Turmeric: A potential cure for cancer?

 

stock photo, yellow, colorful, spice, jar, jars, spices, turmericCure. A very strong and controversial word within the medical and pharmaceutical communities.  Turmeric, a plant that produces a spice for medicinal use and food preparation, has been benefiting cultures in Asia for thousands of years.  Even recently, claims have been made about turmeric curing specific types of cancer.  Many people probably believe this to be an absurd claim, but does evidence exist to support this case?  I admit, how can a cheap spice available in many local markets compete with a very well funded pharmaceutical industry? The orange-yellowish powder is relatively new to the western world, arriving in Europe sometime in the mid-20th century.  Today, turmeric is talked about in almost every media outlet from mainstream to smaller independents.  Google analytic’s show a 300% growth of ‘turmeric’ searches within the last 5 years.  So, what is it about turmeric that has everyone energized?  Is there some truth behind these awe-inspiring claims?

The two main uses for turmeric are for medicinal and culinary purposes.  For the sake of this post, we’ll focus on the medicinal aspect.  The active ingredient in turmeric, and in small amounts of ginger, that shows to be beneficial to our health is a molecule called curcumin.  This powerful component of turmeric “exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects, and these anti-inflammatory effects may be protective against some form of cancer progression based on very preliminary research,” according to examine.com.  TTAC adds that, “Based on a 2011 study conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, researchers found that the curcumin extract effectively differentiates between cancer cells and normal cells while activating cancer cell death (apoptosis).”

Aside from evidence curcumin is effective against certain types of cancer, it is also known to “help detoxify and rejuvenate the liver, reduce negative effects of iron overload , increase antioxidant capacity in the body, regenerate brain cells and improve cognitive function, reduce likelihood of and treats Alzheimer’s, is anti-inflammatory, reduce heart disease risk, reduce depression, and fight premature aging,” says naturalnews.com.  Examine.com has reviewed 288 individual, scientific studies on curcimin and created an easy to read matrix based on the various study results.  In this table you can see the magnitude of effect curcumin has on humans, the level of evidence to support said effect, and the level of consistency in the results.

Excerpt of the Human Effect Matrix | examine.com

Some personal testimonies are even more optimistic.  In one reported case, a woman eliminated stage-3 myeloma by using a strict regiment of curcumin.  Mrs. Dieneke Furguson was first diagnosed with the blood cancer in 2007 and it had spread quickly.  UK Daily Mail reports that, “Doctors say her case is the first recorded instance in which a patient has recovered by using the spice after stopping conventional medical treatments. With her myeloma spreading rapidly after three rounds of chemotherapy and four stem cell transplants, the 67-year-old began taking 8g of curcumin a day – one of the main compounds in turmeric.”

The Mayo Clinic, a well know cancer research and medical practice center, is hesitant to conclude that turmeric has any of the aforementioned qualities…in humans. However, in a monotonous write-up on their website mayoclinic.org, they do admit that research is “ongoing” and that “laboratory and animal research suggests that curcumin may prevent cancer, slow the spread of cancer, make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy.”  In my opinion, this is a highly notable statement from one of the largest “not-for-profit” hospitals, that happened to rake in almost $11 billion in revenue in 2016 ($278 million in retail pharmacy sales alone), that financially benefit from expensive and ghastly cancer treatments.  I did mention before that turmeric root powder was cheap, only costing about $25 for an organic, lead-free tested, 24 ounce bag.  It would be quite difficult for large medical clinics to profit from something you could grow in your backyard if further studies continue to prove the promising results.

