For centuries, turmeric has been used as a treatment of various illnesses. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric. This active ingredient is a great antioxidant that reduces the cholesterol, has anti-inflammatory effect and decreases the appearance of diabetes. According to a new study that took place in Munich, the use of turmeric can prevent the development of metastases.
The consumption of turmeric and its effects have been main subject in more than 700 studies. According to Phd. James A. Duke who is an ethnobotanist, turmeric is more effective and has no side-effects against several diseases rather than many pharmaceuticals.
In the Western world, prostate cancer is one of the most often malignancies. This type of cancer is diagnosed when metastatic tumors are formed in other organs. The metastases are deadly in three percents of the cases.
Dr. Beatrice Bachmeier and her team, were studying the way which the natural product prevents the formation of metastases acts. The compound was found in turmeric.
The effectiveness of turmeric against cancer was also noted by Duke in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action. It was proven that curcumin or turmeric effectively cope with prevention or treatment in animal models that had mammary cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer in rats, oral cancer and esophageal cancer.
Researches made by Beatrice Bachmeier were also exploring the effects of curcumin. According to her researches, curcumin can be used both for primary prevention (when there are no tumor cells) and for secondary prevention, in other words in elimination of metastases of an already established tumor.
The formation of lung metastases were significantly reduced in an animal model thanks to the substance called curcumin. This demonstration was carried out by Dr. Bachmeier and her colleagues in a previous study.
In order to investigate the curcumin’s effectiveness in prevention of metastases of prostate cancer, and to discover the mechanism of action of the agent, a new study was designed. The molecular processes that were abnormal in prostate carcinoma cells were the first that were examined.
Breast and prostate cancers are connected with chronic or inactive inflammatory reactions, and in both cases, tumor cells produced pro-inflammatory substances that affects the function of the immune system ( including cytokines CXCL1 and CXCL2).
The researchers move to the next stage in order to show that curcumin can reduce the appearance of these two proteins, and in mouse experiment, this effect was related with lowering the presence of metastases.
According to Bachmeier, the curcumin’s action make the tumor cells smaller( by lowering the amount of cytokines that are responsible for developing metastasis), and the frequency of formation of metastasis in the lungs is reduced. This is shown in animals with breast cancer ( shown in previous study) or carcinoma in the prostate (shown in the new study).
Dr. Bachmeier believes that curcumin should be used as a prevention of breast and prostate cancers- which both are related to inflammation.
Dr. Bachmeier adds that conventional therapies should not be replaced by curcumin. However, curcumin should be used as a prevention, especially in the primary prevention( before the tumor arises). Curcumin is very tolerated substance and also stops the formation of metastases.
Daily dose that is regarded as safe is 8 gr. of curcumin. The curcumin has been used in traditional oriental medicine for ages, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is also considered to be powerful supplements in treating certain cancers. However, all curcumin’s benefits should be confirmed in clinical tests. In future, Dr. Bachmeier is planning a trial in patients suffering from therapy-resistant prostate carcinoma.