What is Curcumin?


Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with the curry spice Turmeric, and to a lesser extent Ginger. It is a small molecule that is the prototypical 'Curcuminoid', and has effects similar to other polyphenols but unique since it is a different class of polyphenol (relative to the other classes of 'flavonoid', 'stilbene', etc.)

What Does Curcumin Do?
Curcumin exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects, and these anti-inflammatory effects seem to be quite protective against some forms of cancer progression. However, curcumin has additional anti-cancer effects that are independent of its anti-inflammatory effects and thus is a heavily researched molecule for both cancer prevention and treatment.

How Does Curcumin Work?
Curcumin has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression—both by destroying cancer cells and by promoting healthy cell function. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis*. As for its effect on molecular pathways, Curcumin can affect more than 100 of them, once it gets into the cell. More specifically, Curcumin has been found to:
  • Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Inhibit the transformation of normal cells to tumor
  • Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
  • Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
  • Help prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (angiogenesis)
  • Appears to negatively regulate several factors that can lead to prostatic tumor metastasis
  • Able to arrest bladder cell cancer growth in vitro at concentrations of 10-25uM and induce apoptosis

Autophagy
Longevity associated processes involves selective destruction of damaged cellular organelles, sometimes described as “cellular housekeeping” or maintenance. This “autophagy” appears to be activated by many polyphenols including Curcumin, Resveratrol, Silybin (from Milk Thistle), Quercetin, and Catechin (common, but usually known to be a component of the four Green Tea Catechins).

Curcumin appears to induce autophagy via various signaling pathways and so far, has been detected in glioma, uterine, oral cancer, and leukemic cells. Autophagy promotion from curcumin is thought to be protective against gliomas as glioma cells are resistant to apoptosis but readily destroyed by autophagy.

RESEARCH SUPPORT ARTICLES

*Angiogenesis is the physiological process through which new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels.and is responsible for most, if not all, blood vessel growth in disease.

It is also a fundamental step in the transition of tumors from a benign state to a malignant one, leading to the medical use of pharmaceutical angiogenesis inhibitors in the treatment of cancer. Our angiogenesis inhibitors are found in natural supplements like EGCG, Curcumin, Quercetin and Sulphoraphane.