Curcumin, a substance extracted from the Indian spice turmeric, has become one of the most promising natural chemopreventive agents (meaning it’s capable of preventing cancer).
In fact, the more we learn about curcumin, the clearer it becomes that this easy-to-find and inexpensive compound is a potential cancer-killing machine. Here’s the latest update on what curcumin can do…
The #1 Problem with Curcumin
If you already take a curcumin or turmeric supplement, then do NOT take another capsule until you read this…
Did you know that most curcumin and turmeric supplements on the market are backed by poorly run studies and “junk science”?
When we first started digging into the research, we didn’t know what we would find. But upon closer inspection, we discovered all kinds of “studies” that turned out to be seriously flawed….
…studies that didn’t actually support the health claims!
I know this might come as a shock to you, but I promise it’s 100% true. In fact, we’ve written up a report detailing our findings. And for a limited time you can read this report free on our site…
The three ways curcumin kills cancer
When research groups look at cancer-preventive agents, they usually classify them into one of three different groups:
- Those that keep tumors from growing and spreading
- Those that block carcinogens – substances that cause cancer
- Those that prevent DNA mutations
Incredibly, curcumin seems to belong in all three groups, acting as anti-oxidant, anti-mutagen, and anti-carcinogen all at once.
As an anti-mutagen, curcumin effectively blocks several carcinogens from bringing on cancer. For example, during in vitro (lab culture) experiments with a strain of salmonella and cigarette smoke condensates, curcumin appeared to alter the harmful activity of mutagens (substances that cause DNA mutations).
In another experiment where the urine from smokers versus nonsmokers was dripped onto bacteria growing in a petri dish, it was found that urine from nonsmokers caused fewer DNA mutations. Which made sense, considering that nonsmokers have fewer carcinogens in their systems.
Surprisingly, when the smokers were given less than a teaspoon a day of turmeric (1.5g/day) for 30 days, the DNA-mutation rate they prompted dropped by as much as 38 percent. So while this doesn’t completely white out the DNA damage wreaked by smoking, it at least shows a route to reducing it.
In another study on smokers, researchers found that curcumin seemed to lower the number of abnormal cell clusters, called “aberrant crypt foci” by as much as 40 percent within a month. This is significant, because those cell clusters transform into polyps and then cancer in the rectum, or colorectal cancer.
In study subjects where polyps had already developed, a regimen of six months of curcumin supplemented by quercetin (an element found naturally in grapes and red onions) was found to reduce both the number and size of polyps by more than half, and without side effects.
Just to underline this point: That’s an incredible finding – the potential to cut in half the risk of colon cancer. In smokers, no less.
Curcumin studies seem to bring
nothing but good news…
Curcumin also appears to bring about cancer death. A well-known challenge of battling cancer cells is their ability to “turn off” apoptosis, or natural cell death. Instead of dying when their time is up, like all other cells in the body, cancer cells stick around by disabling their own self-destruct mechanism. This is why some cancers develop into tumors—they multiply and congregate, eventually spreading throughout the body.
But add curcumin into the picture, and somehow the self-destruct mechanism gets reactivated in cancer cells. Not only that, but curcumin appears to kill cancer cells on its own by activating several mechanisms of cell death all at once. In vitro tests have shown curcumin can have a positive effect on multiple cancers, including blood, colon, brain, breast, lungs, kidney, liver, and skin cancer.
Curcumin has even been shown to have a positive effect on halting pancreatic cancer. In a National Cancer Institute study at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, large doses of curcumin were given to patients suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer.
Two of the 21 patients followed by researchers improved; one experienced a 73 percent reduction in tumor, the other saw steady improvement over the following year and a half. You could argue that two out of 21 positive cases isn’t a lot, but it’s about the same result as doctors get with a chemo regimen in late-stage pancreatic cancer, which is generally seen as a death sentence. And as a bonus, curcumin has no side effects.
And in yet another study, when curcumin supplements were given to people with the precancerous condition known as MGUS, which can lead to multiple myeloma, a decline in abnormal antibody levels was detected. The same thing happened for those with an early stage of multiple myeloma itself.
Easy ways to eat more turmeric
There’s basically no downside to taking turmeric regularly, at least at the doses similar to those found in food. It significantly helps at least one in three cancer sufferers, depending on the case. If this were a new drug on the market, those kinds of results would need to be weighed against side effects. But this plant extract has been shown to be extremely safe, with potential benefits even for those with end-stage cancer.
Given that curcumin kills such a wide variety of tumor cell types through so many diverse mechanisms, it’s a win-win deal. In fact, because curcumin inflicts death on cancer cells by so many pathways, it’s possible that cancer cells will never figure out how to develop a resistance to “curcumin-induced cell death.”
So what’s the best way to ingest it, and how much do you need? Current recommendations advise about a quarter teaspoon of whole turmeric a day. If you can sprinkle it on your food, that’s the easiest way to consume it. Some people even add it to a daily smoothie, claiming it doesn’t alter the taste by much.
