The Human Brain is a very carefully structured, complex organ located securely within the skull and is usually the Boss that runs the whole show. Therefore, when abnormal and uncontrolled growths of cells develop in the brain or the vertebrae through which the spinal cord passes, it results in a very serious condition called Brain Cancer.
A cancer of the brain can develop within the primary brain cells, or from the cells within the membranes or blood vessels in the brain or in some cases, cancerous cells present in other organs in the body can travel through the bloodstream to the brain and cause metastatic brain cancer.
Tumors in the brain are inherently life-threatening because the anomalous mass in the brain can lead to an increased pressure within the space inside the skull and distort areas of the brain, interfering with its functions and call for immediate medical attention.
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Risk factors underlying brain cancer
The exact causes for a brain tumor have not yet been determined. However, a few possible risk factors established by research include,
- Radiation to the head
- Genetic conditions- people with a family history of brain tumors are at a slightly higher risk of developing brain tumors
- Cancer in another part of the body
- Age- people over the age of 65 are more susceptible
- HIV infection
- Cigarette smoking and alcohol
- Other environmental carcinogens like chemicals used in the rubber industry, oil refineries etc.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms exhibited usually differ with patients. However, the most common symptoms include,
- Nausea and vomiting, mostly in the morning
- Abnormalities in vision
- Respiratory abnormalities
- Decreased cardiac function
- Altered mental and personality statuses
Turmeric Benefits in Brain Cancer
A rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant called Turmeric, which is native to the southeastern part of the Indian subcontinent, has gotten the medical folks making plans for a new weapon in the battle on cancer.
This mustard yellow herb has a particular polyphenolic compound called curcumin that plays an active role in the destruction of cancerous cells.
Extensive research over many years has given substantial proof that curcumin triggers various cell signaling pathways that suppress and destroy the growth of cancerous cells.
Mechanism of action
Being the incredibly intricate and marvelous structure the human body is, it has a certain highly specific permeability barrier called the Blood-Brain barrier, which separates the circulating blood from the brain’s extracellular fluid.
This selective permeability acts effectively and prevents the entry of most small molecules and microorganisms in the bloodstream into the brain, thus, shielding it from infections. Under such selective conditions, when most molecules are forbidden from crossing this barrier, Curcumin is capable of traversing the blood-brain barrier and efficiently acting on cancerous cells !
Curcumin has very complex mechanisms of action. It extensively acts on cancerous cells alone, leaving the healthy cells unaffected. Curcumin exhibits its anti-cancer effects in the following ways,
- In vitro studies have shown that in a certain rare type of cancer called glioblastoma; curcumin triggers certain cell signaling pathways that destroy the growth of glioblastoma cells and also turns off the signal that protects the glioblastoma cells, thus, allowing the cell suicide process to destroy the cancer cells effectively.
- Every cell needs blood for its growth, without which it would perish. Curcumin acts as an angiogenesis inhibitor. I.e. it prevents the growth of any new blood vessels around the metastasized cells, thus preventing blood supply to the tumor. This lack of blood inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells and also destroys them.
- In case of cancer in the pituitary gland, curcumin inhibits the excess secretion of the pituitary hormones by the tumors and also slows down the growth of the pituitary tumor.
- Certain oncology reports also suggest that curcumin, when combined with chokeberry extract, can inhibit the spreading of malignant cancer cells and also cause cancer cell death.
- Animal studies have revealed that curcumin effectively prevents the initiation of a tumor and also induces cell death in a common type of pediatric brain tumor called medulloblastoma .
- Destroys mutated cells quickly so that they do not spread throughout the body.
- In some cases, normal cells may get transformed into tumor cells. Curcumin acts to prevent this
- It also has anti-inflammatory effects. This could provide relief in relieving the intracranial pressure in the brain due to the development of a tumor .
Turmeric consumption for Brain cancer
Curcumin is not easily absorbed from the intestines into the blood. It is usually expelled from the body within 4 hrs of ingestion. This requires turmeric to be consumed in large amounts for it to be of use.
Instead, curcumin could also be consumed along with certain supplements that would assist the function of turmeric and also help in the absorption of turmeric by the body. It is recommended that turmeric is consumed with a tablespoon of olive oil or a sprinkle of black pepper to help with the same.
Consuming a healthy amount of turmeric in every day’s meals can greatly help the body from metastasizing tumors. A regular dosage of 100% certified organic turmeric with at least 95% curcuminoids is recommended for intake.
Dosage of turmeric
Turmeric supplements for adults have been well studied and established. With standardized Curcumin powder, 400-600mg can be consumed 3 times a day. Turmeric consumed in the form of powdered dried roots should be consumed only once a day with the dosage ranging between 1 and 3 grams.
Any turmeric supplement should, however, be checked with one’s physician for the correct dosage and type of extract to be consumed. This mainly is to avoid undesirable interactions with other drugs that may be consumed parallelly for cancer treatment.
Precautions while consuming turmeric
Turmeric prevents platelet aggregation in the body and increases the risk of bleeding by acting as a natural blood thinner. Therefore, people suffering from bleeding disorders should avoid consuming turmeric.
Turmeric in large amounts can also cause an upset stomach and in extreme cases, excess consumption could lead to stomach ulcers. So, it is advised that one consults with one’s Physician regarding the dosage to be consumed safely for one’s condition.
Turmeric is known to lower blood sugar levels. So, when combined with other medication, say, diabetic medications, it could interact with the drugs leading to a hypoglycemic condition in which the blood sugar level falls below normal. It is advised that patients suffering from diabetes talk to their doctor before setting on a regular dosage.
High turmeric consumption is found to aggravate existing liver and gallbladder conditions. Hence, it is not advisable to patients with gallstones or obstruction of bile passages to consume turmeric.
Although turmeric is considered safe with foods, Pregnant and lactating women are advised against taking turmeric supplements.
Curcumin can interact with other drugs and cause undesirable metabolic effects. People on non-steroidal drugs, Blood-thinning medications, and drugs that reduce stomach acid should always consult with their healthcare provider before taking turmeric.