The word ‘Cancer’ itself sounds threatening especially the rate at which it is affecting the world population today. Despite of such quality treatment available, the disease is still life threatening.
The disease itself is disabling and the treatment is also very strenuous for the body. Quality of life in cancer patients is impaired. Side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy add to the burden of cancer.
This study comes with great news that taking curcumin along with conventional anti-cancer treatment significantly reduces side effects associated with the treatment.
What happened in this study?
Patients undergoing chemo and radiotherapy and scoring above 70 on the Karnofsky scale were enrolled in the study. Karnofsky scale is used to classify a patient’s performance status when suffering and being treated with cancer.
All the patients were in reasonably good condition, independent and able to take care of themselves.
They were given 500mg Meriva (special formulation of curcumin) or placebo thrice a day for 60 consecutive days. Patients were asked to record incidence of side effects.
What were the results?
Oxidative stress (imbalance between prooxidants and antioxidants in the body) was assessed on the basis of medical tests. It was observed that oxidative stress reduced in Meriva group and increased in placebo group.
Within 2 months of treatment significant reduction in score in chemotherapy induced side effects was observed. For example nausea and vomiting fell down by 2.4 points while diarrhoea and constipation dropped by 3.7 points. In placebo group scores remained same or increased.
Similarly in radiotherapy induced side effects % incidence of side effects reduced greatly in Meriva group in comparison to placebo group. For example incidence rate for nausea and diarrhoea was 15% in Meriva group and 22% in placebo group whereas weakness was 38% in Meriva group and 63% in placebo group.
How did this occur?
Researchers attributed most of these to curcumin’s principal properties: anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. These properties help in reducing gastrotoxicity, infection and malnutrition.
Cognitive function was also assessed since cancer is marked with depression, anxiety and memory impairment. Curcumin also improved these factors which is indicative of its use for improving brain health.
Curcumin has immune modulating property and can help in boosting immunity which is of value to cancer patients.
What does this mean?
Administering bioavailable forms of curcumin, in this case Meriva, during conventional cancer treatments can significantly reduce the prevalence of side effects of cancer treatment. Consult your doctor before taking curcumin supplements.
Read paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23775598