The active ingredient responsible for turmeric's incredible anti-cancer properties is curcumin, which gives the spice its vivid golden color. It is among a small handful of agents that fight cancer at the genetic level by inhibiting ten critical steps necessary for development and progression of the disease.
Cancer is known to develop through ten independent factors including DNA damage, chronic inflammation, cellular signaling dysfunction, abnormal cell death and metastasis. Curcumin has been shown to provide a protective shield against each of the factors known to promote cancer.
Research publishing in the AAPS Journal found that curcumin is an inexpensive natural compound that fights cancer at its root cause by disrupting the initiation phase of ten different pathways used by the disease to multiply and spread throughout the body. Curcumin has also been shown to interfere with the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products, which promote the accumulation of dangerous inflammatory byproducts that lead to cancerous mutations.
Curcumin as an Anti-Inflammatory
Researchers found that curcumin can fight cancer when used in combination with a popular anti-inflammatory drug, alleviating the inflammatory response caused when cancer takes root in the body. A treatment based on this finding has already had promising results in human clinical trials.
Research in the last few decades has shown that cancer is linked to inflammation. Several pieces of evidence demonstrate that chronic inflammation in the stomach can cause gastric cancer and that inflammation in the liver from hepatitis can lead to liver cancer.
Curcumin and Breast Cancer
Another recent investigation reports that curcumin is particularly effective in targeting hormone-dependent forms of the disease such as breast cancer. The study found that curcumin is able to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the most resistant breast cancer cells that lack estrogen receptors. The spice targets only cancerous cells causing them to self-destruct by destroying the mitochondria that power the rapidly growing tumor tissue.
Turmeric is such a strong anti-inflammatory and disease-protector that even a small amount is enough to reduce the risk of illness. This healing spice can be used ground up in powder form to add flavor and color to almost any dish.
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