Curcumin for arthritis and inflammation conditions, use for gastrointestinal and colon disorders, medical uses
January 1 2017

Benefits of curcumin for arthritis and inflammation
Growing research over the last half century has revealed that it has many important functions. It binds to a variety of proteins and inhibits the activity of various kinases. By influencing the activation of various transcription factors, curcumin regulates the expression of inflammatory enzymes, cytokines, adhesion molecules, and cell survival proteins. Curcumin also downregulates cyclin D1, cyclin E and MDM2; and upregulates p21, p27, and p53. Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses.

Review
Turmeric is a plant native to south India and Indonesia. Its tuberous rhizomes (root like structures) have been used from antiquity as a condiment, as a textile dye, and medically as an aromatic stimulant.
Curcuminoids are the major substances that give the spice turmeric its yellow color. The major curcuminoids are curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin which are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

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Curcumin is one of the major antioxidants found in the spice turmeric. The roots of the turmeric plant are used as an herb in Asian cooking such as curries. Curcumin is a major component of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) and extensive scientific research on curcumin and turmeric has demonstrated their potent antioxidant properties. Through their antioxidant mechanisms, curcumin and turmeric support colon health, exert neuroprotective activity and help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

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Recently, Physician Naturals began selling Enteric Curcumin claiming the Enteric formulation enables it to be absorbed up to seven times more than regular Curcumin. What are your thoughts on this?
A. We have not seen such studies regarding a curcumin enteric product from Physician Naturals.

Curcumin and Alzheimer’s disease
Curcumin may be able to break up the “plaques” that mark the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Scientists found that curcumin was able to reduce deposits of beta-amyloid proteins in the brains of elderly lab mice that ate curcumin as part of their diets. Furthermore, when the researchers added low doses of curcumin to human beta-amyloid proteins in a test tube, the compound kept the proteins from aggregating and blocked the formation of the amyloid fibers that make up Alzheimer’s plaques. Accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease that leads to damage to nerve cells and the resulting loss in memory and cognitive function. Long used as part of traditional Indian medicine, curcumin is known to have some anti-cancer properties, and animal research suggests it might serve as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis. Interest in curcumin as an Alzheimer’s therapy grew after studies found low rates of the disease among elderly adults in India, where curry spice is a dietary staple. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. And since oxidative damage and inflammation mark a number of diseases of aging – such as arthritis and the buildup of plaques in the heart’s arteries – curcumin eventually may prove to be useful for a range of age-related conditions.

Alzheimer’s disease and amyloid
Curcumin has compounds that may be helpful in Alzheimer’s disease. It helps prevent the formation of beta-amyloids which are neural fibrils in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s. Curcumin may be able to break up the “plaques” that mark the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Scientists found that curcumin was able to reduce deposits of beta-amyloid proteins in the brains of elderly lab mice that ate curcumin as part of their diets. Furthermore, when the researchers added low doses of curcumin to human beta-amyloid proteins in a test tube, the compound kept the proteins from aggregating and blocked the formation of the amyloid fibers that make up Alzheimer’s plaques. Accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease that leads to damage to nerve cells and the resulting loss in memory and cognitive function. Long used as part of traditional Indian medicine, curcumin is known to have some anti-cancer properties, and animal research suggests it might serve as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis. Interest in curcumin as an Alzheimer’s therapy grew after studies found low rates of the disease among elderly adults in India, where curry spice is a dietary staple. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. And since oxidative damage and inflammation mark a number of diseases of aging – such as arthritis and the buildup of plaques in the heart’s arteries – curcumin eventually may prove to be useful for a range of age-related conditions.
For those who prefer to take a capsule of curcumin rather than cook with curry or turmeric, curcumin supplements are available.

Cancer
Curcumin may help fight cancer, including prostate cancer. Researchers have found in the lab that curcumin can enhance the cancer-fighting power of treatment with TRAIL, a naturally occurring molecule that helps kill cancer cells. TRAIL stands for tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand. In an experiment with human prostate cancer cells in a laboratory dish, the combination treatment killed off two to three times more cells than either treatment alone.
Curcumin exerts multiple different suppressive effects on human breast carcinoma cells in vitro.
   In a test tube study, curcumin was found to have anticancer effects on human Burkitt’s lymphoma.

