Curcumin: Cancer Fighter, Autism Healer

There are many benefits attributed to the use of curcumin. The two most impressive for our family are its cancer fighting abilities and the healing benefits for autism.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient of turmeric, which is used as a seasoning and the key ingredient of curry.  Curcumin has been used in the Indian and Chinese cultures for medicinal purposes for thousand of years.  Studies have shown it to possess the following properties: anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, cholesterol lowering, antibacterial and anti-fungal effects. It contains a mixture of powerful antioxidant phytonutrients called curcuminoids.

Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties it can also help to keep the neural pathways clear, helping with dementia, like Alzheimer’s and neurological disorders, like autism.

Cancer Fighter

Curcumin can significantly slow the growth of skin, lung, breast and prostate cancers. The anti-tumor effect stem from its ability to induce apoptosis in cancer cells without cytotoxic effects on healthy cells. (Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are forms of cytotoxic therapy).  In other words, it induces the abnormal cells to kill themselves before they become cancerous, while leaving the healthy ones alone. Before apoptosis is induced, curcumin stops cancer cells from multiplying. In cancer research, this is known as “interrupting the cell cycle”.  Therefore, curcumin is useful for cancer prevention and therapy.

Curcumin can block chemicals from getting inside cells.  It can interfere with pesticides that mimic estrogen. These include DDT and dioxin, two extremely toxic chemicals that contaminate America’s food and water. Some studies have even suggested that curcumin can inhibit cancer metastasis.

On a personal note, when my sister decided to stop chemotherapy treatments for her cancer, we asked her oncologist what natural supplements she could use instead. He immediately suggested curcumin. This took me by surprise because at the time I had only known its’ benefit for treating my son with autism and his health issues.


Curcumin has a detoxifying effect on the body by improving liver function and helping the body eliminate at a greater and more efficient rate.

It also helps with detoxification by increasing cellular glutathione levels.  Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as free radicals. Glutathione is produced by the body and found in every cell. It’s the body’s most important antioxidant because it’s within the cell.  Because glutathione exists within the cells, it is in a prime position to neutralize free radicals. It also has potentially widespread health benefits because it can be found in all types of cells, including the cells of the immune system, whose job is to fight disease.

In autism and ADHD, glutathione reserves are commonly low.  This leads to many biochemical problems for children with autism, one being an inability to detoxify toxins such as mercury and lead.  These toxins adversely affect chemicals in the brain that support attention, focusing, and general awareness. By increasing glutathione levels, curcumin can provide numerous benefits for these kids.

My son with autism had low glutathione levels, heavy metal toxicity and gut dysbiosis (stemming from too much bad bacteria in the gut). We have significantly increased his detoxification abilities through transdermal glutathione, IV glutathione and glutathione precursors like methyl-B12 and TMG. Our latest endeavor is curcumin. We are using Lee Silsby’s brand, called Enhansa.

Lee Silby's Enhansa

The benefits we are seeking from Enhansa (curcumin) are increased cellular glutathione, anti-inflammatory effects for his gut and brain, improve his liver detoxification and to chelate lead and cadmium. It will also protect his body and brain from the damaging effects of mercury.

Curcumin is very phenolic and my son with autism reacts to phenols. So we are trying curcumin in conjunction with the digestive enzyme No-Phenol. This enzyme will help his body process the phenol load from the curcumin. We will also be providing him with Epsom salt baths seven days a week to support detox. As with all new supplements we give him, will be starting out with a very low dose and increase it slowly, so to minimize any die-off reactions. If needed, we’ll give him activated charcoal to help mop up the toxins.

I believe so strongly in the benefits of curcumin, that I have also started taking it. Cancer is in my family history and I believe curcumin will help me not become another cancer statistic.  Once again, I can thank autism for entering our lives and being the impetus to learn more about the importance of maintaining our overall health.

27 Responses

  1. Great info! My daughter has SPD and I’m always thinking about diet, exercise, and other interventions for her. Here are a couple of things to check out, too… – education/therapy for autism, spd, adhd and lots of info on functional disconnection syndrome – good detox article, not really about autism though

  2. Hello. Found your blog as I tripped the internet fantastic. I am just starting using Enhansa with my son and was looking for some information about possible side-effects other than “die-off.” Just wanted to say that I enjoy your blog articles. My son is 8 and has ASD, non-verbal. I have been down many roads and still perservering. I also wanted to tell you that I love, love, love the epsom salt spray idea for the pool. I would love to add your blog to my blog roll if that’s okay. Thanks.

    • Thanks Kathryn! I’d love it if you added my blog to your blogroll, thank you. I’ll have to check out your blog too. The reactions my son gets from Enhansa is either from the “die-off” or the phenols. He gets real foggy, and stims a lot. The phenols in curcumin make him hyper too. I don’t give it past lunchtime due to it interfering with sleep. Once the “fog” wears off, he is very alert, present and language boosts a bit. He struggles sometimes with expressive speech, but we’re getting boosts of it from Enhansa and the methyl-B12 really helps his speech. Stay strong and keep up the great work on healing your son. Blessings,

  3. Update on Enhansa for my son. He is tolerating the increased dosage and we are up to 300 mg in the AM and 75 mg in the afternoon. He is non-stop talking now. He doesn’t struggle with expressive speech in telling me about everything. He only uses the incorrect term or word in a sentence. Before, he would struggle with his thoughts being put into words. Not now! Little motor mouth he has become. I love it! The No-Phenol is helping him with the phenols, along with the Epsom salt baths.

  4. Great info so happy to find your blog. How long did it take to see improvement. My daughter just began today. Thanks

    • We saw improvement within the first week that he got up to 150 mg dose. It was a slow upping of the dose, so the improvements were slow, but expressive language improved and his gut function. At first his gut went through a “die off” from bacteria, toxins, but it eventually improved.

