Researchers Add Turmeric Compound to Cancer Treatments

Turmeric is a potent spice commonly used in Indian and Asian dishes. In fact, in these regions of the world turmeric has enjoyed a long reputation as a healthy additive and is taken as a dietary supplement to help with everything from anti-aging to pain management.

The Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in turmeric have placed this spice on the holistic health radar here in the United States—most often related to natural treatments for chronic pain like arthritis. However, a new study from the University of California shows that certain compounds in turmeric may increase the effectiveness of one of the most common cancer drugs in use today.

Cisplatin is a chemical compound that’s currently used to treat multiple types of cancer and is often used in conjunction with others drugs as a one-two-punch to deliver powerful anti-cancer chemotherapy treatments to patients. Researchers are beginning to consider whether certain naturally occurring compounds can increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments in patients.

The Food You Eat Affects Cancer Treatments

Modern research has shown that individuals who eat certain foods (especially in high quantities) can actually limit the anti-cancer effects of cisplatin. So, shouldn’t the opposite be true as well?

Over the course of the two year study, researchers introduced the use of artificial curcumin (a compound naturally found in turmeric) to the cisplatin-based treatments of patients with head and neck cancers. Surprisingly, the results show that patients who received the curcumin treatment responded much better to the traditional chemotherapy.

How Turmeric Fights Cancer

Scientists were able to determine that this artificial curcumin was able to penetrate the defenses of cancer cells, allowing the cisplatin treatments to essentially piggyback in and work their magic. This could be revolutionary news because doctors have struggled for years trying to find ways to bust through cisplatin-resistant cancers. They’ve combined more and types of chemical cocktails to platinum-based chemotherapy with few results.

While most doctors have stopped short of recommending foods spiced with turmeric or turmeric dietary supplements for cancer patients, this study could open a whole new area of discovery in the near future.

Learn more about how ordinary foods and the compounds in them can affect every aspect of your life. Visit or call us at 310-820-7925 today to schedule a health and wellness consultation.

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