Breast cancer
Curcumin appears to stop the spread of breast cancer tumor cells to the lungs of mice. Tests have already started in people, too, says Bharat Aggarwal of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who led the study. “What’s exciting about this agent is that it seems to have both chemopreventive and therapeutic properties. Earlier research showed that curcumin, an antioxidant, can help prevent tumors from forming in the laboratory. For their study, Aggarwal and colleagues injected mice with human breast cancer cells — a batch of cells grown from a patient whose cancer had spread to the lungs. The resulting tumors were allowed to grow, and then surgically removed, to simulate a mastectomy. Then the mice either got no additional treatment; curcumin alone; the cancer drug paclitaxel (sold under the brand name Taxol); or curcumin plus Taxol. Only half the mice in the curcumin -only group and 22 percent of those in the curcumin plus Taxol group had evidence of breast cancer that had spread to the lungs. But 75 percent of animals that got Taxol alone and 95 percent of those that got no treatment developed lung tumors. IN other words, the addition of curcumin lowered the rate of cancer spread. Earlier studies suggest that people who eat diets rich in turmeric have lower rates of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.

Familial adenomatous polyposis
Curcumin and quercetin may be helpful in adenomas in familial adenomatous polyposis.

Combination treatment with curcumin and quercetin of adenomas in familial adenomatous polyposis.
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006.
Five familial adenomatous polyposis patients with prior colectomy (4 with retained rectum and 1 with an ileal anal pouch) received curcumin 480 mg and quercetin 20 mg orally 3 times a day. The number and size of polyps were assessed at baseline and after therapy. All 5 patients had a decreased polyp number and size from baseline after a mean of 6 months of treatment with curcumin and quercetin. Minimal adverse side effects and no laboratory abnormalities were noted. The combination of curcumin and quercetin appears to reduce the number and size of ileal and rectal adenomas in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis without appreciable toxicity.

Curcumin and diabetes, pancreatic cells
In animal studies, curcumin protects islets against streptozotocin induced oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals. Pprophylactic use of curcumin may rescue islets from damage without affecting the normal function of these cellular structures.

Heart conditions
In a rodent study, curcumin was found to protect rat myocardium against ischemic insult and the protective effect could be attributed to its antioxidant properties. Yohimbe is not to be taken in those with a heart condition.

Curcumin studies
Curcumin modulates free radical quenching in myocardial ischaemia in rats.
Manikandan P. Central Leather Research Institute, Adyar, Chennai 600020, India. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2004.
This study was designed to investigate the protective effect of curcumin against isoprenaline induced myocardial ischaemia in rat myocardium. The effect of single oral dose of curcumin (15mgkg(-1)), administered 30min before and/or after the onset of ischaemia, was investigated by assessing oxidative stress related biochemical parameters in rat myocardium. Curcumin pre and post-treatment (PPT) was shown to decrease the levels of xanthine oxidase, superoxide anion, lipid peroxides and myeloperoxidase while the levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione-S-transferase activities were significantly increased after curcumin PPT. Histopathological and transmission electron microscopical studies also confirmed the severe myocardial damage occurring as a consequence of isoprenaline induced ischaemia and they also showed the significant improvement effected by curcumin PPT. These findings provided evidence that curcumin was found to protect rat myocardium against ischaemic insult and the protective effect could be attributed to its antioxidant properties as well as its inhibitory effects on xanthine dehydrogenase – xanthine oxidase conversion and resultant superoxide anion production.