There are a few downsides to curcumin to take note.  It has low bioavailability, meaning the body has challenges absorbing this powerful compound.  According to nautralnews.com, a few ways to increase absorption and maximize your curcumin intake is to combine this spice with healthy fats (olive oil, avocado), a black pepper extract called piperine, or combine with quercetin. “Foods high in quercetin include red wine, red grapes, onions, green tea, apples, cranberries, blueberries, black plums, red leaf lettuce, raw kale, chicory greens, raw spinach, sweet peppers, snap beans and raw broccoli. The best whole food source of quercetin is capers.”  Naturalnews continues, “Some test tube studies suggest that high concentration of curcumin can cause DNA damage as well as suppress the immune system.”  As with many things in life, moderation is important.  Curejoy.com reports that, “Dietary intake of turmeric on a regular basis is fine and seems to cause no side effects. However, some people have complained of stomach aches after prolonged ingestion of large amounts of turmeric. There have also been some reports of skin problems and irritation on consuming large amounts.”  In others words, follow recommended serving sizes and stop using if you are noticing negative side effects.  As with many non-regulated supplements, quality can vary.  Ensure you are buying turmeric or curcumin from a legitimate and trusted source.  If you plan to use turmeric for reasons beyond adding it to your daily diet as healthy, preventative measure, ensure you perform your own, adequate research.

In conclusion, there have been a vast amount of studies performed on turmeric that are showing promising results.  These same studies have also shown that some of the benefits claimed may be more probable, while others claims may be more hype.  However, just about every source I reviewed did agree on one common fact, turmeric is effective to some degree.  The ongoing debate will be how effective is curcumin for each desired outcome.  If you make a choice to introduce proper quantities of turmeric into your diet, ensure you purchase from a trustworthy source.  Also, take steps to maximize the benefits of the turmeric you ingest by following the bioavailablily tips noted above.  Ask your friends or family members if they have any experience using turmeric and take an active part in researching and sharing your knowledge to others.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below or start your own discussion at forum.salusupdate.com.  Also, visit www.salusupdate.com for the latest health headlines from around the world.

 

Sources:

Curejoy.com

Examine.com | Turmeric

Examine.com | Curcumin

Mayo Clinic

Naturalnews.com | How turmeric kills cancer

Naturalnews.com | Stage-3 myeloma cancer completely eliminated

Postbulletin.com | Mayo Clinic finances

Thetruthaboutcancer.com (TTAC)

UK Daily Mail

Wikipedia | Turmeric

 

Motivation vs. Discipline

A new year. A new start. A concept many people believe.  Although, I have never understood why January 1st carries such a deep association to change and improvement as opposed to any other random date.  A change for the better can begin at any time if you have the motivation.  Or, is it more discipline that you need?  An article from breakingmuscle.com directs the spotlight on motivation vs discipline.  Motivation – a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way. Discipline – train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.  From these simple definitions it is apparent that one behavior tends to be sporadic, or short-term, moments while that other seeks consistence.  Motivation can burn within a person almost instantaneously resulting from an experience or observation, good or bad, but can then soon smolder.  Discipline is the true grit that takes a spontaneous burst of motivational fire that is within you and keep you on track to achieve a new goal.

Discipline is a trait that can be learned, but will most likely be challenging in the beginning.  The first step, as mentioned in previous Salus Update Blog posts, is to start small.  Do not set yourself up for failure by taking on too much, too fast.  Second, set realistic and achievable goals, write them down and keep them in a place where you’ll see them often. Lastly, ensure it is meaningful to you and remind yourself why it’s important to you to achieve the particular goal.

Of course, both motivation and discipline are important. The key is understanding the differences between the two in order to give you the best chance to succeed.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below or start your own discussion at forum.salusupdate.com.  Also, visit www.salusupdate.com for the latest health headlines from around the world.

Source: You Don’t Need Motivation, You Need Discipline | Breaking Muscle

The mysterious placebo effect

We, humans, underestimate the power of our brains and consciousness.  An example of this has been demonstrated through numerous studies and it has come to be known as the placebo effect.  A phenomenon that takes place when a fake treatment is administered to a patient that results in positive or negative outcomes.  Put in another way, an individual can improve or worsen their particular condition solely based on what the person’s belief’s and expectations are of the treatment.  A simple example of this is putting a Band-Aid on a child instantly making the child feel better.  A more complex example was shared in the article by experiencelife.com called, “The power of the placebo effect.”  In this case, a woman had been in pain when she fractured her spine and was no longer able to perform activities such as playing golf.  A few months after the incident, she was included in a “trial for an outpatient procedure called vertebroplasty, which involves injecting medical cement into fractured bone to strengthen it. She walked out of the hospital after the procedure and felt better immediately.”  Ten years after the trial she still reported how pleased she was with the outcome, never knowing that she was part of the placebo group.

