Natural anti-inflammatory: the gold spice

Natural anti–inflammatory: the gold spice

Turmeric has spacious therapeutic properties. It is used as a herbal medicine for rheumatoid arthritis, anterior uveitis, conjunctivitis, skin cancer, healing wounds, urinary tract infection, and liver disorders.

Several in vitro studies indicate that this spice has a powerful anti – inflammatory and antioxidant activity. There are many plant compounds which demonstrate in vitro the capacity to kill Helicobacter Pylori (a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers and gastritis) as cumin, ginger, chilli, borage and oregano but turmeric is by far the most powerful, although these results can not be transferred to humans. It has strong antioxidant properties; turmeric extracts combat free radicals and increase antioxidant enzymes . As from clinical trial it is possible to show the powerful anti-inflammatory effect that characterizes it.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main forms of chronic intestinal diseases. While ulcerative colitis is confined to the colon and in mild forms, to the rectum, Crohn’s disease can affect all the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. Such diseases have multifactorial origins that is derived from the competition of internal factors (genetic and immunological) and external (environmental) to the guest. They are supported in their evolution by autoimmune disorder mechanisms which produce in excess powerful pro-inflammatory substances such as Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF-a) with its detrimental action that damages the intestinal mucosa epithelial barrier, making it permeable to foreign substances (antigens) that normally should not cross it.

Today , as a therapy, we use anti-inflammatories , immunosuppressants and new biologic drugs blocking TNF action, with high costs and considerable side effects . For these reasons, in recent years, the use of alternative therapies have been encouraged.

Regarding to these diseases , turmeric has proven in some clinical trials to have good therapeutic anti-inflammatory properties against such “ strong” diseases .

In a pilot study (a small-scale study to verify the usefulness of a project) published in “Digestive Diseases and Sciences” 2005, the clinical efficacy of Curcumin is evaluated on 5 patients with ulcerative proctitis and on 5 with Crohn’s disease. Patients with ulcerative colitis are fed with 550 milligrams of Curcumin twice a day , for a month ; after then , always with 550 mg three times a day for another month.
In patients with Crohn’s disease it is administered a dose of Curcumin 360 mg three times a day for a month and then always 360 mg four times a day for two months.

The results were very encouraging: a significant decrease of symptoms as well as indexes of inflammation (VES – PCR) were observed in all five patients with proctitis. In patients with Crohn’s disease there was a net decrease in rating of disease activity index and apparent reductions in inflammatory indexes.

A much larger and important study (randomized, double-blind, multicenter) published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology “2006, concerned the effects of Curcumin on maintenance therapy of ulcerative colitis.
89 patients with quiescent disease are enrolled . 45 patients receiving 1 gram of curcumin twice a day in addition to sulfasalazine (classical bacteriostatic-inflammatory drug) while the other 44 patients receiving placebo in addition to sulfasalazine for 6 months. Seven patients do not complete the trial. The results said that among the 43 patients who received curcumin there were two recurrences (4.65%) during the 6 months of therapy whereas among the 39 patients who received placebo, there were 8 recurrences (20.51 %). Moreover curcumin improved both disease activity indices both endoscopic by decreasing the rate of relapse.
There are no clinical studies in which Curcumin is used alone in these diseases, but it is always designed in conjunction to traditional therapies with the unanimous conclusion that the use of the Spice in the Association is useful, perhaps very useful to prevent relapses and stabilize the disease.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is defined by the presence of pain or abdominal discomfort and a feeling of discomfort in conjunction of evacuations associated with alterations of alvo. It is a common disorder , as reflected in its prevalence in adult and adolescent population is around 15-20%.

A study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine “2004, assesses the therapeutic properties of turmeric in improving symptoms in adults with this functional disorder.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is defined by the presence of pain or abdominal discomfort and a feeling of discomfort in conjunction of evacuations associated with alterations of alvo. It is a common disorder as reflected in its prevalence in adult and adolescent populationas a rate around 15-20%.

