I wrote a blog on the benefits of curcumin titled Curcumin: Cancer Fighter, Autism Healer. Below are key elements of information from it.
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.
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.
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.