Can Turmeric Really Fight Cancer? Plus More Amazing Benefits Of This Magical Spice

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Can Turmeric Really Fight Cancer? Plus More Amazing Benefits Of This Magical Spice

Spices are pretty incredible. Not only do they add flavor to a dish, but most of them are incredibly good for you, too. The health benefits of turmeric are right up at the top of the list as some of the best, particularly when it comes to fighting cancer!

This bright yellow-hued spice is well-known for its use in Indian dishes like curry. Turmeric also has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine; and its benefits have been well-documented in recent years.

It contains the powerful cancer-fighting polyphenol known as curcumin, which has been scientifically found to inhibit the growth of a variety of cancer cells. Some of these include breast cancer, brain tumors, bone cancer, melanoma, leukemia and many others.

Curcumin exhibits more than 150 potentially therapeutic activities. These include anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity, along with potent anti-cancer properties that have been clinically studied by many researchers across the globe.

There are hundreds of published studies that have demonstrated the anti-cancer powers of curcumin. Unfortunately, because the pharmaceutical industry can’t make a patented, FDA-approved drug out of it (and therefore profit) it can’t be used as an ‘official’ cancer treatment.

Evidence Of Turmeric As An Effective Cancer Fighter

A 2011 study conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, revealed that curcumin was able to effectively differentiate between cancer cells and normal cells while activating cancer cell death. The researchers concluded, “Curcumin exerts its biological influence through epigenetic modulation, a process that continues downstream staying one step ahead of adverse genetic influences.

Research from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Center for Cancer Research, University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee suggested that turmeric compounds could help prevent cervical cancer, the leading cause of cancer death among women in developing nations. Its anti-inflammatory property blocks the factors that induce the human papilloma virus (HPV) and activates cancer cell death in the uterine lining.

A German study, conducted by the Martin Luther University Hall-Wittenberg, University Clinic and Polyclinic for Child and Adolescent Medicine in Halle found that curcumin was able to kill large cell B-cell lymphoma cells, which are the most common reason for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This is due to curcumin’s antioxidant properties which can protect the body from damage by free radicals.

Researchers also believe there are a number of other reasons that curcumin is so powerful when it comes to our health. It’s said to make the cells’ membranes more orderly, affect signaling molecules, modulate about 700 different genes and positively modulate over 160 different physiological pathways.

Turmeric can arguably be considered a very potent medicine, effective against a lot more than just cancer cells.

7 More Amazing Benefits of Turmeric

1. Battling Anxiety and Depression

Turmeric may be just as effective as anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. Curcumin is known to offer a neuroprotective quality that can help lift one’s mood. A 2014 study from the Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India found it to be an effective option for major depressive disorder.

The researchers used the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale to measure their results:

“We observed that curcumin was well tolerated by all the patients. The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D17 scale was higher in the combination group (77.8%) than in the fluoxetine [Prozac] (64.7%) and the curcumin (62.5%) groups; however, these data were not statistically significant (P = 0.58). Interestingly, the mean change in HAM-D17 score at the end of six weeks was comparable in all three groups (P = 0.77). This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.”

What this simply means is that turmeric may be as effective as Prozac in treating depression. Unlike drugs such as Prozac, turmeric comes without those rather frightening side effects, like suicide and psychotic disorders.

Another study out of UCLA Brain Injury Research Center found that curcumin enhances the synthesis of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) from its precursor, ALA (a-linolenic acid). A deficiency of DHA has been linked to a number of disorders, including anxiety.

Further Reading: 10 Warning Signs Your Hormones Are Out Of Balance & How To Fix It

2. Arthritis Relief

The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin also help to manage arthritis, providing relief from conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric has been found to neutralize those harmful free radicals that can damage the cells of the body and lead to inflammation.

A study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2012 showed that rheumatoid arthritis patients who were treated with curcumin exhibited the highest percentage of improvement overall, compared to patients that received more conventional treatments. It revealed that curcumin was not only more effective in relieving symptoms like tenderness and joint swelling. It also has no negative side effects. No one from the group taking curcumin had to withdraw from the study due to side effects.  However, 14% of those taking NSAIDs did.