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine “2004, assesses the therapeutic properties of turmeric in improving symptoms in adults with this functional disorder.

207 eligible volunteers were enrolled and C. was administered in the form of tablets: 102 patients took one tablet daily from 72 mg of extract of C. standardized and the other 105 patients took two tablets daily, both for 8 weeks .
The number of events related to irritable bowel syndrome occurring in a given period (prevalence) were significantly decreased in both groups; and more specifically by 53% in the group that had taken one tablet a day and 60% in the group that had taken two tablets a day.
This study shows that curcumin can help to reduce significantly the pain and discomfort typical of this functional disorder.

Peptic ulcer

Peptic ulcer

Peptic ulcer

The peptic ulcer is a lesion of the gastric or duodenal mucosa characterized by a loss of substance in depth, caused by the action of pepsin and hydrochloric acid. It is estimated that 10% of the general population will be diagnosed ulcer during their lifetime.
A Thai study, published in the “Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine” in 2001, evaluated the safety and efficacy of curcumin in patients with peptic ulcer. Forty-five patients were included in the study; 25 patients in the survey had endoscopic gastric ulcers is that duodenal, the other 20 patients had erosions, gastritis and dyspepsia.
They were given 3 grams per day of curcumin distributed in five doses during the day for a period of 4 weeks.
The results showed that ulcers after the first 4 weeks were absent in 12 cases at a rate of 48%. Eighteen cases had no ulcers after 8 weeks of treatment and 19 cases (76%) had lesions after 12 weeks of treatment.
The remaining 20 cases suffering from erosion, gastritis and dyspepsia received capsules C. for 4 weeks: abdominal pain and digestive problems had eased since the first week of treatment and the second could take normal food instead of soft meals. At the level of blood tests all 54 patients had significant improvements.

