A small but informative clinical trial by Johns Hopkins investigators shows that a pill combining chemicals found in turmeric, a spice used in curries, and onions reduces both the size and number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract.
In the study, published in the August issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, five patients with an inherited form of precancerous polyps in the lower bowel known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) were treated with regular doses of curcumin (the chemical found in turmeric) and quercetin, an antioxidant in onions, over an average of six months. The average number of polyps dropped 60.4 percent, and the average size dropped by 50.9 percent, according to a team led by Francis M. Giardiello, M.D., at the Division of Gastroenterology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Marcia Cruz-Correa, M.D., Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins and the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.
"We believe this is the first proof of principle that these substances have significant effects in patients with FAP," says Giardiello.
Dietary ways to delay the development of cancer might save your life. Various cancers will become curable some time in the next 20 years. It would be so totally unfun to die the year before a cure to your future cancer. Dietary changes that reduce your cancer risks, even if they just delay the development of cancer, could save your life.
The curcumin dose used is much larger than that found in turmeric in Indian food.
Previous observational studies in populations that consume large amounts of curry, as well as laboratory research on rodents have strongly suggested that curcumin -- a relatively innocuous yellow pigment extracted from turmeric, the powdered root of the herb curcuma longa and one of the main ingredients in Asian curries -- might be effective in preventing and/or treating cancer in the lower intestine, according to Cruz-Correa. She said curcumin has been given to cancer patients, and previous studies have demonstrated that is well tolerated at high doses.
Similarly, quercetin -- a member of a group of plant-derived polyphenolic anti-oxidant substances known as flavanoids (found in a variety of foods including onions, green tea and red wine) -- has been shown to inhibit growth of colon cancer cell lines in humans and abnormal colorectal cells in rodents.
Although these substances were administered together, due to relative dose levels it is Giardiello's belief that curcumin is the key agent.
"The amount of quercetin we administered was similar to what many people consume daily; however, the amount of curcumin is many times what a person might ingest in a typical diet, since turmeric only contains on average 3 percent to 5 percent curcumin by weight," says Giardiello. Because of this, he cautions that simply consuming curry and onions may not have the same effect as was produced in this study.
Curcumin capsules would be easier than eating turmeric on everything.
For the most quercetin, eat red and yellow onions; white onions have very little. Coming soon: super-potent onions. At the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, researchers are developing onions extra-high in quercetin and other disease-fighting phytochemicals. Red wine, broccoli and tea are also rich in quercetin.
Apples have it too. "An apple a day...". Eventually we'll get foods genetically engineered to contain all the best cancer risk reducers. In the meantime, if you want to boost topical absorption of quercetin 1000 times ultrasound with quercetin will dramatically boost quercetin absorption.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2006 August 01 07:00 PM Aging Diet Cancer Studies|