Further Reading: 9 Powerful Home Remedies For Arthritis

3. Managing Diabetes

Turmeric has the ability to improve the effects of diabetic medications and help in managing the disease. It lowers the risk of developing insulin resistance, a condition in which the cells fail to respond to the normal actions of the insulin hormone.

In fact, experts say that for lowering blood sugar and reversing insulin resistance there may be no better natural treatment than adding turmeric to your diet.

One particularly interesting study, published in the American Diabetic Association’s publication Diabetes Care, found that turmeric was 100% effective in preventing pre-diabetics from developing type 2 diabetes – an incredible feat that even FDA approved drugs for type 2 diabetes has yet to come close to accomplishing.

An Auburn University study published in 2009 in Biochemistry and Biophysical Research looked at how turmeric might be able to play a role in reversing diabetes. The researchers found that curcumin was 400 times more potent than a common diabetes medication known as Metformin in activating AMPK, which is known to improve insulin sensitivity and help reverse type 2 diabetes.

Further Reading: 10 Secrets To Balance Your Blood Sugar, Promote Weight Loss & Boost Energy

4. Supporting Heart Health

Turmeric benefits the heart in a number of ways.  These include both reversing heart disease and preventing heart attacks. Curcumin does this by improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. (Endothelial dysfunction is a major factor in heart disease as it makes it more difficult for the endothelium to regulate blood clotting, blood pressure and other essential processes.)

Multiple studies have suggested that curcumin consumption can lead to improvements in endothelial function. One specific study found that it’s as effective as exercise. Other research discovered it works as well as the medication Atorvastatin.

A 2012 study out of Thailand’s Chiang Mai University found especially promising results. Researchers gave patients who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery either a placebo or four grams of curcumin daily, a few days before and after surgery. Those who took curcumin experienced a 65% reduced risk of having a heart attack while in the hospital.

Further Reading: 21 Foods That Naturally Unclog Arteries

5. Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is believed to be caused by rampant inflammation within the brain. There has been a great deal of research into turmeric’s potential role as a treatment for this devastating condition. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties have been found to help remove accumulated plaque and fats in the brain, improving oxygen flow. Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier. As such, it may lead to a number of improvements in the pathological process of this brain disease.

India is recognized to have a lower than average incidence of Alzheimer’s. Studies have been unable to prove a connection between the country’s high consumption of turmeric. However, there is mounting scientific evidence that this spice might help protect the brain from both onset and the progression of the disease.

Further Reading: Eat These Foods To Boost Your Memory & Improve Your Brain!

6. Treating Digestive Disorders

Digestive discomforts can be caused by many different conditions. Turmeric has been found to offer therapeutic benefits for treating all sorts of gastrointestinal disorders. Some of these include IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcers, indigestion and more.

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that the mechanism behind the spice’s ability to decrease dyspepsia, or upset stomach, may involve the stimulation of the gallbladder. Curcumin stimulates the production of bile from the gall bladder, and bile aids in digestion. The medical center also notes that the German Commission E, which determines which herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, approved turmeric for digestive issues.

In another study, researchers wanted to test the protective effects of turmeric on the lining of the stomach against acidic preparations used to induce stomach ulcers in test animals. They evaluated the effects of turmeric essential oil and ginger essential oil in rats. The results were impressive, with the experts finding that turmeric inhibited stomach ulcer formation by an astounding 85 percent. Lesions, tissue necrosis, and hemorrhaging were also greatly reduced. The spice also appeared to offer some impressive protection for stomach ailments.

Finally, an in-depth analysis of all studies that have evaluated the ability of curcumin to manage IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), discovered that many patients were actually able to stop taking prescribed medications due to dramatic improvements in their condition.

Further Reading: 10 Warning Signs Of Poor Digestion That You Are Probably Ignoring

Learn More About Turmeric and Other Cancer-Fighting Foods!

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