By Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, RND, PhD
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a vibrantly yellow spice. In fact, it’s often used as a colorant for mustards and cheeses. The root is powdered for use in Indian curries and other dishes. The primary active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a potent antioxidant. Curcumin also has anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have also been examining its anti-cancer effects. Curcumin has been associated with cancer prevention and tumor suppression, particularly in cancers of the prostate, breast, skin, and colon. Use of turmeric for prostate cancer has been the subject of numerous studies.
Does Turmeric Work for Prostate Cancer?
The efficacy of turmeric in preventing and treating cancer, including prostate cancer, has been the subject of numerous scientific studies. Furthermore, turmeric may also work particularly well with hormone therapy for prostate cancer, as it may reduce the rate at which cancer cells become resistant to that treatment.
One study, published in the September, 2009 edition of Cancer Science, concluded that even a synthetic form of curcumin was effective in causing the death of prostate cancer cells. Another study was published in the January, 2003 edition of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics that proposed the combination of curcumin and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand immunotherapy as an effective means of treating prostate cancer.
Shaking some extra spice on your meals might help, but it isn’t an excuse to neglect your veggies. Researchers at Rutgers have found that combining turmeric with certain vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer, as well as greatly reduce the growth of tumors. The researchers ran tests that used turmeric and phenethylisothiocyanate (PEITC), which is a substance that is found in high concentrations in veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, cabbage, winter cress, and watercress.
In addition, turmeric has been shown to lower PSA levels. Dr. Shigeo Horie of Teikyo University in Japan conducted a study that examined the link between turmeric and reduced PSA levels. The study followed patients who did not have prostate cancer, but did have high PSA levels. After six months of using turmeric, the PSA levels of the patients dropped by 50%.
The Way Forward on science and Turmeric:
There is no medicinal herb more researched for cancer than curcumin. When doing a PubMed search on “curcumin and cancer” – retrieves more than five thousand studies to be accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=cancer+and+curcumin. Even when searching “curcumin and prostate cancer” gets you close to 350 scientific papers .to be accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=prostate+cancer+and+curcumin.
That’s why when I formulated the breakthrough Men’s Formula for Prostate Health and Immune booster, it was a no-brainer to add ample amounts of curcumin to the formula.
This potent herb does not only have potent anti-inflammatory properties, which in at by itself is worth taking, but it also has anti-cancer abilities.
I am not exaggerating! In today’s article, is about a study I came across while searching on the scientific data base PubMed :it shows for the first time a reduction of PSA in one human study in prostate cancer patients.
Latest Human Study on Curcumin and Prostate Cancer
The study conducted by Choi YH et al 2019 by researchers at the Samsung Medical Center and Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea titled “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the role of curcumin in prostate cancer patients with intermittent androgen deprivation” published in the journal Prostate involvedabout 100 men, randomized, in a placebo-controlled fashion for prostate cancer.
Here are the details:
- There were two groups of patients with prostate cancer who received intermittent androgen deprivation (IAD).
- Participants who finished the first on-treatment period of IAD were randomized into a curcumin or placebo group.
- The patients took oral curcumin (1440 mg/day, two pills of 240mg each, 3x /d) or placebo for six months and were followed up until the beginning of the second on-treatment.
The primary end-point was the duration of the first off-treatment. The secondary end-points were change in PSA and testosterone levels during 6 months, PSA progression rate, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores at 6 months. Safety assessments included adverse event, adverse drug reaction, and serious adverse event.
In other words, this study tried to determine if oral curcumin could stop cancer progression in patients with prostate cancer receiving intermittent androgen deprivation therapy (IAD) by prolonging the second treatment of ADT.
In their result: There was no significant difference in the off‐treatment duration between the two groups. However, the group of patients with PSA progression was (statistically) significantly lower in the curcumin group than in the placebo group. There are several reasons curcumin did not produce an anti-cancer effect, in my opinion:
- No one botanical, vitamin, supplement or even medical treatment that will EVER create an anti-cancer environment without other essential nutrients and without, exercise, good food, and optimal sleep. In many instances, medical treatment for prostate cancer is necessary and combining such treatment with clean food, physical movement, and targeted dietary supplements increase the odds of not only survival but improved quality of life.
The other reasons’ the study author admitted to;
- If curcumin had been administered for a longer time, significant changes could have been observed in the off‐treatment time.
- Another possible reason to fail to show the difference of primary endpoint is the relatively low dose of oral curcumin to affect clinical outcomes.
In one study this time by Sharma RA et al 2004 titled “Phase I clinical trial of oral curcumin: biomarkers of systemic activity and compliance” published in the journal Clin Cancer Res by the researchers at the University of Leicester, UK, in a group of patients with colon cancer showed 3600mg a day had anti-cancer properties suggesting that dosing matters.
- Finally, I don’t think curcumin falsely lowers PSA. In other words, there has been no evidence, nor through my clinical experience has curcumin lower PSA says Dr. Espinoza(Naturopathic Urologist), but prostate cancer worsened. One of many mechanisms to how curcumin works are by reducing Nfkb, a pro-inflammatory marker that can contribute to cancer formation. Lower pro-inflammatory markers lower PSA.
