Highly bioavailable curcumin kills cancer stem cells

Dr. John Briggs

Highly bioavailable curcumin kills cancer stem cells

3 mins
February 22, 2021

Putting the fear and threat of COVID-19 aside, what I see as one of the greatest fears among people is that of cancer. None of us fail to be touched by the devastation of cancer. I recently lost one of my best friends from colorectal cancer. 

In my continued research to aid the health and longevity of my beloved patients, I’ve been further investigating the biochemical responses to the use of curcumin. This is one of the most amazing and wonderful nutrients, affecting every organ in our bodies. 

Often patients treated for cancer end up with reoccurring infections or metastasis. This is due to cancer stem cells which remain behind and eventually metastasize, either in the area previously affected, elsewhere, or systemically. 

Starving Cancer Cells

Research shows curcumin actually starves cancer cells to death due to powerful multifunctional polyphenols. 

It’s well known that cancer cells create greater levels of blood flow to the tumor, providing glucose for its life. This is why on thermography, cancerous tumors show greater heat due to this increased vascularization. 

One really wonderful chemo-preventative property of curcumin is that it sharply restricts the cancer cells ability to extract energy from blood glucose. 

Stem cells are those which provide the foundation for replication of tissues in the body. Research has been ongoing in finding what can stop the proliferation of cancer stem cells. Curcumin has shown cytotoxic effects on cancer stem cells by suppressing the release of cytokines which actually stimulate cancer stem cells and cancer receptors along multiple pathways. 

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer, being one of the most common cancers in the world, is also a common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Despite advanced treatment strategies, this disease is rarely cured completely, as recurrence is very common, even after surgery and chemotherapy. The evidence shows this is due to a small population of cells, called cancer stem cells (CSCs), within the tumor mass, which have a self-renewal and differentiation potential, giving rise to a new tumor population. 

Pre-clinical and clinical studies using curcumin and its analogues as anti-cancer agents in various types of cancer, including colorectal cancer have recently been shown to be effective in lowering tumor recurrence by targeting the CSC population, inhibiting tumor growth. In a review found in Cancer Cell International (2015), they highlighted the efficacy of curcumin and its analogues in targeting colorectal CSC and also the underlying molecular mechanism involved. 

Reducing Tumor Mass

Curcumin, in the presence or absence of other anti-cancer agents, was shown to reduce the size of tumor mass and growth in both in-vivo and in-vitro studies by affecting many intracellular events associated with cancer progression and CSC formation. What was found was the mode of action by which curcumin could affect key regulators in CSC, importantly; (1) the signaling pathways, (2) microRNA and, (3) the epithelial-mesenchymal transition at multiple levels. 

Because of these actions, curcumin can play a role as chemo-sensitizer where CSC’s become sensitized towards the anti-cancer therapy. This is where the added use of medicinal mushrooms like Turkey Tail, Shiitake, and other combination anti-cancer agents along with curcumin could be far more effective than treatment using a single cancer agent alone. 

Because of the limitations of curcumin when it comes to poor absorption and stability, the use of products proven to improve delivery into the system is important. Some products will incorporate the use of black pepper to enhance absorption, and this is good. What was developed by the genius mind of Dr Kerry Bone is a blending of curcumin and fenugreek, resulting in curcuminoid galactomannosides which have been shown to produce the most impressive systemic levels ever. 

This combination has increased free curcuminoids as high as 45.6 times, and in the brain 245 times that of un-enhanced curcumin alone, and is greatly distributed to heart, liver, kidneys, and spleen. I love having this product available for my patients. Turmeric Forte from Medi-Herbs.

If you’ve missed any of my articles or wish to review, please go to my Blog page https://drjohnabriggs.com/blog.html

Dr Briggs is a 1980 graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been practicing naturopathic medicine in the northwest corner of Oregon since his graduation. His practice involves diagnostic and therapeutic modalities which have stood the test of time and the challenges of diverse disease. We believe that each person exists dynamically as a spirit being, possessing a soul made up of their mind, will, and emotions, living in a body which requires specific care and nutrition. To address only the physical needs is to ignore the real person, and frequently, the real issues. We strive to address all your issues (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical) with compassion and wisdom.

This article was orginally reported by
Dr. John Briggs

Dr. John Briggs is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.