Better yet, mix it with a dash of black pepper – at least one-twentieth of a teaspoon. Pepper is a common side ingredient to turmeric in curry dishes, AND it has a medicinal benefit. Black pepper has been shown to significantly boost curcumin levels in your blood – by as much as 2,000 percent, in fact. That’s because pepper has the effect of influencing the serum concentration, absorption, and bioavailability of curcumin.
For this reason, many curcumin supplements also include a black pepper extract called piperine.
Another way to enjoy turmeric is to buy it fresh and grate it directly into your food. It pairs well with cooked sweet potatoes, recipes with pumpkin puree, rice dishes, lentil soup, and roasted cauliflower.
If you decide to go the supplement route – and it’s certainly more convenient – I want to sound a note of caution about pure curcumin. Recent research has shown you’re better off with whole turmeric instead of just an extract of one ingredient. The various natural compounds in whole turmeric work together synergistically. If you just take curcumin, you’re leaving valuable benefits on the table.
For this reason, our sister company, Green Valley Natural Solutions, just developed a new supplement called Fast-Acting Turmeric that contains ALL the compounds of this spice known to have healing power, and we’ve been able to prove the formula is faster and more effective than not only plain curcumin but competing turmeric supplements as well. Click here to get the full story.
While some foods prevent and cure cancer, others cause it and make it worse, I’m sorry to say. Last issue we wrote about some of the worst offenders. If you missed it, we’re running it again just below. . .
The Killer Food You Probably
Gobble Up Like Popcorn
My nominee for bad food choice of the week is about as American as apple pie.
But it can harbor unseen toxins leading to a killer infection, throw your hormones out of whack, or trigger cancer.
But most of the time you can avoid this common food – if you’re aware of the dangers. You can even enjoy it regularly if you buy it from the right sources.
10-Second “Eye” Test Reveals
Do you suffer from constant, low energy? If so, then you might be suffering from this 21st century silent epidemic that’s affecting millions this very minute.
There’s a simple test you can try right now that will reveal the root cause of your low energy woes and it’s all hidden inside of your eye.
Frying bacon for breakfast? Grilling hamburgers for lunch? Searing steaks for dinner?
Farmers use antibiotics to keep animals healthy in filthy, crowded and stressful conditions. They also use hormones to fatten cattle more quickly.
Some argue that hormone levels in meat are too low to have any negative effect on humans. I don’t believe it. When it comes to hormones, tiny hinges swing big doors.
Even low levels of hormones can have a huge impact on your health, especially when compounded over years and decades – as is certainly the case with conventionally grown chicken, beef and pork.1
These are staples of the American diet. Unless you’re one of the hardy few vegetarians or organic food fanatics, you’ve eaten tons of the stuff in the course of your lifetime.
All the pharmaceutical food additives may make animals get bigger, faster, but they may make you sick.2 Or expand your waistline.
We’ve bred a race of superbugs
If you’re old enough, you may remember science fiction movies from the ‘50s in which nuclear radiation created mutant monsters that wrecked cities. The paranoid movie makers of the day would have done better to look at a real danger – misuse of antibiotics.
Antibiotics should only be used to treat bacterial infection. But farmers pump cattle full of antibiotics, a practice that breeds antibiotic-resistant superbugs – the microscopic version of those giant movie creatures. The weak bacteria are killed by the antibiotic. The strong survive and multiply like crazy.
Meanwhile, the antibiotics remain in the meat, and you’re getting a dose of the drug every time you eat a slab of conventionally grown beef or a piece of chicken.
Because of the superbugs, when you get sick nowadays there may be no antibiotic that can help you.
“Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health threats facing us today,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Gupta says. “We use too many drugs, and now they don’t work the way they used to.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that two million Americans get antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and 23,000 die as a result.3
According to the UN’s World Health Organization, a post-antibiotic era is far from an apocalyptic fantasy. It’s instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.4
The consequences of messing with hormones
Farmers also give their animals sex hormones. Here’s a hint at the possible consequences:
In a 2009 study, children who ate more meat entered puberty an average of seven months earlier than children who ate less meat.7
For girls, the effects of even miniscule amounts of estrogen from meat “could be quite substantial,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
Children now enter puberty at a younger age than they did just one or two generations ago, sometimes as early as age seven.8
There may be other factors at work – this isn’t settled science – but hormone-fed meat is certainly a prime suspect in the weird sexualization of little children as early as fourth or fifth grade.
The hormones administered to food-stock animals include estrogen (estradiol), progesterone, testosterone, and synthetic zeranol, melengestrol, and trenbolone.9 Cattle receive implants that slowly release these fattening hormones throughout their lifetimes.
