Skip to comments.A natural yellow chemical compound you can find in grocery stores could help fight cancer, diabetes
Posted on 08/06/2018 11:49:21 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Doctors are increasingly embracing the idea that the food we eat may be as good as any disease-fighting, immunity-boosting drug.
This isn't a new strategy. The cancer researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee recently told Business Insider that "for centuries, diet was the only kind of medicine."
It turns out that one such healthful food comes from a root we pull right out of the ground.
It's a bright yellow, inexpensive plant called turmeric. You could probably it buy in the grocery store right now, either ground up, in the spice aisle, or whole, near the onions, garlic, and ginger.
Turmeric has been consumed by massive swaths of people for centuries around the world. It's baked inside many curry dishes and slurped down in turmeric teas and creamy, golden milks. But it's not just a spicy flavoring.
"It's probably, to the best of my knowledge, the most potent naturally occurring anti-inflammatory," Ajay Goel, a biophysicist who researches cancer, told Business Insider.
Goel, who grew up in India but started his research in the US over two decades ago, wondered why, in the medical-research capital of the world, cancer and disease rates were so much higher than in his home country. His research here over the past two decades suggests that curcumin, the bright yellow chemical that gives turmeric its characteristic hue, has serious health-promoting properties that can play a key role in keeping people disease-free.
Turmeric has been found to reduce inflammation and nix free radicals in the body that can damage our cells. But that's not all.
The curcumin compound found in turmeric is powerful enough that it can help relieve arthritis pain, break up tumors, and control diabetes. It promotes good blood flow, which helps protect against heart disease. The plant may even keep some brain plaques from forming, though more research on that front is needed.
Some of Goel's studies, in both animals and humans, suggest that curcumin can also help kill stubborn treatment-resistant cancer cells and might make some cancers less resistant to chemotherapy in the first place. In some instances, patients can reduce their toxic chemotherapy doses as much as tenfold simply by coupling their treatment with curcumin, Goel said. In one 2008 study, he even suggested we start calling it "cure-cumin" for its wide-ranging health benefits, promoting healing and improving conditions as diverse as osteoporosis, chronic kidney diseases, and Alzheimer's.
Goel isn't the only one who's picked up on the medical effectiveness of the spice. The National Institutes of Health says research on the chemical compound is "limited" but acknowledges that turmeric and the curcumin inside "may help with certain digestive disorders and arthritis."
In 2016, a team of scientists from North Carolina and South Korea (not including Goel) completed a systematic review of evidence to date and found that a 1-gram dose a day of turmeric could help treat arthritis. That's the same dosage Goel recommends to his patients.
It's a much better track record than other popular supplements on the market today, including multivitamins, which many recent scientific studies suggest are essentially useless.
"Show me a single study ever done saying people who took a multivitamin pill ... did better? There's no study," Goel said.
Still, many Americans pop non-herbal supplement pills like multivitamins and fish oils. The unregulated US market for these non-herbal supplements is roughly $11.3 billion a year, according to Euromonitor International, while the herbal-supplement market in the US, largely composed of botanical ingredients (including roots like turmeric) is much smaller, at about $3.8 billion.
There is growing evidence that people are starting to come around to turmeric's benefits. Today, BioSchwartz's 1/2-gram turmeric-curcumin pill is the No. 2 bestseller among vitamins and supplements on Amazon (behind collagen but more popular than probiotics, fish oil, or multivitamins).
Taking supplements won't ever be as good as eating whole foods. Studies have found that whole turmeric provides an extra anti-inflammatory boost over curcumin alone. But Goel says that taking a 1-gram supplement is a lot better than nothing, and he's a realist — he knows Americans won't ever eat yellow curries every single day. That's not the case in India.
"Every meal is yellow," Goel said. It's simply part of the traditional Indian diet, as ubiquitous as salt and pepper.
"They don't even recognize," he said, "but it's protecting them from a lot of disease."
The yellow root is also in many other foods across Asia. The Chinese call it jiang huang, and it's in tons of Thai dishes too, from chicken soups to fried fish.
Goel suggests that every adult could probably stand to get a little daily dose of turmeric or a curcumin supplement, after consulting their physician. It's an even more important ingredient for aging populations as a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells. It's anti-microbial too.
At home, Goel gives it to his 13- and 15-year-old boys. He says he doesn't want to sound like a turmeric salesman — "I am not!" he emphasized — but he acknowledges that the health benefits of the yellow-orange stuff cannot be denied.
"Its super safe. There's no toxicity," Goel said. "It's dirt cheap. It comes from food. So why not?"
I carry tumeric in my purse. Good for what ails ya, as my dad used to say.
The spice must flow.
A dash or two of turmeric and a handful of raisons mixed in with that morning oatmeal = healthy and tasty.
A slew of medical research supports Turmeric (Curcumin). See here:
Same goes for a shot of Jack Daniels!.................
Just now having a severe attack of gout in my knee. Haven’t had one in four or five years. Alleve effect was marginal. I take one turmeric capsule as a supplement. Yesterday I took three, on morning, afternoon, evening. Today pain is decreased, swelling and inflammation decreased as well.
You can also pop a couple of Tumeric pills after a night of drinking and wake up without a hangover.
RE: I take one turmeric capsule as a supplement. Yesterday I took three, on morning, afternoon, evening. Today pain is decreased, swelling and inflammation decreased as well.
Very good testimony. May I ask what dosage ( how many grams or milligrams ) of turmeric ( or is it curcumin ) you take to alleviate the pain?
How about supplements, how many mg. is one supplement? Thanks.
But how much of it do you need to eat for true health benefits, and how often? A few grams a day, or a couple of pounds a week? Like garlic, it goes with a lot of things but not with everything.
Reputedly good for motion sickness too.
Some folks need to be a bit careful with tumeric (curcumin). If one is on some blood pressure medications, it can magnify the effects of the prescription medicine. So blood pressure should be monitored if tumeric is added (or consult a physician or pharmacist.) It can also slow blood clotting, so it is even more important for those on anti-clotting medications or with clotting disorders to exercise extreme care.
So the idiot that says “its (sic) super safe” is grossly negligent. It can be beneficial to many people, but never trust the snake oil salesmen of the supplement world.
OK, I read the rest. One gram a day is a suggested dosage. What’s that in real measurements? Apparently that is a volume measurement, while ounces are weight measurements. How many grams of turmeric in a teaspoon?
I just weighed a teaspoon of powdered turmeric and got 3.3 grams.
The head nutrionist of the heart hospital around me speaks very high of tumeric.
Once a month, usually, there is a healthy cooking class. It has changed a lot of my views on food and am better for them.
While not having any adverse effect on me in the spice (tumeric) form in recipes, the active ingredient curcumin, when taken in concentrated capsule form, gave me severe .. and I do mean SEVERE .. gastric and intestinal problems for a period of several days. Vomiting, intense headaches and light sensitivity, severe stomach and intestinal cramps, and violent diarrhea were the result of my taking curcumin capsules as directed. It took three days to get into my system and six days to get it out ...
I have been daily dosing with the 95% curcumin for years. It makes a rapid and very noticeable difference in my arthritis. Turmeric is the main active ingredient in Curry but you would have to eat a bucket of curry to do any medicinal good. Likewise 95% curcumin is the active portion of Turmeric which is only 1-3 or so %. I don’t take the silly capsules. I buy the stuff in bulk and put it on my food, about half a tsp per day with pepper.
Thanks! I’ll try 1/2 teaspoon; close enough for starters.
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