Other accounts of positive outcomes come even when people know they are taking a placebo.  According to webmd.com, “Studies show that placebos can have an effect on conditions such as: depression, pain, sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and menopause.”  These results are not only imaginary, “some studies show that there are actual physical changes that occur with the placebo effect. For instance, some studies have documented an increase in the body’s production of endorphins, one of the body’s natural pain relievers.”

As experiencelife.com asks, “Might the placebo effect have real clinical value?  Can a simple belief – that we are about to get better – have the power to heal?”  Research into the placebo effect is relatively new, as the first paper published was only in 1955 called “The Powerful Placebo” by Henry K. Beecher.  However, from the studies already completed to date it is looking very promising.  A recent study published in 2010 tested 80 patients with IBS.  Half of the group knowingly received a placebo and the other half received no treatment of any kind.  The “patients who were consciously taking placebos did significantly better than those who received no treatment…and the act of taking a pill was enough to trigger the body’s own healing response.”

A more significant question I have is, why are placebo effect treatments not more widely studied and used in the medical field? I believe the main hindrance is that the pharmaceutical industry is just too powerful to overcome and that there is little money to be made in placebos.  According to statista.com, there was almost $1 TRILLION USD global pharmaceutical sales in 2016.  $1 TRILLION!  In Beecher’s study he reported that 32% of his patients responded to the placebo effect.  If doctors prescribed an extremely cheap, non-active, no side effect placebo pill and it was positively effective for one-third of the patients, that could equate to hundreds of millions of lost profits every year for BigPharma.  Right there are hundreds of millions of reasons to keep placebos on the back burner instead of focusing on the most important thing, helping people.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below or start your own discussion at forum.salusupdate.com.  Also, visit www.salusupdate.com for the latest health headlines from around the world.

Sources:

The Power of the Placebo Effect – Experience Life

WebMD.com

statista.com

Will gorging over Thanksgiving weekend cause you to gain fat?

It is not a stretch to assume the majority of people who participated in this year’s Thanksgiving dining experience ate more than average during their idle conversations among various distant family members and friends.  Regardless if any of those stagnant conversations resulted in arguments or new bonds, most will at least have this one thing in common, they ate too much.  In an article from examine.com, “When you binge on Thanksgiving, what happens inside your body,” they calculated that the typical calorie intake on Thanksgiving is about 1,000 calories more than an average day.  Fortunately for us, the studies reviewed in the article concluded that this short-term overeating does not necessarily result in fat gain, but merely a slight weight gain.  Various factors can cause weight gain like excess water or the frequency of bathroom trips.  To give you an example, “the average morning pee weighs half a pound. The average poop weighs a third of a pound.”  What type of food you eat also plays a role in holiday weight gain.  Studies showed that over eating on proteins will cause less fat storage than over eating fats or over consuming alcohol.  Lifestyle will play an important role as well.  Are you moving from chair-to-couch-to-bathroom-to-chair watching TV or are taking a walk around the block or playing a family game of touch football?

For me, slight weight gain isn’t an issue and I think it’s good to lounge around at times. We have enough stress in our lives already.  However, overfeeding can also affect your gut bacteria. “Over 90% of your serotonin is in your gut, and gut serotonin plays a role in regulating body weight.”  This is more of a concern for repeat over feeders and probably shouldn’t worry if it’s only a holiday binge.

Overall, the studies in the article show that you do not need to agonize over your holiday meals, but rather focus on your overall eating habits and lifestyle.  If anything, the studies may give you that confidence to go ahead and eat what you want, so indulge (on occasion).  Christmas isn’t too far away to put on another impressive display of eating ability, but let’s all keep up a regular workout routine and good eating habits until then.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below or start your own discussion at forum.salusupdate.com.  Also, visit www.salusupdate.com for the latest health headlines from around the world.