But this “drug culture” comes with unseen consequences – not only early puberty for humans, but also higher risk of cancer in adulthood.10
Throwing your natural hormone levels off balance can cause breast cancer,11 thyroid tumors, ovarian cancer, and testicular cancer.12 Studies on mice and dogs confirm that extra progesterone is linked to ovarian, uterine, and breast tumors.13
It’s not just beef you need to avoid. Extra hormones are also used for turkeys, pigs, chickens, and even fish for faster growth.14
How safe is your ground beef?
Getting back to the problem with antibiotics. . .
Between 2003 and 2012, 80 outbreaks of E. coli O157 sickened 1,144 people, landed 316 in the hospital, and killed five. Ground beef was the main culprit.15
These are not huge numbers, but they serve to highlight the problem.
Consumer Reports tested 458 pounds of beef from 103 stores in 26 cities nationwide – both conventional beef (raised on factory farms) and sustainable beef (no antibiotics, organic, or grass-fed).
They found S. aureus (MRSA) in more than half of all conventional beef and in one-fourth of sustainable beef.
E. coli was present in 60 percent of conventional beef and 40 percent of sustainable beef.
Multi-drug-resistant bacteria were found in 19 percent of conventional beef, nine percent of sustainable beef, and six percent of grass-fed beef.16
The beef from conventionally raised cows was more likely to have high bacteria counts and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, than beef from sustainably raised cows.
If you eat sustainable beef, you cut your chance of ingesting an untreatable “superbug” in half. If you eat grass-fed beef, your chances of staying healthy are even better.
Grass-fed meat is richer in nutrients
Grass-fed meat is better for you. Besides avoiding the toxins, it’s lean, with high amounts of healthy fats – like omega 3s and CLA – and vitamins and minerals.
It’s also healthier for animals. Cattle, goats, sheep, and bison are natural grass eaters. Feeding them grains alters their digestion and creates an acidic environment conducive to E. coli and disease. And what does the doctor give you when you have one of these infections? Antibiotics, of course — which further devastate our digestive systems.
What’s more, grass-fed farming protects the ecosystem. Pastured farming restores natural habitats, reduces dependence on petrochemicals, reduces greenhouse emissions, and boosts soil nutrition.
Finally, small family farms – which do most of the sustainable farming in our country — benefit their communities, provide jobs and strong economies in rural areas, and create valuable businesses the next generation can inherit.
Knowing this could save your life
Unlike Europe, the U.S. has no ban on hormones in meat.17 This means you have to shop smart.
Look for “organic” and “grass-fed” labels.
To be organic, meat must be:
- Fed only organic, vegetarian food
- Never treated with antibiotics or hormones
- Never treated with radiation
- Allowed exercise and access to the outdoors.18
Organically raised meat “poses fewer public health risks,” says Dr. Urvashi Rangan, executive director of the Center for Food Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports.
Unfortunately, until now, the grass-fed label has lacked any real teeth, and conventional feedlots could slip meats through as grass-fed because standards were loose and left open to interpretation. In theory, these factory farmers could confine the animals and give them antibiotics or hormones, and still slap on a grassfed label, so long as the animals were also given access to grass.
This could be why some of the so-called grass-fed and sustainable beef contained higher levels of bacteria than you might expect.
But — good news – a new and more transparent label is slated for adoption early in 2017. When buying meat, look for the all-new American Grass-fed Association (AGA) label on your beef and dairy. The label can only be used for products from animals that:
- Were fed 100 percent grass and forage
- Were never confined in a feedlot
- Were never given antibiotics or hormones
- Were born and raised on American family farms, never in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), aka factory farms
Independent third parties will audit producers annually to ensure their continued compliance with AGA standards.
Of course, you can also get to know your local family farmer and find out first-hand how he raises his beef and how it’s slaughtered. That way you reduce your risk even further, because you’re not getting ground beef that’s a composite of the meat from 200 cows.
If you can swing it, buy a quarter or half of a cow and keep the meat in your freezer for convenience and cost savings.
I buy organic and grass-fed meat products online as well as at local farmers’ markets. Grass-fed beef tends to have a stronger, more pronounced taste than conventional corn-fed beef. I like it better, and I find corn-fed beef rather bland at times. If ordering pork, I strongly recommend seeking out “heritage” products from old breeds of hog.
During the last 20 or 30 years, the fat – and the flavor – have been largely bred out of conventional hogs in answer to the idiotic demand that people need to cut down on saturated fat. Nonsense. Saturated fat is good for you, and imparts a wonderful, unforgettable flavor. Even saturated fat from animals is good for you, as long as your intake is moderate.
Heritage pork is so much better than conventional, you’ll hardly
The evidence is mixed on whether meat is carcinogenic – any kind of meat, conventional or sustainable. To be on the safe side, I aim to eat meat three times a week, no more. I suspect the problem with meat is really a problem with what the animals are fed, but at present there’s not enough evidence to be sure.
What we do know for sure is that sustainable meat is much, much healthier than conventional, and by eating moderate amounts – treating it as a luxury – you minimize whatever carcinogenic dangers it may harbor.