Uveitis

Uveitis

Eye: uvea

For simplicity we consider the eye consisting of three overlapping membranes: the fibrous tunic (external), the vascular tunic also called uvea (intermediate) that represents the media nutritive eye and the retina or nervous habit that makes up the inner part of the eye. The uvea or vascular tunic in turn is formed by a rear part, the choroid, an intermediate one, the ciliary body, and a front iris. The uveitis are inflammations
affecting the uvea of the eye which its vascular district. For many of them the origin remains unknown whereas for others , we recognize as a cause infectious processes and systemic diseases many of which are autoimmune. Often also they involve adjacent ocular structures as the sclera, the retina or cornea.
They represent 10-12% of the ocular pathology and are more frequent between 25 and 50 years. They are the major cause of visual impairment, in fact 10-15% of affected patients become blind. They are an important part of the ophthalmology specialty because very often they go to complicate other systemic diseases such as the large group of rheumatic patologies which have in common diseases as uveal diseases and joints articular diseases : psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis are a clear example .
In this difficult and sensitive area of the eye clinic , C. can express itself with interesting results.
In a small but indicative study published in 1999 in “Phytoterapy Research”, it is evaluated the effectiveness of the administration of curcumin at a dose of 375 mg three times daily for 12 weeks in 32 patients suffering from chronic anterior uveitis.
Participants are divided into two groups. A first group consists of 18 patients assuming curcumin alone, a second group of 14 patients strongly positive to skin reaction to tuberculin, were administered curcumin together with a treatment for tuberculosis. (Ocular Manifestations are present in about 2% of patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis).
After two weeks of treatment, both groups showed improvement. The group that received curcumin along with the anti-tuberculosis therapy had a response rate of 86% improvement. All participants were followed for three years after the study during which it was found a recurrence rate of the disease by 55% in the first group and 36% in the group treated with anti-tuberculosis. Also 4 of the 18 patients in the first group and 3 of 14 patients in the second group (curcumin + anti-tuberculosis drug) have lost their sight for various complications in the three-year follow-up.
The conclusion was that the efficacy of curcumin on recurrences was comparable to corticosteroid therapy, without the adverse effects of the latter. This study is dated in 1999, the year in which the only available therapy was the cortisone.
An important Italian study published in “Clinical Ophthalmology” in 2010, and signed by P.Allegri, A.Mastromarino (hospital Lavagna. Genoa) and P.Neri (Associated Hospitals. Ancona) has tested the effectiveness of C. Meriva (complex patented of curcumin-phosphatidylcholine , 10 times more bioavailable that not complexed C.) in patients with frequent recurrences of anterior uveitis.
122 patients were enrolled (68 men and 54 women, aged 21 to 64 years) with recurrent anterior uveitis, the current therapies with systemic medications or eye drops have been retained. Norflo tablets containing 600 mg of Meriva were administered twice a day for 12-18 months as adjunctive treatment only to patients who had frequent relapses in the last two years; and the treatment was started at the time of relapse. The study group was composed of 106 actual patients divided into three groups according to the different origin of uveitis.
The primary objective of the study was to determine the frequency of relapses in all patients before and after treatment with Norflo, and secondary objectives were the assessment of the severity of the effects and overall quality of life.
The results are interesting: 106 patients had relapses before treatment with Norflo, and only 19 patients had relapses after this treatment. As regards the number of relapses there were 275 a year before treatment with Norflo and only 36 to the end of 12 months of the trial, with an improvement in the percentage of 88%. More specifically: 6 patients who had 4 relapses during the year prior to treatment, have had 0 (zero) recurrences after adjunctive therapy with Norflo. The product was well tolerated and reduced the eye discomfort after a few weeks of therapy in 80% of patients!
This work also suggests the possibility that curcumin may be useful as a natural anti-inflammatory in chronic and relapsing ocular surface such as dry eye syndrome, allergic conjunctivitis and blepharitis, as well as in deep pathologies such as those of the retina.
Another study , as the former, published by the Italian school “Panminerva medical” in 2012, takes as its object of study microangiopathy and diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetes mellitus diagnosed by at least five years. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in these patients who have a risk of developing such invalidity 25 more times than in non-diabetic subjects. The retinal capillaries undergo profound changes:their permeability increases, causing extravasation of plasma material such as lipids and proteins and in the later stages we observe the formation of new blood vessels that break easily, causing bleeding and retinal detachment with consequent visual reduction acuity up to blindness.
All patients had evidence of retinal edema and peripheral microangiopathy. 38 individuals were administered 2 tablets per day of Meriva 500 mg for 4 weeks along with traditional therapies and it was also recruited a control group of 39 patients in which they were administered only standard therapies.
After 4 weeks of treatment , a clinical evaluation has indicated improved microangiopathy device and decrease of peripheral edema in patients treated with Meriva compared to the control group. Imaging studies (duplex scanning) used to assess the flow of the retina, showed improvements in subjects Meriva-treated and retinal edema reduction was associated with better visual acuity. These results, not detectable in the control group, indicating a significant therapeutic value of curcumin highly bioavailable in the management of diabetic retinopathy and microangiopathy.

Idiopathic orbital inflammatory syndrome or “Orbital Pseudotumor”

Eye socket

Eye socket

It ‘s an inflammatory process that is formed inside the orbit and results in the production of a non-cancerous lesion to load of anatomical extra – ocular structures ; it may relate to a muscle, a lacrimal gland or directly to the orbital fat. It ‘s an important pathology in ophthalmology , as it represents the second most common cause of exophthalmos (protrusion forward and outside of the eyeball) after the most famous Graves disease which consists in the protrusion to the outside of the eyeball being hyperthyroidism. The pediatric cases account for 17% of all reported cases, and even in this difficult disease are highlighted remarkable therapeutic properties of C.
Oral corticosteroids, radiotherapy and antimetabolites such as cyclophosphamide are routinely used in the therapy of this disease but from 25% to 50% of patients are not responding.
In a small study published in “Phytoterapy Research” 2000, which involved 8 patients with pseudotumor, were administered orally 375 mg of curcumin three times a day for a period of 6 to 22 months. The patients were followed for two years at intervals of 3 months.
On 5 patients who completed the study , 4 regained complete normalcy and in one patient the swelling regressed completely though persisting in some functional limitations inherent in the movement of the eyes. In addition, the disease had no recurrences and none of the participants and curcumin did not show any adverse effect whatsoever.