Curcumin and inflammatory bowel disease
Novel formulation of solid lipid microparticles of curcumin for anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory activity for optimization of therapy of inflammatory bowel disease.
J Pharm Pharmacol. 2009. SRF, Department of Pharmaceutics, India.
This project was undertaken with a view to optimize the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease through a novel drug delivery approach for localized treatment in the colon. Curcumin has poor aqueous solubility, poor stability in the gastrointestinal tract and poor bioavailability. The purpose of the study was to prepare and evaluate the anti-inflammatory activity of solid lipid microparticles (SLMs) of curcumin for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in a colitis-induced rat model by a colon-specific delivery approach. We have developed a novel formulation approach for treating experimental colitis in the rat model. SLMs of curcumin were prepared with various lipids, such as palmitic acid, stearic acid and soya lecithin, with an optimized percentage of poloxamer 188. The SLMs of curcumin were characterized for particle size, drug content, drug entrapment, in-vitro release, surface morphology and infrared, differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray studies. The colonic delivery system of SLM formulations of curcumin were further investigated for their anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory activity using chick embryo and rat colitis models. Particle size, drug content, drug entrapment and in-vitro release studies showed that formulation F4 containing one part stearic acid and 0.5% surfactant had the smallest diameter of 108 mum, 79.24% entrapment and exhibited excellent in-vitro release characteristics when compared with other formulations and pure curcumin. SLMs of curcumin (F4) proved to be a potent angio-inhibitory compound, as demonstrated by inhibition of angiogenesis in the chorioallantoic membrane assay. Rats treated with curcumin and its SLM complex showed a faster weight gain compared with dextran sulfate solution (DSS) control rats. The increase in whole colon length appeared to be significantly greater in SLM-treated rats when compared with pure curcumin and DSS control rats. An additional finding in the DSS-treated rats was chronic cell infiltration with predominance of eosinophils. Decreased mast cell numbers in the mucosa of the colon of SLMs of curcumin and pure curcumin-treated rats was observed. The degree of colitis caused by administration of DSS was significantly attenuated by colonic delivery of SLMs of curcumin. Being a nontoxic natural dietary product, curcumin could be useful in the therapeutic strategy for inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Curcumin therapy in inflammatory bowel disease: a pilot study.
Dig Dis Sci. 2005. St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University and Strang Cancer Center Research Laboratory, New York, New York, USA.
Curcumin, a natural compound used as a food additive, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in cell culture and animal studies. A pure curcumin preparation was administered in an open label study to five patients with ulcerative proctitis and five with Crohn’s disease. All proctitis patients improved, with reductions in concomitant medications in four, and four of five Crohn’s disease patients had lowered CDAI scores and sedimentation rates. This encouraging pilot study suggests the need for double-blind placebo-controlled follow-up studies.

Ulcerative colitis
Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006.
Eighty-nine patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis were recruited for this randomized, double-blind, multicenter trial of curcumin in the prevention of relapse. Forty-five patients received curcumin, 1g after breakfast and 1g after the evening meal, plus sulfasalazine (SZ) or mesalamine, and 44 patients received placebo plus SZ or mesalamine for 6 months. Of 43 patients who received curcumin, 2 relapsed during 6 months of therapy (4%), whereas 8 of 39 patients (20%) in the placebo group relapsed. Recurrence rates evaluated on the basis of intention to treat showed significant difference between curcumin and placebo. Conclusions: Curcumin seems to be a promising and safe medication for maintaining remission in patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis.

Rheumatoid arthritis
There is not enough research to know if it helps with rheumatoid arthritis natural and alternative therapy.

Side effects
I had started taking curcumin in capsule form, 685 mg. total curcuminoids, 700mg. from “Standardized Tumeric Root Extract”. Also stated: 95% Curcminoids containing curcumin, Demethoxycurcumin and Bisdemethoxycurcumin. After 3 days taking one capsule a day I started having vaginal bleeding. I am 7 years post menopausal and have never used hormones. The only medication I use is Benicar HCT 20mg once a day. When I stopped taking the curcumin the bleeding stopped a day later. I resumed taking curcumin about 3 weeks later for 4 days and the vaginal bleeding started again. Have you heard of this? I cannot find any information about it and my doctors do not know. All I found was a stated side effect of “internal bleeding” but in rare cases. Can you please direct me to any source of information (if there is any) about curcumin and vaginal or uterine bleeding? My gynecologist could not visualize any pathology even though a transvaginal ultrasound revealed an endometrium of 9mm thickness.
This is interesting. We have not had this reported to us before. Perhaps the curcumin is acting as a blood thinner in your case.

Questions
Q. My CT scan report show about 2 cms growth on the tail of pancreas. It is not known whether it is benign or malignant. Will your product Curcuma containing curcumin alkaloid, be of any use in treating this condition. Do you have any other natural product for treatment without surgery. I will be shortly consulting my Gastroenterologist who is an expert on pancreatic diseases. I would like to start treatment for both benign and malignant neoplasms of pancreas. I have no pain whatsoever.
A. We cannot make any predictions on the treatment of pancreatic cancer with curcumin or any other natural supplement.

