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Turmeric (curcumin)

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Laboratory and clinical studies have unveiled several benefits of turmeric (Curcuma Longa, curcuma domestica), the chemical that has a strong yellow colour. The root is normally dried and crushed to form a powder which is added to food as a flavouring and is ubiquitous in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. It is also popular in traditional Chinese medicine remedies to treat inflammation, burns and disorders of the digestive track and it has a high concentration of  polyphenols which have anti-inflammatory properties.

 

 

Why are antioxidants and plant polyphenols important?

Polyphenols are natural plant based chemicals found in healthy foods which enhance our health and protect us from illnesses. Their antioxidant properties protect us from environmental and ingested chemicals which damage our DNA via a process called oxidation. Many studies have linked anti-oxidant rich foods with a lower risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses such as high cholesterol, dementia, arthritis, skin aging and macular degeneration (blindness). There are studies which report that anti-oxidants in broccoli have an anti-cancer effect. 

Anti-cancer properties of turmeric

It has been shown to reduce prostate cancer cell growth by blocking cells in part of the cell cycle, increase the rate of apoptosis, prevent the invasion and migration of malignant cells [Somasundaram 2002,]. Research conducted at the University of Michigan found that turmeric helped halt the growth of stem cells that give rise to breast cancer and did not harm normal breast cells. This effect was further enhanced when turmeric was combined with piperine the main anti-oxidant found in black pepper.  A team from Columbia University found that curcumin combined with ginger reduced prostate cancer cell growth and increased the rate of apoptosis.  Researchers at Leicester University postulated that the antioxidants found in curcumin and spices such as capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the heat in chillies, could be responsible for the low levels of colon cancer in the Asian community [Steward  2008]. 

Safety issues

Curcurmin (Turmeric) is recognised as safe by the FDA as a food additive. Serious adverse effects have not been reported in humans even taking up to 8 g/day for three months (Chung et al 2001). There is no evidence that turmeric adversely affects pregnancy, although the safety of curcumin supplements in pregnancy and lactation has not been established. Curcumin has been found to inhibit platelet aggregation in vitro suggesting a potential to increase the risk of bleeding in people taking anti-platelet medication [Shah 1999]  but no reports have been found in humans including those in the Pomi-T study. Many polyphenols including those in curcumin, green tea pomegranate and broccoli extract are thought to inhibit apoptosis of cells grown in a laboratory induced by some chemotherapy drugs  [Somasundaram 2002]. However, in humans this has not been demonstrated clinically and on the contrary one study combining turmeric with the chemotherapy agent taxotere showed no interference and found this to be safe [ Bayet-Robert 2010]. In view of this potential interaction taking regular extra turmeric during chemotherapy is best avoided in excess.


Our recommendation: Turmeric extract combination

Eating turmeric can be pleasant and tasty in certain dishes but taking a supplement ensures a higher daily dose and  not everyone likes the taste of this spice. There are many turmeric extracts are available on the open market but it would be advisable to take a tablet which has been combined with other anti-oxidant rich foods and been manufactured with the higher quality control.   Pomi-T® contains a broad range of healthy plant based polyphenols and antioxidants within four natural super food  green tea | broccoli | pomegranate | turmeric. The whole food ingredients have been dried, concentrated then squeezed into a tablet for a convenient way to boost daily intake. The rationale for combining four different foods types (berry, vegetable, spice and leaf) was to provide a wide spectrum of naturally healthy polyphenol nutrients, whilst at the same time avoiding over-consumption of one particular type. Ingredients were also selected to avoid foods with high phytoestrogenic or hormonal properties.  Each supplement tablets contains:

Active ingredients:                                                                  No additives bulking or caking agents:
Broccoli Powder 150mg                                                        
Turmeric Powder 150mg                                                        
Pomegranate seed powder 150mg 
Green Tea 5:1 extract 30mg equivalent to 150mg

Pomi-T® has been investigated in a UK Government approved national scientific study which has the highest possible scientific design, the gold standard of all trials - A double blind, randomised (RCT) placebo controlled trial. The study is sponsored by the charity Prostate Action, has been adopted by the National Cancer Research Network (NCRN), has UK Ethics Committee certification and is independently audited to ensure adherence to European Good Clinical Practice Guidelines (GCP). The chief investigator Professor Robert Thomas is Chair of McMillan Survivorship Expert Advisory Committee and is a consultant Oncologist at Bedford, Cranfield and Cambridge University Hospitals. The trial is currently the world’s largest RCT of a food supplement to date and the full results will be available in early 2013.   

