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Curcumin + Omega-3 Curbed Breast Cancer
Cell study found special anti-cancer promise from pairing omega-3 DHA with turmeric’s orange-yellow pigment
1/14/2013
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First things first … we’re talking about a test tube study in breast cells, not a clinical trial.
 
But its encouraging results echo those of a large body of similar experimental lab evidence.
 
Curcumin is the trio of “curcuminoids” pigments in turmeric root … which gives curry spice blends their characteristic yellow-orange color.
 
Lab experiments and preliminary clinical studies indicate that this synergistic trio supports immune and brain health in uniquely powerful ways.
 
And earlier this month, the authors of a review paper painted this positive picture of the substantial clinical evidence on curcumin:
“Extensive clinical trials over the past quarter century have addressed the … efficacy of [curcumin and] promising effects have been observed in patients with various pro-inflammatory diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis … [and more than 25 others]. (Gupta SC et al. 2013).
 
(Note: The curcumin in most curcumin supplements is very poorly absorbed … see “Choose curcumin supplements carefully”, below.)
 
Omega-3 DHA – one of the two omega-3s (DHA and EPA) found in fish – displays consistent, substantial anti-cancer effects in lab (test tube and animal) studies.
 
This experiment’s hopeful outcomes may help explain the many studies linking fish-rich diets to lower cancer risks.
 
Specifically, the researchers tested omega-3 DHA, which is essential to human survival and to brain, eye, and immune-system health.
 
The Indiana experiment's outcomes suggests that alone, DHA and curcumin curb the growth of various breast cancers.
 
And together, DHA and curcumin curbed the growth of one common type of breast cancer more effectively than either agent alone.
 
Test tube study sees synergistic anti-cancer effects 
This well-designed in vitro (test tube) experiment was conducted by researchers from Indiana University and Indiana’s Purdue University (Altenburg JD et al. 2011).
 
The Indiana-based team tested various curcumin+DHA combinations – and each food factor alone – against five different breast cell “lines” or types in the test tube.
 
They looked for changes to “working “genes and various immune-system agents known to influence the growth and survival of various kinds of breast cancers.
 
Encouragingly, adding curcumin+DHA to test tubes curbed the growth of all five breast cell lines (SK-BR-3, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-361, MCF7 and MCF10A).
 
Beneficially, genes that promote cancer development, metastasis (spread), and other dangerous trends were down-regulated (switched off).
 
And genes that suppress cancer cell growth and spread were up-regulated (switched on)… as were genes that promote cancer-cell suicide (apoptosis) and normal “cell adhesion”.
 
(Cell-to-cell adhesiveness decays in cancers, which allows their cells to disobey the “social order” and spread, willy-nilly.)
 
Better yet, the levels of helpful compounds (PPAR-gamma and phospho-p53) rose in response to the curcumin+DHA combo, compared with either compound alone.
 
Finally, omega-3 DHA enhanced absorption of curcumin into SK-BR-3 breast cancer cells. It did not significantly enhance uptake of curcumin in other cancer cell lines.
 
The anti-cancer effect was stronger against one cell line (SK-BR-3), compared with the effect of curcumin or DHa alone.
 
(For decades, the SkBr3 cell line has been used in studies seeking to overcome resistance of HER2-positive breast cancer to drugs like Herceptin. About one in every five breast cancers are HER2-positive, and they tend to be more aggressive.)
 
The authors expressed optimism about the cancer-prevention implications of their findings:
The combination of DHA and CCM [curcumin] is potentially a dietary supplemental treatment for some breast cancers, likely dependent upon molecular phenotype [type of cancer cell].” (Altenburg JD et al. 2011)
 
We’ll stress again that these results can’t prove that curcumin, DHA, or any combination of the two prevents breast cancer in general, or any particular kind.
 
However, omega-3s offer likely heart-, brain-, immune-health, and other benefits ... as does curcumin.
 
Getting the most from turmeric and yellow curry
It seems wise for women (and men) to enjoy ample seafood – especially fatty fish – and dishes made with fresh turmeric and/or yellow curry powder.
 
When making or dining on a meal made with yellow curry or fresh turmeric, be sure to include fats, to aid the absorption of curcumin.
 
The best absorption-enhancing choices are:
  • Fatty wild fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, sardines, sablefish, anchovies, herring, and mackerel)
  • Whole organic dairy and naturally raised meat and poultry.
  • Oils low in omega-6 fats (e.g., organic extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, canola oil, or hi-oleic sunflower oil)
Choose curcumin supplements carefully
Of course, it’s not always easy to eat or serve lots of fish and curry.
 
But as the researchers said, supplements can serve as good stand-ins.
 
Unfortunately, curcumin is not well-absorbed after it’s been extracted from turmeric ... unless it is accompanied by fats or turmeric’s own volatile oils.
 
Fortunately, our curcumin extract includes the full spectrum of turmeric volatile oils.
 
Recent research shows that these volatile oils also enhance the benefits of curcumin and provide their own ... but typical curcumin supplements don’t include any, and are very poorly absorbed.
 
Clinical studies show that the curcumin in our extract is absorbed six to seven times better than the curcumin in conventional 95%-curcumin dietary supplements (Antony B et al. 2012).
 
This means that a 500 mg serving (two softgel capsules) of Vital Choice Curcumin in Wild Salmon Oil – which contains 85% curcuminoids (425mg) – is equivalent to about 3,000 mg of a typical 95% curcumin supplement.
 
To further bolster the benefits of our premium turmeric extract, we deliver it in a healthy dose of omega-3-rich Vital Choice Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil.
 
Each 500 mg serving (two softgel capsules) of Vital Choice Curcumin provides 80mg of omega-3 DHA.
 
 
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