As a derivative of the plant curcuma longa, curcumin is what causes the pigmentation in turmeric, a wonder spice with many medicinal properties. It also very closely resembles another spice called ginger which is from the zingiberacea plant family.

Clinical Relevance of CurcuminCurcumin is extremely popular because it offers a wide range of advantages for health. It contains polyphenols that stimulate detoxification and reduce inflammation in our body. While traditional pharmaceutical medicine doesn’t yet have a cure for alzheimer’s, curcumin has significant potential in the treatment of the disease and in the avoidance of it. This potential is proven in experiments where curcumin was used to treat the symptoms caused by alzheimer’s in rats.

Curcumin is used to treat several diseases beyond alzheimer’s. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties which are an integral part of diseases such as cancer or ailments such as allergies. The reason why curcumin can create an impact on all phases of cancer is because of the effect it has on Nuclear Factor kappa B present in cells associated with the DNA. This Nuclear Factor kappa B is what affects certain molecules and causes cancer to progress to advanced stages. Curcumin plays a prominent role here because it has the capabilities to obstruct Nuclear Factor kappa B. It also has the properties to induce programmed cell death.

There were several studies that analyzed the effects of curcumin in patients suffering from different types of cancer who had previously tried more common methods such a chemotherapy. One such study showed that curcumin was able to reduce the size of a large tumor to an almost tumor-less condition in the liver. Given that several studies have proved the effects of curcumin as a cancer cure, it is still not being widely adopted to treat cancer. The main reason is that it is extremely difficult to absorb curcumin, especially when the quantity of intake required to treat cancer is huge and cannot be easily incorporated in our daily consumption.

Clinical Relevance of CurcuminMany scientists who worked on the above mentioned studies observing the effects of curcumin to cure cancer, are also working on a formula that can help in IV use of curcumin. Prevention is always better than cure, hence consuming minimal amounts of curcumin may be a practical technique for prevention against cancer. The problem is that many turmeric supplements, including the most popular ones, are not as effective as they could be, especially in cases of treating cancer because if you consume raw curcumin directly,  it will not move beyond the wall of the intestine. In India, this challenge is overcome by cooking turmeric in heated oil, which leads to curcumin transforming into small capsule like structures that can carry fat along with curcumin beyond the wall of the intestine. Replication of this technique is prevalent to ensure optimal effects of curcumin are obtained. Although there are many curcumin supplements available, there are only less than a handful effective enough to have clinical relevance.

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