Source: When you binge on Thanksgiving, what happens inside your body? | Examine.com

New guidelines will instantly diagnose an additional 31 million Americans with high blood pressure

Due to changes in blood pressure criteria made by the American Heart Association (AHA), millions of Americans “…will need to change their lifestyles or take medicines to treat…” their newly diagnosed condition, according to an article in the The New York Times.  This startling update from the already controversial AHA prompts the need for further investigation on the impact and true agenda of this decision.  Western medicine has provided many benefits to society, but these benefits also come with less transparent, more sinister, opportunistic business agendas.  AHA is a known lobbyist group, non-profit business, that manages to collect nearly 1 billion dollars USD every year to push various pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

Question to ponder #1: How many more unnecessary prescriptions will now be pushed onto millions of patients to meet these new standards, as opposed to, encouraging a moderate ‘lifestyle’ change to naturally control blood pressure?

This is not the first time the AHA has changed guidelines that resulted in an increased supply of prescription drugs.  In 2013, the AHA targeted cholesterol levels, changing guidelines that would make 13 million additional people in the U.S. eligible to receive statin therapy.  Again, the focus being on the potential increase of prescription drugs when attention and energy should have been spent on encouraging and facilitating a change to our overall eating habits and lifestyle.  However, the latter would not be as profitable for many companies.

Question to ponder #2: How many people do you know that have been prescibed a ‘preventative’ cholesterol-lowering prescription drug only because they reached  a certain age and told it may lower their risk of cardiovascular disease in the future?

Here are a few, natural ways you can try to help maintain your blood pressure and lower your cholesterol.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below or start your own discussion at forum.salusupdate.com.  Also, visit www.salusupdate.com for the latest health headlines from around the world.

 

Sources:

Under New Guidelines, Millions More Americans Will Need to Lower Blood Pressure – The New York Times

Newsfakes.com

TruthWiki.org

Medpagetoday.com [Statin study in this article was funded by the ACC/AHA and the author and co-author have disclosed relationships with statin producing companies.  This was not a third party study and can have conflict of interests]

 

Recurrent concussions are down in high school sports

I played competitive youth football, and other sports, up through high school varsity.  Many people have. It is one of the highlights of high school to be able to play under the lights of a roaring crowd and blaring pep songs of dueling marching bands.  Concussions? Long-term brain injuries?  What was that?  The only concern at that time in ones life is ‘what will I do when I graduate.’  The debate of head injuries that has come to light in the past few years is a healthy one.  The science is new and not fully understood, but there is enough evidence to support beneficial dialogues, as opposed to, suppressing or ignoring the information due to fears of disrupting a billion dollar football industry or the way-of-life in west Texas.  NFL lobbyist and avid football fans aside, there is an issue to resolve.  The headline in the article from Fox News, ‘Recurrent concussions are down in high school sports’, is quite auspicious.  Quickly followed by this ominous statement, “…children playing tackle football before age 12 may result in long-term neurobehavioral problems.”  This topic is too new to come up with any valid conclusions, but it is time to raise more awareness and ask more questions.  It has caught my attention enough that I have considered encouraging our youth to take up a golf club over the pig skin.  My main reason for this, you can golf the rest of your life in beautiful locations.  I haven’t played real American football since I was 18 years old and now I hit the links every weekend.  Do I regret playing football?  Absolutely not, but I wouldn’t mind having a much improved single digit handicap now because of free high school coaching and forced practicing I would have received.

Related Post: Is youth football participation really declining?

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below or start your own discussion at forum.salusupdate.com.  Also, visit www.salusupdate.com for the latest health headlines from around the world.

 

With passage of laws requiring U.S. high schools to report young athletes’ concussions, more of these head injuries are being reported – but the rate of repeat concussions has gone down, a new study shows.

Source: Recurrent concussions are down in high school sports | Fox News