Rheumatology

Osteoarthritis of the knee

Osteoarthritis of the knee

Arthritis and osteoarthritis are two terms that indicate two distinct diseases. Both affecting the joints and both are characterized by pain accompanied by stiffness with limitation of movement.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints characterized by swelling, redness, stiffness and pain that can lead to serious limitations in joint movement.
Osteoarthritis, although in its evolution presents an inflammatory component , is not an inflammatory disease but is a form of chronic degenerative of the joints which affects the cells of the articular cartilage (chondrocytes) with regressive alterations and is related to wear of the joints and usually affects people getting older.
Curcumin in these inflammatory diseases has been shown to possess significant therapeutic potential.
In 1980, in the “Indian Journal Medical Research” it was published the first clinical trial that compares the anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic property of curcumin against phenylbutazone (powerful anti-inflammatory which is no longer used for the high toxicity in the bone marrow) in 18 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The patients were randomly assigned to receive either curcumin at a dose of 1200 mg per day, nor phenylbutazone to 300 mg per day for two weeks. The conclusion of the study was that curcumin gain fully antirheumatic result identical to that of phenylbutazone. This result was demonstrated by the improvement in swollen joints, morning stiffness and increased travel time. A limitation of this study was the lack of a control of the placebo group.
A more recent and better structured study of Indian school , published in “Phytoterapy Research” 2012, compares the anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin to diclofenac sodium, known by all as Voltaren.
45 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis are enrolled and they are divided into three groups; a first group assumes 500 mg per day of curcumin, a second group 50 mg of diclofenac and a third group an association of both. The primary objectives were a reduction in the score of disease activity and the secondary ones were to assess the reduction in stiffness and joint swelling. All three groups showed an improvement in the scores of disease activity, but the curcumin-treated group compared to diclofenac, showed a higher percentage of improvement as in scores as in both stiffness and swelling. Furthermore, the level of C-reactive protein (a protein that is found in the blood in the course of acute inflammation) was suppressed in patients treated with curcumin.
Such recent data are encouraging in the use of spice in arthritic processes.
An excellent work of the Italian school appeared in “Alternative Medicine Review” in 2010, analyzed the efficacy and safety of Meriva used in the long term, in a study lasted for eight months, which involved 100 patients with osteoarthritis of the knees. The participants were divided into a control group (50 patients) who did not assume Meriva but could use anti-inflammatories and analgesics according to the requirements of their doctor or specialist, and a group (50 patients) who took Meriva at a dose of 1000 mg per day in two doses plus the ability to take anti-inflammatories and analgesics as needed.
the WOMAC score was rated (a questionnaire is used to assess the condition of the symptoms – pain and stiffness – in patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases), the researchers also asked patients to perform some tests using treadmill which should perform the ability to walk without pain at 3 km / h with an inclination of 10%, and finally some inflammatory markers were assayed in blood such as ESR and various inflammatory interleukins.
The overall WOMAC score in the Meriva group had dropped from 80 (beginning of the study) to 33 (end of study , 8th month) with a very significant statistical decline; this meant a halving both in pain score from 16.6 (early study) to 7.3 (eighth month) both in scoring inherent stiffness that went down from 7.4 to 3.2. All this resulted at the end of the study in a net reduction of pain and stiffness in those taking Meriva in addition to common drugs.
In the control group without Meriva results were completely different: overall score went from 77.7 (start) to 68.8 (8th month), statistically insignificant. The score inherent pain went from 16 (early) to 15.2 (late 8th month), and the rigidity from 6.6 to 6.7 (study end). The values remained virtually unchanged causing no relief in the two parameters considered while assuming the common medications prescribed by their health care professional.
At the end of the study, the researchers observed a dramatic improvement of 3.87 times in the tests to the treadmill of the Meriva group comparing to their first control. Patients who traveled 77 meters without pain at the beginning of the study, at the eighth month, after treatment with Meriva , they could travel along 344 meters without pain.
The markers for inflammation in the Meriva group had visibly reduced whereas there was no appreciable change in the control group.
The reader will remember that both groups of patients could take anti-inflammatories and analgesics according to the requirements of their health. Well , in the group taking Meriva there had been a 63% reduction in the use of anti-inflammatories (for example celecoxib) and physician-prescribed pain relievers (such as acetaminophen). In the control group there was a modest reduction of 12%.
This led to a net reduction of gastro-intestinal disorders, distal edema and hospital controls.

