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Turmeric for Cancer: Potential Benefits


Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric is not a drug. A drug is a compound, usually synthetically produced, which has been demonstrated, through rigorous testing protocols, to be safe and effective when used to prevent or treat a particular disease.

Nutraceuticals, like curcumin, are botanical ‘phytochemicals’ that are used as dietary supplements to support the health and well-being of certain physical tissues and functions.

However, even though nutraceuticals do not undergo the rigorous testing measures that pharmaceutical drugs must, there is nonetheless a generous amount of research conducted on their potential applications to support human health.

Curcumin and turmeric, for example, are cited in over 35,000 scientific studies in the PubMed PMC database. Many of those references are associated with studies that explored curcumin’s potential in the treatment and prevention of cancer [4].

Turmeric in Cancer Research

Most of these studies were either in vitro (lab) studies or were live studies conducted with animals. However, there have been some noteworthy clinical studies conducted involving human subjects. At least six of these studies were funded by the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Their findings include the following:

1. Curcumin in Treating HIV Infected and Uninfected Women with High-Grade Cervical Squamous Intraepithelial Neoplasia

This controlled, phase II study documented the potential effects of curcumin in slowing down, destroying, and preventing the growth of precancerous cells in women with cervical cancer [5].

2. Curcumin in Treating Patients with Prostate Cancer That Was Removed by Surgery

This controlled, phase II study concluded that curcumin may stop the growth of cancerous cells by blocking enzymes needed for their growth, and may help to decrease or prevent prostate cancer from returning after surgery [6].

3. Curcumin for the Treatment of Patients with Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia

This controlled, phase II study investigated whether curcumin could clear human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in patients with cervical cancer. It concluded that curcumin may slow down, destroy, or prevent the growth of precancerous and/or cancer cells [7].

4. Curcumin in Reducing Joint Pain in Breast Cancer Survivors with Aromatase Inhibitor-Induced Joint Disease

This phase I trial examined the effectiveness of curcumin in reducing joint pain in breast cancer survivors who developed joint disease caused by aromatase inhibitors. The study concluded that curcumin was effective for these patients and also patients with other joint-related conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis [8].

5. Curcumin and Piperine (Black pepper) in Reducing Inflammation for Ureteral Stent-Induced Symptoms in Patients with Cancer

This phase I study demonstrated the effectiveness of curcumin in reducing inflammation and discomfort in older patients suffering from cancer who had to use ureteric stents [9].

6. Curcumin in Preventing Gastric Cancer in Patients with Chronic Atrophic Gastritis or Gastric Intestinal Metaplasia

This phase II, controlled study demonstrated the effectiveness of curcumin in preventing stomach cancer by inhibiting enzymes needed for cancer cell growth.

Another 2019 study, published in The International Journal of Biological Sciences, investigated the mechanisms by which curcumin worked against cancerous and precancerous cells [10]. The study’s authors concluded:

“Curcumin can inhibit the growth, invasion, and metastasis of various cancers. The anticancer mechanisms of curcumin have been extensively studied. The anticancer effects of curcumin are mainly mediated through its regulation of multiple cellular signaling pathways…Moreover, curcumin also orchestrates the expression and activity of oncogenic and tumor-suppressive miRNAs… An in-depth understanding of the anticancer mechanisms of curcumin will be helpful for developing this promising compound as a therapeutic agent in the clinical management of cancer.”

Turmeric Has Been Shown to Fight Cancer Cells

Apoptosis is the naturally programmed mechanism that allows cells to self-destruct (die-off) when they become aged or dysfunctional. Apoptosis is triggered by various cellular signals. The dysfunctional cells are then routinely disposed of by the immune system. When this natural process of apoptosis is disrupted for any reason, these old, dysfunctional cells can begin to replicate themselves without controls, resulting in cancer.
Numerous studies have shown that curcumin supports this healthy, natural cell die-off. One 2019 study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, reported:

“Curcumin-a rhizomal phytochemical from the plant Curcuma longa (turmeric) is well known to inhibit cell proliferation and to induce apoptosis in a broad range of cell lines [11].”

Another recent 2020 laboratory study of breast cancer cells, using curcumin combined with quercetin, a flavanol found in fruits and vegetables, concluded:

“The Curcumin-Quercetin combination allowed cellular uptake of natural agents thus triggering enhanced apoptosis [12].”

Yet another 2020 study reported similar findings:

“In vitro studies, performed on human colon cancer cell lines, showed that curcumin inhibited cellular growth through cycle arrest, as well as stimulated apoptosis by interacting with multiple molecular targets… In conclusion, curcumin falls within the category of plant origin substances able to prevent colorectal cancer in animals [13].”

Turmeric Strengthens the Immune System

Numerous research studies have concluded that curcumin has strong immune-boosting properties. One study, published in 2018 in the journal, Archives in Oral Biology, investigated curcumin’s role in promoting immune response in patients suffering from cancer of the tongue. The study was a combination lab study and animal study. The researchers concluded:

“Curcumin treatment resulted in inhibition of PD-L1 and p-STAT3Y705 expression both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment was changed after curcumin treatment. These data suggested that curcumin could effectively promote an anti-tumor immune response in tongue squamous cell carcinoma (tongue cancer) [14].”

A 2010 study investigated curcumin’s potential role in helping chemotherapy patients whose immune systems had been weakened as a result of treatment. It concluded:

“The findings revealed the potential use of Curcuma longa crude extract as an adjuvant supplement for cancer patients, whose immune activities were suppressed during chemotherapies...and curcumin’s potential use as a chemo-preventive health supplement [15].”

When we evaluate scientific findings like these, we must remember that the results of in vitro studies, those studies conducted in a laboratory setting on individual cells, do not necessarily translate to humans. Studies conducted on animals also do not necessarily translate directly to humans. Studies involving human research subjects are the gold standard. However, lab and animal results often do translate to humans. Having multiple studies that are in agreement is also a promising factor to take into consideration.

Choose a Therapeutic, High-Potency Turmeric Supplement

Research has suggested that a daily serving of 500-2000 mg of Turmeric Extract contains the optimal dose of curcumin to attain a therapeutic effect for fighting inflammation and strengthening the immune system.

Active Atoms contains 750 mg of premium Turmeric Extract making it what we believe is the highest potency Turmeric supplement on the market. Turmeric Extract contains a high concentration of curcuminoids, the active compounds with most of the health benefits of Turmeric.

Many companies fill their capsules with more Turmeric Powder than Turmeric Extract making them much less potent since Turmeric Powder contains a smaller concentration of curcuminoids compared to Turmeric Extract.

Active Atoms also contains BioPerine®, a patented and potent form of black pepper extract shown to enhance the absorption and bioavailability of curcumin.

In addition, Active Atoms sends their Turmeric Extract capsules to an independent lab for lead testing to ensure your Turmeric supplement is safe and pure.

Always Seek Professional Advice Before Taking Active Atoms

Anyone considering supplementing their diet with a nutraceutical, especially one intended to support the body’s fight against a disease like cancer, should consult with their doctors and health care professionals. This is especially true for cancer patients since curcumin has been reported, in some cases, to have an adverse reaction when combined with chemotherapy drugs.

And don’t forget nature’s most important antidotes; high-quality nutritional intake, exercise, relaxation and sleep, and the incorporation of stress management activities like meditation or prayer. Cancer is all about prevention and by choosing life-supportive lifestyle measures, we are in a better position to avoid cancer and other chronic illnesses.

After getting the green light from your (oncology) doctor, start strengthening your body's natural defense systems with Active Atoms Turmeric Extract. 


About Dr. Marc Robinson, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT