Curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric spice. Let me present the science behind the anti-cancer properties of this molecule.
Curcumin boosts the levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein and brain hormone that increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
Researchers from the Cancer Biology Research Center, South Dakota, claim curcumin may be an effective chemopreventive and therapeutic agent for preventing and treating cervical cancer. They found that curcumin treatment suppresses growth in cervical cancer cells by altering the HPV-associated molecular pathways.
The anti-cancer action of curcumin is attributed to its ability to inhibit a cancer master switch, which is called nuclear factor kappa beta. Inflammation is said to fuel the nuclear factor kappa beta activity, which is claimed to account for 95% of all cancers. Cancer activity is also indicated by high levels of interleukin 6 (IL6) in the blood.
Preclinical and phase 1 clinical trials in various cancers have shown that curcumin may prove to be useful in the chemoprevention of colon cancer in humans (Azuine & Bhide, 1994).
It has further been shown that curcumin inhibits proliferation and helps kill cancer cells. These are attributed to the ability of this molecule to interfere in the functioning of cancer-causing genes (Bar-Sela & Schaffer, 2011) positively.
Ar turmerone isolated from turmeric is said to suppress the growth of leukemia cells (Kuo et al., 1996).
Sharma et al. (2004) have shown that the efficacy of curcumin, which is an antioxidant derived from turmeric, is due to its action on glutathione S-transferase enzyme, inhibition of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production, and suppression of oxidative DNA adduct (M1G) formation.
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