Previous Research on Curcumin& Prostate Cancer:
The new study is from a German research team headed by Dr. Beatrice Bachmeier at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat (LMU) in Munich. Using a mouse model, the scientists evaluated the effectiveness of curcumin in preventing the spread (metastasis) of prostate cancer and tried to determine how it might achieve this goal. They discovered that curcumin reduces the expression of two pro-inflammatory proteins (cytokines CXCL1 and CXCL2) involved in prostate cancer, and in the mice curcumin caused a reduction in the incidence of metastases.
Based on these findings, Bachmeier has suggested curcumin may help prevent prostate cancers and stop their ability to spread. She warned, however, that “This does not mean that the compound should be seen as a replacement for conventional therapies…[but curcumin] could play a positive role in primary prevention.” An extra bonus is that curcumin has been shown in many studies to be well tolerated (in doses up to 8 grams taken daily), so side effects are not a major issue.
A number of other studies have explored the impact of curcumin on prostate cancer. One is another mouse study by Tin OoKhor et al 2006 published in the journal Cancer titled “Combined Inhibitory Effects of Curcumin and PhenethylIsothiocyanate on the Growth of Human PC-3 Prostate Xenografts in Immunodeficient Mice” , in which the researchers grew prostate cancer tumors in mice and tested various substances, including curcumin, to test how they affected the tumors. The investigators found that curcumin combined with a substance from cruciferous vegetables (phenethylisothiocyanate) might be effective in preventing and treating prostate cancer.
In another study by Supriya et al 2012 also published in the journal Cancer titled “Targeting Pioneering Factor and Hormone Receptor Cooperative Pathways to Suppress Tumor Progression” The researchers from Thomas Jefferson University experimented with curcumin in mice and in prostate cancer cell samples. Their findings indicated that curcumin might help slow the progression of tumor growth in men with hormone-resistant prostate cancer. Curcumin appeared to be effective because it increased the results of hormone therapy, reduced the number of prostate cancer cells when compared with hormone therapy alone, and inhibited the cell cycle and survival or prostate cancer cells.
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is a component in the Indian spice turmeric, and it’s a cousin of ginger: why Men’s Formula also has ginger in the formulation – another highly protective herb. Curcumin causes the yellow color in your curry dish. Tumeric is a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Turmeric’s other two curcuminoids are desmethoxycurcumin and bis-desmethoxycurcumin. Ideally, when consuming curcuminoids, you would want all three health-promoting curcuminoids: curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and dimethoxycurcumin. I know, it’s getting a little technical, but the bottom line is to get enough of this yellow staining compound from spicing your food and from supplementation.
Curcumin during Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
Lastly, curcumin is an excellent herb to take during radiation therapy for cancer as well. That’s right. I know virtually all radiation oncologists would recommend against taking supplements during radiation treatment. This recommendation is based on the flawed theory that anti-oxidant supplements are taken during radiation treatment, it may protect cancer cells from the radiation treatment.
In fact, curcumin makes cancer cells more radiosensitive to radiation therapy. You are reading correctly. Taking curcumin can help cancer cells be more vulnerable to radiation therapy.
Curcumin Health Benefits and Prostatitis
Curcumin health benefits have been demonstrated in prostatitis. In a rat study, investigators found that curcumin was effective in managing chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. Curcumin was beneficial because it reduced the effect of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha in the blood and tissues. (Zhang 2010)
A combination of curcumin, quercetin, saw palmetto, and stinging nettle was given to men who had prostatitis in a study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. Researchers reported that compared with men who received an antibiotic alone, those who took the herbal combination along with the antibiotic had significantly better symptom resolution. (Cai 2009)
How much Curcumin to Take
Optimal amounts ranges of curcumin vary from 400mg to 4000mg a day. Science daily has suggested up 8 grams a day (8000mg) is safe. Typically, the more aggressive the health challenge, the more curcumin should be consumed. The optimal amount of curcumin consumption has not been properly studied yet.
Dr. Espinoza consume about 1000 to 2000 mg curcumin every day in a supplement for disease prevention, reduce soreness from workouts and for prostate health. And you should too he advised!
As always, when using botanicals or any form of natural medicine seek the help of naturopathic, functional medicine or integrative doctor.
Anyone who has diabetes should talk to their doctor before starting curcumin, because the supplement can lower blood sugar levels. You risk experiencing stomach upset or ulcers if you take large amounts of curcumin for a prolonged time.
The Men’s Formula is highly formulated with curcumin, Ginger, African black pepper and over fourteen herbs synergistically blend together to support your prostate health. Tell your surgeon about taking turmeric if you plan to undergo surgery, as turmeric may work like a blood thinner.
Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, RND, PhD is the National President of the Alternative Medical Association of Ghana(AMAG), President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine, Tema Community 7, Post office, RNG Medicine Research lab, Tema Community 18 and Chief Editor of the Ghana Alternative Medicine Journal(GAMJ). He is a member of the Prostate Cancer Transatlantic Consortium (CaPTC Scientist), University of Florida. He is a proponent of evidence –based Integrative Medicine with research interest in Naturopathic Urology. .formulator of Men’s Formula for prostate Health & immune booster, Women’s Formula for wellness and Nyarkotey Hibiscus Tea for Cardiovascular Health & general wellbeing…enquiries..0208244716/0541234556