation transcript:
Turmeric – Currying Favour with Cancer Experts A Presentation by Greg Thornton
Turmeric – A Brief History Originally from South Asia, T urmeric, the rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa, belongs to the ginger family Zingiberaceae. In India and China it has been in culinary and medicinal use for at least 4000 years and is used for a wide range of ailments. It is known in western society as a spice commonly found in Indian cooking and is now sold as a dietary supplement due to its antioxidant properties.
Turmeric – Curcumin Curcumin is the name of the active antioxidant in Turmeric. The name Curcumin is used as the collective name for curcuminoids found in Turmeric: Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) Demethoxycurcumin Bisdemethoxycurcumin And the recently identified cyclocurcumin. It is the chemical which gives Turmeric its distinct colour.
Hallmarks of Cancer Free Radicals are atoms or molecules that have gained or lost an electron. They are important for many functions in the body but a high concentration can cause damage to cells and lead to tumour growth. If these cells become cancerous and develop into tumours they are recognized by 6 distinct hallmarks. These are: 1.Self-sufficiency in growth signals 2.Insensitivity to growth-inhibitory signals 3.Evasion of apopotosis 4.Limitless replicative potential 5.Sustained angiogenesis 6.Tissue invasion and metastasis It is at this stage the tumour is considered malignant.
Secondly, it interacts with a range of different protein pathways leading to the reduction and death of a wide range of tumour cell types. In a laboratory environment Curcumin inhibits cancer in several ways: 1.Induces apopotosis (programmed cell death) 2.Inhibits metastasis (travelling of cells) 3.Inhibits cell proliferation (cell growth) 4.Inhibits angiogenesis (increase of blood flow to cells) Overall, Curcumin inhibits tumour initiation, promotion and proliferation How Curcumin Inhibits Cancer Firstly, as an antioxidant, Curcumin oxidises free radials – lower free radical levels means less damage to cells which can induce cancer.
Clinical Trials Curcumin has been shown to be effective in experiments in vitro and in mice but not as effective in human cases. Experiments on mice showed that the length of time Curcumin stayed in the body decreased rapidly after ingestion. In human trials it was not absorbed readily and did not stay in the body for long. However, when taken orally, cancers in parts of the alimentary canal were inhibited. In general, studies have shown that Curcumin therapy can also increase the amount of anti-cancer chemicals in the immune system. Curcumin also functions well in conjunction with chemotherapy. It increases efficiency through the specific targeting of cancer cells which can reduce negative side effects of current treatments. No negative side effects of Curcumin ingestion have been recorded.
Conclusion I t is clear that Curcumin could be used on a wide scale if the problem of absorption is researched and developed. It is a cheaper alternative to current cancer treatments, is readily available and there are no recorded side effects. Education of the benefits of Curcumin should be encouraged, but touting it as a 'miracle cure' could lead to misuse, discrediting it's potential value. There are negative side effects linked with over consumption of antioxidants although Curcumin is not yet accessible at that bio- availability. As with any product, care needs to be taken in ensuring that the environment and social surroundings are considered if supply and increase in production occur.