Diabetes and related disorders

The term “diabetes mellitus” applies to a group of metabolic disorders characterized by chronic hyperglycemia due to defects nor to insulin secretion nor to insulin action. The metabolic abnormalities that affect diabetes are always based on the insufficiency of insulin that can arise from a lack of production from the pancreas (type 1 diabetes) or by decreased pancreatic production associated to a deficit of peripheral response of target tissues (type 2 diabetes) . Hyperglycemia is then due to long-term damage of various organs and systems such as eye, kidney, nerve, heart and blood vessels.
There are increasingly convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes is associated with a generalized activation of the immune system that causes chronic inflammation of generalized low-grade detrimental for the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.
Thank to its anti-inflammatory properties natural curcumin is a promising therapeutic option for diabetes type 2. The first report of the hypoglycemic properties of this spice, date back to 1972 and appear in a paper published on ” Indian Journal of Medical Sciences ” but it concerned the study of a single case that had seen much reduced blood glucose values of 140 mg/dl to values of 70 mg / dl.
In 2008 , comes out , in the prestigious journal “Drugs” a work of the Indian school that was testing a standardized preparation of curcuminoids against oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in patients with type 2. The purpose of the study was to compare the effects of curcumin, atorvastatin and placebo on endothelial function (the tissue that lines the inner surface of blood vessels) and on biomarker producted from his stress. Atorvastatin is a very powerful drug used to lower cholesterol and has been shown to improve endothelial function.
72 patients with type 2 diabetes were recruited and divided into three groups, one of which took curcumin 300 mg per day, another atorvastatin 10 mg per day and the last , placebo.
The results show that curcumin has achieved significant improvements in endothelial function, reduction of oxidative stress and the decrease of inflammatory substances produced from the stress of endothelium (cytokines).
Very similar results were obtained with atorvastatin ,burdened with inevitable and important side effects .
On “Diabet Care” in 2012, the monthly magazine of the American Diabetes Association, is published a Thai study which evaluates the effectiveness of curcumin in delaying the development of type 2 diabetes , in a prediabetic population .
The study included 240 patients with prediabetic state, they were divided randomly into two groups, one of which took 1.5 grams per day of curcumin and the other one, took placebo for the duration of 9 months.
After 9 months of treatment in the group that received placebo were diagnosed 19 cases of diabetes mellitus 16.4%, in the group that took curcumin , it did not occur even one case, even more the curcumin-treated group showed an improved function of pancreatic beta cells (cells that produce insulin).

Acute Coronary Syndrome

Coronary arteries

Coronary arteries

The Acute Coronary Syndrome is a set of clinical conditions caused by ischemia (lack of blood supply) , acute myocardial such as unstable angina pectoris and myocardial infarction. Hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia are characteristic features of patients with acute coronary syndrome.
A study published in “Acta Medica Indonesian” in 2008, evaluates the effects of curcumin on total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) and triglycerides in patients with acute coronary syndrome.
A total of 70 patients were divided into 4 groups: placebo, assumption of a low dose of curcumin (45 mg / day), a mean dose (90 mg / day) and a high dose (180 mg / day). Curcumin was administered orally for two months.
The result shows that low doses of curcumin have been very effective in the face of high doses, in reducing total cholesterol and the LDL (bad); also low doses of curcumin increased the good HDL cholesterol to a greater extent than did the high dose. The study is a glimpse of a beneficial effect of curcumin in improving lipid profiles in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis

Similar results, which confirm the therapeutic properties of C. were obtained in another study published in ” Indian Journal Physiology and Pharmacology ” in 1992, in which it was investigated the preventive effect of curcumin on atherosclerosis. This is a chronic inflammatory disease of the arteries of large and medium caliber , characterized by the thickening of the surface vessel and the accumulation of lipids in the wall that form , all over the time , plaque, a typical lesion at an advanced stage, that may occlude the vessel leading to myocardial of the tissue .
Curcumin administered at 500 mg daily for 7 days , decreased blood lipids by 33%, total cholesterol by 11% and increased HDL (good) by 29%, so we can assume its action in the prevention against ‘ atherosclerosis.

Diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy

Another disease related to diabetes is diabetic nephropathy , leading cause of chronic renal failure that affects one-third of people with diabetes and is the second most common cause of kidney failure. There are some markers such as the presence of protein in the urine and the increase of substances such as “transforming growth factor” (TGF-b), which contribute to the development of the disease to its end stage.
In the “Scandinavian Journal of Urology” in 2011, a study examined the effects of curcumin on proteinuria and blood levels of TGF-b, in 40 patients with type 2 diabetes and its nephropathy. 20 were treated with 1.5 gr. of curcumin per day for two months and the remaining 20 with placebo.
The values of proteinuria and serum concentration of TGF-b of curcumin group were significantly decreased after supplementation with spice compared to the placebo group, showing that the integration with C. in nephropathy desease , can be a good adjuvant therapy, even if it takes other long-term studies to assess whether the effect of C. on renal function is transient or long-term.

Diabetic microangiopathy

Diabetic foot

Diabetic foot

It ‘s a chronic complication of diabetes and is to develop atherosclerosis earlier and more intensely than we can observe in the average population. It affects the capillaries with thickening membrane and impaired function; dreaded complications in the kidney, retina and peripheral nerves (diabetic neuropathy). The treatment of such a complication is based on the control of blood sugar, blood fat and blood pressure with glitazones ( they increase tissue sensitivity to insulin), antihypertensives and statins (cholesterol-lowering rate).
In a work of the Italian school appeared in “Panminerva Medica” 2011,it was rated the improvement of diabetic microangiopathy in patients who suffer from this condition for at least 5 years and whose disease had been managed without insulin. As part of the study , it was taken into account, the “diabetic foot” which is the leading cause of non-traumatic amputation of the lower limbs.
For this study , it was used Meriva at a dose of 1000 mg per day for 4 weeks on 25 diabetic patients. In the group treated with Meriva , clinical evaluations of the microcirculation after 4 weeks of treatment ,showed a decrease in blood flow to the skin surface of the foot; this figure is an indicator of improvement of microangiopathy because generally the flow increases in patients with active disease. In addition, there was a decrease of edema that had allowed a better diffusion of oxygen to the skin with an improved skin trophism.
These results present in all patients treated with Meriva were completely absent in the placebo group, which has demonstrated the usefulness of curcumin in the management of diabetic foot.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

It ‘s a serious chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease of unknown cause but supported by a autoimmune reaction against various organs and systems among from which stand out , as for the frequency and the severity, skin, joints, nervous system, musculoskeletal system, heart and kidney .
The involvement of the kidney generates lupus nephritis which is a severe kidney inflammation, clinically evident in about half of patients with SLE. And one of the most serious and one of the leading causes of death in the first ten years of the disease. Loss of protein and blood in the urine and blood pressure are constant symptoms that if not treated , invariably evolve towards irreversible kidney failure.
A study published in the “Journal of Renal Nutrition” in 2012, takes as its object of study, relapsing lupus nephritis and analyzes the effects of supplementation with curcumin in 24 patients suffering from this disease.
Two groups of 12 patients were formed, the control one was administered placebo and the other one was treated with 1.5 grams per day (500 mg / 3 times a day) of curcumin for three months. At the end of the study, the curcumin-treated group showed a significant decrease in proteinuria and hematuria (loss of protein and blood in the urine)and it was also noted a clear decrease in blood pressure. None of similar results were reported in the placebo group for which it was concluded that the use of curcumin as an adjuvant in this serious disease gets real results and can be ²clinically detectable.