  5. My 4yr old ASD son has just increased his Enhansa dose to 150mg a day. He was taking 75mg for a month. Days ago, he has been having gold sandy colored diarrhea. Is this a side effect from the extra dose of enhansa? Will the runny stools last, or is this a short term die off reaction? Pls help!

    • Well, that may be what is happening with your son’s response to the increased dose. Each child has different needs when it comes to how low and slow you should go with increasing any supplement. I personally have found that Enhansa is very powerful and a great detoxification for the gut, and it can cause die off reactions when doses are increased. Have you tried backing off the dose some and perhaps increasing to 150 mg over the course of two weeks, slowly? I went in 25 mg dose increases when I gave my son Enhansa. It took us about a month to go from 75 mg to 150 mg…due to his phenol intolerance. Try activated charcoal to help with the die off and diarrhea.

  6. Can you please tell me what “die off” means? Thanks!

    • Die off refers to the toxins in the body/digestive tract that are being eliminated. They can cause physical reactions with either diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches, fatigue, body aches, (basic flu like symptoms). They can also trigger behaviors too, like stimming, uncontrolled giggling/sillyness, opposition, meltdowns. etc.

  7. Hi, just wondering if your son is still on Enhansa and if so did the progress in his speech stay? Did you have any tests that told you Enhansa was the right way to go? I have only done the hair test so far which showed atimony, lead and mercury. I’m going it alone at the moment with my little one. He is on multi vits, extra vit d, bionativus nd digestive enzymes. He was doing really well but seems to have regressed recently ( toilet training wise). What has helped your son the most?

    • My son is not on Enhansa anymore. He can’t handle it for too long due to the phenols in it. His speech progress has stayed and improved. We had done tests on his heavy metals and he had antimony, lead, mercury and PCB’s he was retaining. The best treatment by far was the IV chelation treatment and mb12 shots. Enhansa will help your son detox and it will kill off bacteria/yeast that holds these heavy metals in the gut. My son’s toilet training was greatly affected (improved) with B6 and mb12 shots. Have you tried higher doses of B6 with magnesium?

  8. I had a chronic cough that went on for 3 months. My doctor prescribed curcuma and the cough was gone in a week. Maybe the cough was going to go away anyway, but I very much doubt it.

  9. hi…can I give my child, who has autism, regular food….and if so, is 5mg enough? thank u

    • I don’t see why not. That’s a pretty low dose.

      • Hi,

        Thanks a lot for this article.

        My son is 4 years, and his believed to be autistic, his main problem now is concentration, speech, and is hyperactive.

        Can this really help him for these three major areas?
        If so, what’s the dose?
        If this can’t help him, do you know any other Home Remedy that can help my son?

        Thank you

      • Hi Hamilton, sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been offline for a while. Have you had a chance to read through my blog on other posts about supplements? Curcumin is a great herbal supplement but go low dose and slow…it really causes die-off reactions and if your son can’t handle phenols, it’s a problem. Epsom Salt baths do help a lot though. The biggest things that have helped my son are methyl B12 shots, probiotics, GABA & magnesium, vitamin B6.

  10. we started the enhansa and the trienza about the same time, and my son has become even more visual stimmy than usual I know I shouldn’t have done both at the same time, but which is more likely to be the stimmy culprit and how long should it last? he is on 75 mg 4 times a day now, we worked up to it adding one pill a week and seems to tolerate it fine except for the stimming

    • Well, both can cause die off reactions (my son gets stimmy when in die off). But my guess is the Enhansa since you are dosing that 4 times a day. How did it go for him? Did you notice improvement?

  11. I just started my 4.5 year old on Enhansa two days ago. The Lee Silsby web site claims the supplement is very low in phenols and oxalates. Did you find this not to be the case? Or, maybe they modified the formula to make it low phenol? Regardlesss, I give him a capsule at breakfast with a No Fenol enzyme. He has had some loose stools and is moody and stimmy. Would this be a die off reaction? I’m not seeing any gains yet.

    • Sounds like die off reaction. I don’t know if Lee Silsby reformulated Enhansa to be low phenol since I used it several years ago. If it is, I’m interested in trying it again since my son had trouble with the phenols. Stick with it and get beyond the die off and you’ll see gains.

  12. Hi, can I give my 10 yrs old non verbal autistic son Enhansa (enhanced absorption curcumin) 150 mg along with Suer Nu thera and cod liver oil. Is Turmeric Formula (90 Vegetarian Capsules) from the vitamin Shopp same as Enhansa or different?

    • Enhansa is different than Turmeric Formula based on how it extracts curcumin. Be careful with Enhansa, it will cause a strong die-off of toxins and symptoms are no fun. I went very low dose and ramped up slowly. Took a few months before I reached 150 mg and my son was having phenol issues with it and die-off symptoms.

  13. He had difficulty with the phenol content and it caused some major die-offs. But after each die-off, I saw gains in language expression, train of thought became more consistent and logical, he felt better overall. When he experiences a die-off from any detoxification supplement, the end results are better eye contact, language and social skills. Everything that affects him in autism starts to improve for the better.

    • What do you mean by phenol die off? You said it helped your son but he cant tolerate too long because of phenols. What reaction does he have, and wouldnt he eventually adjust? My son is 11 and I’ve done various things over the years . Just started him on turmeric this January. When we ran out, i noticed his improved behaviors regress. I started researching and found enhansa. We start this week but in the meantime he is on a whole foods brand. His adhd is crazy right now I’m guessing die off. Please explain why phenols made u stop.

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