Interview with Prof. Aggarwal (Natural Medicine Journal, December 2009)

December 4 2009 post. It is raining in Florence today, it’s damp, chilly and miserable out there, but for me it couldn’t be a lovelier, sunnier day. Ah yes, thanks to a December 2009 interview with Prof. Bharat Aggarwal that I read this morning, I am as happy as a purring cat. A blog reader sent me the link, thank you sooo much. The interview contains a huge amount of valuable information…in just two pages. The main thing, in my opinion, is that it answers many of our questions and doubts about the bioavailability of curcumin. But there is much more, too, so please have a look: http://goo.gl/wcZ6n

The issue of bioavailability is of particular relevance to those of us who take curcumin. Yes, Prof. Aggarwal is right, curcumin is cheap compared to conventional drugs. But it can still be a drain on our household finances (I am lucky to have very generous, loving parents!). Think of it this way: you wouldn’t buy a pair of jeans that was three sizes too big/too small for you, right? No, you buy a pair that fits. The same principle applies to curcumin or anything else, for that matter. You want to invest in something that fits/works/etc. That is why I always tell people who want to start taking curcumin to try it for a couple of months and see if their cancer markers go down. Ah, but I digress, as usual.

My point is, and I have written about this in previous posts, if curcumin does not show up in huge amounts in the bloodstream, it is probably working at some other level. Otherwise, how could I have remained stable for almost four years? How could it work for so many of my blog readers/myeloma list friends? That would make no sense. Well, we don’t have to wonder anymore. Prof. Aggarwal explains very clearly what happens when we swallow our daily dose of curcumin. I think that this interview provides us all with plenty of food for thought.

He points out that curcumin is circulated quickly and is taken up by tissues very quickly. Within 10 to 20 minutes it is already in the brain. Consequently, it is pointless for researchers to attempt to find traces of curcumin in the bloodstream. Aha.

I was particularly interested in his answer to the last question…I didn’t know that 30% of all cancers are indolent. Wow, that is quite a high percentage! And I loved the way he compared asymptomatic cancer to a tiger: With cancer, in some cases the tiger is sitting there somewhere and needs to be left alone. If you start throwing stones at the tiger, he will strike back. Indeed, I have thought the exact same thing since my 2005 diagnosis, but I had no scientific proof, just a gut feeling…

I will conclude with what Prof. Aggarwal says about prevention. In my opinion, he is absolutely right: If we continue to prevent and treat cancer the way we are currently doing and have been doing for the past 50 years, the next 50 years will not be any different. We have to learn to think outside the box. We have put too much emphasis on survival of the pharmaceutical companies and not enough focus on the survival of the patients.

This last sentence really struck a chord with me.

Precisely.

Thank you, Prof. Aggarwal.

P.S. Here is a “Globe and Mail” interview with Prof. Aggarwal on the healthful effects of spices: http://goo.gl/fhWO9 

4 Comments

  1. So happy to find your blog. I am trying to make my own capsules (financial reasons) but just figured out that by using powdered turmeric root, I’d have to take about 60 caps a day to get enough curcumin? So can you tell me how to get curcumin and what to look for to make my own. And I see that I need to add pepper for absorbtion. Any advice would be greatly appeciated as yet another friend has stage 4 breast cancer with tumours everywhere and I’d really like to help her. Thanks for your time 🙂

  2. Try buying online. Supplement prices in Canada are out of control.

    At least try a Canadian online retailer, or for even greater savings I believe Swanson is the absolute cheapest on average.

  3. Have stage IV breast cancer and appreciate your info about curcumin. Am just starting it and finding your posts about DIY absorption boosting helpful which is going to save me much money ! So here is what this RPH is going to try as soon as her supply arrives. I’ve now ordered plain, no frills curcumin from turmeric-curcumin.com (2 days ago and it is a 3-4 day delivery regular mail so can testify that they deliver.) I its just curcumin and nothing else, 500 mg of actual curcum and nothing else. I’m taking 8 gms per day, 2 grams four times a day. Wanted to make something portable.
    So having looked thru the various methods such as adding heat, dissolving in fat, adding black pepper and your hot chocolate mug of curcumin and suggestion of using cocoa butter…..
    I have mini muffin pans.
    I’m going to throw FOUR capsule of 500mg pure curcumin capsules in each cup.
    I will melt plain cocoa butter (available from Nuts.com) and pour enough into each cup to cover the caps.
    I’ll put the whole muffin tray into a warm not hot oven and let it “meld” together . Half hour?
    Take it out, stir each cup a bit to make sure it is suspended in the c. butter then let it cool to a solid.
    Keep in frig for a quick 2 gram dose made ahead. I don’t know how big the caps will be so I might only be able to put 2 caps in each muffin cup. Anywho, if this works, I’ll start adding sweetener (stevia and inositol etc and some organic cocoa powder to make a nice treat. The cocoa butter is incredibly fragrant with no additions.
    Another thought,
    Did you know that olive becomes a lovely smear-able solid the frig ? Yes it do! I’ve yet to eat curcumin without the aid of a capsule coating so I do not know how it will taste, but I gather it is peppery. Chocolate has historically been used to cover lots of potent tastes so I assume this camouflages well. This is why medical marijuana is put in chocolates and brownies. Chili pepper is often added to hot chocolate in Latin and S. America so that might be a helpful addition. I’m not sure whether olive oil alone will be tolerable but here goes….
    So alternately, four caps in each cup, cover with olive oil mixed with Italian spice blend and some garlic (this garlic, olive oil mess is a common butter substitute) .
    Let is warm and meld in the oven half an hour, stir and cool in refrigerator.
    The spices and curcumin and garlic and/or whatever else you throw in WILL settle to the bottom and it solidifies so if you want it to be evenly distributed you’ll have to take it out of the frig and stir it every 15 minutes.
    I’m thinking, take one solid olive oil mess out of the frig per dose (obviously you can change amount in each muffin cup as you prefer) put in on an English muffin or slice of toast. Let it melt to room temp a bit and it will smear nicely. Toss it in the toaster oven and munch it down. Again, haven’t done this yet and don’t know whether it is palatable or not.
    Make batches once a week or so and you can save time. I will also weigh in on multiple dosing vs once a day dosing. It has been pointed out that the body clears curcumin rapidly, so four times a day is optimal to keep it working in your system. I offer these two recipes in hopes it will help people divide their dosages into two, three and optimally four to five times a day without the aggravation. This incorporates the addition of heat, the fat solution, and make ahead convenience. I also rec the silicone muffin ‘tins’ because the cocoa butter will cling like crazy to the metal tins.
    Best Wishes and thank-you again for all your help, Margaret et al.

  4. Can someone tell me if there is any problem taking curcumin with hi bood pressure and index 9 sugar.
    thanks a lot
    Raf

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