If I had to choose one botanical supplement, it would be the turmeric extract, curcumin. I’ve written about this before, but I want to highlight again why I love it:
- It reduces systemic inflammation
- It reduces systemic oxidation (free radicals)
- Reduces insulin resistance
- As effective in the treatment of depression as Prozac
- Reduces weight loss during chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Reduces gastrointestinal symptoms during chemotherapy and radiation therapy (i.e. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation)
- Reduces memory and cognitive changes during chemotherapy
- Reduces the risk of neutropenia (immune suppression) and infections during chemotherapy
- Reduces mucositis during radiation therapy
- Reduces generalize fatigue and weakness during radiation therapy
- Reduces radiation dermatitis and desquamation
Effectiveness In Cancer Patients (Study):
A recent study found that patients who took 1500 mg per day (500 mg, three times per day) of a more bioavailable oral form of curcumin (Meriva) had significantly fewer symptoms while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy compared with placebo.
Curcumin supplementation during chemotherapy improves these symptoms (red arrows):
Curcumin supplementation during radiationc improves these symptoms (red arrows):
Curcumin patients had a 17-19% reduction in free radical levels during chemotherapy and radiation therapy, whereas the placebo patients had an increase in their measured plasma free radicals.
The Bottom Line:
Curcumin is my favorite botanical supplement due to its many physiological properties that are: anti-inflammatory, anti oxidative, anti-angiogenic, pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative.
Through these and other mechanisms of action, curcumin seems to help patients get through their cancer treatments with less side effects.
We don’t yet know if it improves cancer treatment results, but the preclinical data is very promising. More studies must be done to clarify this.
As always, before taking any supplement, ask your oncologist if this is safe for you.