The Starfish Project

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Curcumin & Bioperine: Cancer Treatment and Prevention

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Turmeric Spice

Turmeric Spice


Is there a curcumin cancer cure? Could curcumin prevent cancer? Is there a role for curcumin and turmeric in cancer control?

Curcumin, the pigment that makes the curry spice turmeric a bright orange-yellow, is one of the best-researched potential preventatives for a number of kinds of cancer.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family.

On a molecular level, curcumin interacts with an extraordinary range of cellular processes involved in cancer. Curcumin:

  • Stops the activation of some”transcription factors” that lay down the DNA for a new cancer cell,
  • Acts in the same as other anti-inflammatory agents in stopping the expression of growth factors in existing cancer cells,
  • And (in almost all kinds of cancer) activates a “watchdog” gene, p53, that deactivates cells that have become cancerous.

Curcumin is non-toxic even if it is taken in doses 30-40 times more than needed for it to work, up to 12 grams (12,000 mg) a day. The body uses curcumin in various antioxidant processes that it does not build up in the bloodstream in most people even when taken in doses of 10,000 to 12,000 mg a day.

And there’s no reason to try to build up a bloodstream concentration of curcumin if you get just a little more than once a day. The liver clears curcumin out of circulation in 8 to 12 hours.

What is the evidence that curcumin might prevent cancer? Well, aside from the over-100 studies of curcumin in the laboratory, curcumin has been used in clinical trials.

In a study of 62 patients who had various skin cancers and pre-cancers (actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma that had not infiltrated below the skin, and external genital warts), researchers found that a curcumin ointment applied to the skin brought lasting relief from the itching, burning, and ache associated with the cancer and stopped cancer growth.

Curcumin stopped skin itching in all the patients, “dried up” oozing lesions in 70 per cent of cases, and actually reduced the size of the cancer in 10 per cent of patients. Only one patient had any adverse reaction to curcumin, an allergy. The ointment consisted of 1 per cent curcumin in a cream base.

Curcumin has also been treated in other pre-cancerous conditions, including:

  • Bladder cancer,
  • Bowen’s disease of the skin (squamous cell carcinoma),
  • Leukoplakia (white patches inside the mouth found in smokers),
  • Intestinal metaplasia of the stomach (a kind of pre-cancer of the stomach caused by Helicobacter pylori infection and associated with peptic ulcer disease).

In 10 out of 12 cases in this very small trial, pre-cancer patients who used up to 12,000 mg of curcumin a day did not go on to develop cancer. Moreover, in one patient with bladder cancer, two with leukoplakia, one with a cervical tumor, and two with squamous cell carcinoma, the pre-cancerous lesions actually shrank.

Curcumin (in a dosage of 3,600 mg per day) may be beneficial to people who have advanced drug-resistant colorectal cancer. Scientists at least know that curcumin concentrates in the cancer tissues of the colon and that some markers of cancer activity drop significantly after the patient takes curcumin for four months.

Finally, in otherwise untreatable advanced pancreatic cancer, a daily dose of 8,000 mg of curcumin has been tried for up to two months. Two months, as you may know, is a very long time to be treating advanced pancreatic cancer.

That’s what science knows about curcumin and cancer in humans. Dozens of other studies are in the works, however, for treatment of esophageal cancers, stomach cancers, liver cancer, lung cancers, lymphoma, and breast cancer. And doctors are following up on an intriguing observation that women who live in countries where turmeric-based (and curcumin-loaded) curries are part of the daily diet have very low rates of breast cancer.

Curcumin does not interfere with any other therapy you should continue if you have or if your doctor believes you may develop cancer. Its side effects are very rare, and it’s cheap. There’s no way to prove that curcumin could prevent cancer for you, but it should rank very high on your list of natural preventive measures that may help keep you healthy.


If you buy a curcumin supplement in North America, chances are it will be formulated with an additive called bioperine.

This well-publicized addition to nutritional supplements is a chemical extract from black pepper. Ayurvedic medicine adds black pepper to countless herbal formulas not for any particular benefit in itself, but to help the body absorb the active principles of other herbs. This black pepper chemical concentrates the ability of “black pepper” to concentrate the absorption of other plant chemicals. The makers of hundreds of different supplements include this chemical to help the body absorb one active ingredient or another from a standardized herbal or natural product.

Bioperine makes curcumin better absorbed, too. A clinical trial sponsored by the Sabinsa Corporation (which manufactures the ingredient for nutritional product makers around the world) found that adding their ingredient to curcumin in supplements:


  • Increases the maximum bloodstream concentration by almost 50 per cent,
  • Increases the half-life (time for half the supplement in circulation to be broken down by the liver) by almost 50 per cent, but more importantly,
  • Provides nearly 20 times as much of the active ingredient to cells before the curcumin is removed from the bloodstream by normal hepatic processes.


Studies at Sabinsa found similar effects when the reagent was combined with selenium, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, or vitamin C.

That’s the good side of bioperine. There’s one consideration for users of supplements that include this compound. It does increase absorption of nutrients, but there are also a few prescription medications that it can also make more bioavailable:


  • Phenytoin (Dilantin) for seizure disorders,
  • Propanolol (Inderal) for high blood pressure and muscle control, and
  • Theophylline (Theo-Dur) for asthma.


If you take any of these medications, be aware that bioperine makes them absorbed more completely and eliminated more quickly. It will increase their effects, both good and bad.

Source:  Savvy Natural Healer



Written by Tracey

September 30, 2008 at 2:31 am

3 Responses

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  1. I was looking for websites about cancer information and stumbled upon your site. And I can say with conviction that your is an excellent one. I look from time to about cancer information since i have also written about cancer in one of my blog. So i tend to compare mine with that of others and i have to say that yours is better. You have written about natural way to fight cancer and i try to explain what is cancer (different types.
    Thanks for the information.

    Dr Jupitor

    October 8, 2008 at 10:33 pm

  2. After reading Dr Aggawll`s comments on curcumin and seeing as they have done animal studies I have tried it out on my 11 year old rough Collie who was diagnosed with lung cancer last April….He was given a month….He is still much alive this 22nd day of Sept. 2009,he eats very well twice daily and goes for a short walk twice daily..He still plays tug of war with our 5 month old Sable,Still climbs the very steep 22 steps to the bedroom and goes down on his own and is bossy as ever..The dose for human`s was 8 grams a day and I started him on that as I wanted to give his body a good sound blast going forward,he now is on 5 grams a day of curcumin with bioperine and so far is doing OK…..We will see……Ed

    Ed Leadbetter

    September 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm

  3. Anyone interested please leave a comment

    Ed Leadbetter

    September 22, 2009 at 8:16 pm

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