Contact information: Pomi-T is manufactured in the UK, from natural ingredients, to the highest quality assurance standards and EU compliance regulations. Pomi-T is owned by natureMedical Products.  Website:  www.pomi-t.com | Email: support@pomi-t.com  


References

Al-Dujaili et al. Benefits of pomegranate consumption (2012). Endocrine Abstracts 28, 313.
Beyet-Robert et al Phase 1 study of curcumin and taxotere. Cancer Biol Ther 9:8-14 2010.
Carducci et al.  A phase II study of pomegranate extract for men with rising PSA (2011). JCO, 29: 7, 11.
Chan et al. Role of diet in prostate cancer development and progression (2005). JCO, 23(32): 8152.
Choi et al. The structure of pomegranate has no hormonal component (2006). Mass Spec Food Chem, 96; 4, 562.
Davigulus et al. Vitamin C diet and prostate cancer risk. Epidemiology 2006, (5) 474-7.
Giovannucci et al . A prospective study of tomato products, lycopene, and cancer risk (2002). Journal NCI, 94, 391-398.
Hellhammer D et al Salivary testosterone and stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology (1985) Vol.10, p77.
Heinen MM et al. Intake of antioxidant nutrients and the risk of skin cancer (2007) EJC 43; (18) pp 2707.
Joseph MA, et al  Cruciferous vegetables, genetic polymorphisms and prostate cancer risk. Nutr Cancer. 2004;50(2):206-213.
Jatoi A et al. A phase II trial of green tea in patients with metastatic prostate carcinoma. Cancer. 2003;97(6):1442.
Khan N et al Pomegranate inhibits growth of primary lung tumors in mice. Cancer Res 2007;67:3475-82.
McLarty J Tea Polyphenols – biochemical mode of action (2009). Cancer Prev Res: 1940-6207.CAPR-08-0167.
McMillan M, et al. The effect of dietary brussels sprouts on thyroid function." Human Toxicol. 1986;5:15.
Moysich et al . Cruciferous Vegetables, Genetic Polymorphisms in GST and Cancer Risk (2007). Nutrition & Can 50(2), 206.
Ogunleye AA et al. Green tea and breast cancer risk of recurrence: A meta-analysis.(2010) Breast Cancer Res &Treat; 119(2):477.
Pisters KM et al. Phase I trial of oral green tea extract in adult patients with solid tumors. J Clin Oncol. 2001;19(6):1830.
Retitig et al Pomegranate extract inhibits growth in androgen specific cell lines Mol Cancer Ther 2008: 7:2662.
Sarkar et al. Indole-3-carbinol and prostate cancer (2004). J Nutr. 134 (12) 349 (8s).
Shah BH et al. Inhibitory effect of curcumin, on platelet-activating factor (1999) Biochem Pharmacol. 58(7):1167.
Somasundaram et al. Curcumin inhibits chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in models of cancer. Cancer Res. 2002;62(13):3868.
Sonn et al Impact of diet on prostate cancer: A review (2005). Prostate cancer and prostate disease, 8: p. 304.
Steward et al Curcurmin in cancer management(2008). Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 52 (9) pp 1005.
Shanafelt TD et al Phase I Trial of tea extract Daily  in patients with CLL. (2009). J Clin Oncol; 27(23): 3808–3814.
Sun CL et al  Green tea and cancer risk: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. (2007) Carcinogenesis; 28(10):2143
Thomas et al. Can dietary intervention alter prostate cancer progression. 2007. Nutrition & Food Science, 37, 1, 24-36.
Thomas et al. A double blind RCT of lifestyle in patients with prostate cancer. (2009) Nutrition & Food Science, 39(3):295 – 305.
Wilkinson et al Critical review of complementary therapies for prostate cancer (2003). JCO, 21(11): p. 2199-2210.
Wu AH et al. Tea, hormone-related cancers and endogenous hormone levels (2006). Molecular Nutrition & Food Res; 50(2):160.
Rezai-Zadeh K et al. Green tea reduces amyloid mediated cognitive impairment in mice (2008) Brain Res.12;1214:177

 

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