Conclusion

A search on the site “Clinical Trials” made in the first months of 2012, reported 35 ongoing clinical studies on curcumin; the same research done in January 2015 shows 108 studies in progress or just completed. The interest in this “New Drug” continues unabated, indeed it increases with time and always stimulates new researches.
The most studied human diseases for which curcumin is being evaluated are cancer, generalized inflammatory conditions , arthritic processes , neurological disorders and diabetes.
There are also clinical situations in which the spice has not shown his proverbial effectiveness.
For example, in a study on the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), no reduction in viral load associated with the administration of curcumin was observed and there was no statistically significant result.
The same is true for Alzheimer’s disease, a severe form of dementia neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the deposition of amyloid plaques on the surface of the brain. In a study published in the “Journal Clinical Psycopharmacology” in 2008, performed on 34 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the Mini Mental Test that assesses the state of mind, did not show any improvement after treatment with curcumin.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by the formation of thick scaly lesions. In a study published in the “Journal American Academy Dermatology” in 2008, the authors concluded that the efficacy of curcumin was too low and did not justify the continuation of the study.
Among other diseases where the spice does not have “shone” we can include the Vitiligo, an autoimmune disease of the skin in which white patches of depigmentation are formed due to the destruction of melanocytes (the cells that give color to the skin). In a study in which they evaluated the antioxidant potential of the spice, as a cream, in the repigmentation of some stains , in combination with irradiation with narrowband ultraviolet , it was shown that the combination of curcumin and ultraviolet rays in repigmentation was slightly better than the irradiation alone.
Disappointing results even for an Italian study published in “Helicobacter” in 2007, which evaluated the efficacy of curcumin in the eradication of Helicobacter Pylori. It ‘s an host bacterium responsible for peptic ulcer of the stomach and other diseases such as lymphoma of the stomach, gastric cancer, anemia, iron deficiency and rheumatological conditions. Out of 25 patients treated with a combination of curcumin (30 mg), bovine lactoferrin (100 mg), acetylcysteine (600 mg) and pantoprazole (20 mg), only 3 of 25 patients (12%) were cured from Helicobacter pylori infection. The authors conclude , in a lapidary way, that this association is not effective in the eradication of the bacterium.
Beyond these unsatisfactory results , the spice retains a huge therapeutic potential as a natural anti-inflammatory and the review of previous studies demonstrate, it is a clear evidence.
A crucial point in its use is due to the very poor intestinal absorption. There are ongoing attempts to improve its bioavailability by associating with liposomes (vesicles with diameter less than one thousandth of a millimeter) and nano-particles (particles with diameter less than one millionth of a millimeter).

A highly successful attempt to make the spice extremely more effective and going to the target , has been published in “International Journal of Cancer” 2014, in which curcumin has been complexed with a monoclonal antibody “trained” to recognize the cells of glioblastoma in mice (tumor highly malignant brain). This resulted in an increase of its effectiveness in eliminate cancer cells by 120 times! The mice had a reduction in tumor mass to 5 times, survived longer and 10% of them lived more than 100 days (with no intervention they live an average of 28 days!). A similar result was also obtained on human glioblastoma cells.
The streets of science opening every day to new discoveries and C. in experienced and curious hands continues to give results of high-relief after 4000 years.

Doctor. Claudio Sandri

Bibliography

The bibliography can be found on the following page.


 

Translated by Ms Jeanne Marie Arcaini



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