Q. I have had severe IBS (or colitis) for 16 years. I wanted to tell you, that I have been on curcumin for 6 months, (2x day) with bioprene, and am finally getting SOME results. I know that a long illness cannot necessarily just change overnight, and am grateful to your website to inspire me to keep working with curcumin. I tried three a day, but cannot go that high yet. I have more energy, sleep a bit better, and am starting to gain weight. I can now exercise. I still can’t eat dairy, sugar, alcohol, or too much of grains, but I am not burping as much all day long now, and am burping less at night. I don’t sleep as much during the day. Best of all, my digestive system is not working as poorly. It has gone from a level 2 to about a 4 in a 1-10 range. Have there ever been any “long term” studies on bad digestion with curcumin? Everything looks so short term.
A. Thus far the studies have not been long term but we hope the benefits of curcumin continue for you. What happens when you take more than three a day?
Q. I can’t take 3 pills a day, as I get diarrhea, and spend a lot of time in the bathroom. I use Doctor’s Best brand. I think it has been helping with my fibromyalgia also. Now it just hurts in the morning usually. Sometimes, it was all day, usually depending on what I ate. I have also noticed the pain in my right hand has gone down when I type. Usually, this would get pretty bad, to where I would wonder if I could type in the future. Now I am not concerned about my future working (accounting work).

Q. My wife has been diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. She is currently taking Aricept, Namenda and Effexor twice a day as prescribed by her neurologist. I am considering purchasing curcumin because of some of the positive effects that I have read about. Should my wife refrain from taking her prescription medications while taking curcumin or can she take both?
A. This is not a decision that we can make. The decision to use curcumin or to not take prescription medications rests on her doctor.

Q. Can you tell me about Curamin. I was recommended this by my chiropractor for my knee that I had orthroscopic surgury on about a year ago, and do you sell this Curamin product. I would appreciate any information that you have on this product.
A. We don’t sell Curamin supplements. A search on google reveals Curamin to have Curcumin, Curcuminoid, Boswellia,
DLPA (dl-phenylalanine) and Nattokinase. We are familiar with each supplement separately but we don’t know about the combination.

Q. I have read some curcumin research that states that the bioavailability of curcumin is somewhat in question due to problems with degradation in the gut. The curcumin research I read stated that consumption of 2-10 grams of curcumin resulted in virtually no increase in the serum levels. I wouldn’t mind taking curcumin in supplement form if I could have some idea that it might actually be absorbed.
A. Curcumin may not be absorbed well, but it appears that it still has biological activity and could be of benefit in pancreatic cancer.

I would like to know if curcumin turmeric supplements are affective in untreated leukemia in adults and children. Have you done any research on the subject? I’ve read that curcumin is more affective if taken together with piperine. Does your formula contain piperine?
You may consider reading information on leukemia. We have not seen any human studies that have tested the combination of curucmin and piperine. If you wish you could take a supplement that contains piperine extract called Bioperine. The curcumin supplement does not have piperine.

Sometimes it seems the more you research something the more confusing it gets. Here’s where I am now. A 60 year old male who had a lot of coronary blockage. A bypass was recommended but I signed a waiver to specifically get plain metal stents (didn’t like what I heard about Plavix). To my disappointment the stents occluded in a couple of months. So I gave in and had a quadruple bypass. Everything seems subjectively ok (except due to a unusual situation one Des was placed inside a blocked plain stent). My cardiologist was of course insistive that I take 75mg of Plavix once a day. Aside from a shaving nick that ran down my chin and onto my shirt, so far so good. However I’m a real “hands on” guy so it’s only a matter of time before I get a substantial injury (had a open globe traumatic eye injury 3 years ago). I ‘m working up here to the idea that I take curcumin for fibrin control rather than get the uncontrolled bleeding, and now apparent “rebound” of infarctions after stopping Plavix. I was taking it 3 days prior to the bypass and my surgeon can attest to it’s anti clotting power (unexpected transfusion mid procedure). So what’s your thoughts on tapering off Plavix (after my year is up next month) and going with what dosage of curcumin. Also, are you sure yours has no lead in it. I know of one case here at the Ayurvedic Clinic here in Fairfield, IA of lead poisoning of a pregnant patient. Also does your product have piperine in it and how is it’s absorbability? I know this is a big question, but after all this I’d like to keep my heart pumping.
We do not hold the opinion that piperine is necessary to be added to curcumin supplements. The decision to use or not use Plavix or curcumin rests with you and your health care provider, we are not in a position to offer individual medical advice.