Curcumin, pronounced ‘Kur kyoo min’, is an herbal ingredient derived from the superfood turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. Turmeric is a common food flavoring and coloring agent in Asian cooking.
Low Rates of Colon Cancer in India
People from India and other South Asian countries have been aware of the health benefits (and cooking benefits) of turmeric for centuries. The incidence of colon cancer in India is much lower than in other countries from around the world. For example, the rate of colon cancer per 100,000 people is highest in Slovakia at 61 cases per 100,000. The rate of colon cancer per 100,000 people in India is a meager 3.7. By comparison, the rate of colon cancer in the U.S. is approximately 40 per 100,000 people. The ingestion of curcumin is likely a major factor contributing to the low rate of colon cancer in India and South Asia. Other contributing factors include a high fiber diet, low dietary fat intake, and low rates of obesity.
Curcumin is a Powerful Antioxidant
Curcumin is an antioxidant which means that it helps to trap or inactivate free radicals in cells which can lead to damage of DNA and other cellular genetic material. Curcumin’s anticancer effects include the interference of the p53 tumor suppressor pathway. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit carcinogenesis (events leading to cancer) in colon cancer cell lines as well as as cell lines in breast, cervical, stomach, liver, leukemia, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Curcumin has been shown to have a potentiating effect with chemotherapy in the treatment of colon cancer. There are ongoing studies using curcumin along with chemotherapy agents for colon cancer. The studies are promising.
So remember to include Curcumin in your prevention strategies to optimize your colon health. Find ways to incorporate Curcumin into your daily routine. Check out our Pinterest board on Curcumin-Tumeric or try The Colon Vitamin.
Here’s to your colon health!
Frank Farrell, MD, MPH, AGAF