The Benefits of Turmeric: Preventing Cancer
It is common knowledge at this point that Turmeric is a healthy spice. Its benefits are, in part, thanks to the curcuminoids and more specifically the main curcuminoid responsible for the colour, Curcumin. What, exactly, are some of the benefits?
Many different compounds have been examined for possible effects in cancer prevention, however, only a few have met criteria for a clinical trial. It might come as no surprise that Curcumin is found to be one of the more promising compounds. In fact, Curcumin appears to help prevent and stop cancer cell growth. This is unique to Curcumin, in that, not many of the compounds studied had both effects. They tended to only display one of the cancer preventing effects. Furthermore, Curcumin is an anti-mutagen meaning it works against cancer-causing substances.
In a study to show the anti-mutagenic effects of Curcumin, Smokers had their serum levels of mutagens (cancer causing substances) measured before and after Curcumin administration. It was found that serum levels of these mutagens dropped by 38% post-administration. How much turmeric where these participants given? Surprisingly little, only a teaspoon a day.
The issue with cancer cells is that they do not undergo programmed cell death and, thus, overstay their welcome which eventually causes cell division and eventually growth. Curcumin seems to regulate programmed cell death and ensures cells do not overstay their welcome. They do this through reactivating cell death genes and by activating enzymes in the cell that cause the cell to die. What interested scientists even more is that normal cells were left alone.
Whilst full of health benefits, the bioavailability is relatively low. A simple way of improving the bioavailability is through consuming it with black pepper which acts to increase the bioavailability.
In conclusion, curcumin appears to have chemo-preventative properties which makes it a good addition to your daily diet.