My comments on the long term use of curcumin in two smoldering multiple myeloma patients. Part II.

Phew. Finally. Part II.

Sorry for the delay, but some unpredictable stuff has happened recently. Just to give you ONE example, a few days ago my mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s, got lost (long story), and Stefano and I had to leave work immediately to search for her. Luckily, after more than two hours driving all around the neighborhood and checking stores and churches, we found her wandering down a street near her house…relief…boy, what a scare, though…

Okay, now back to the smoldering myeloma case report for a few considerations…

In Table 1, did you notice that the percentage of plasma cells in the bone marrow of both these patients decreased more than 50% over the course of two years? Wow. Now, even though bone marrow biopsies are hardly the most reliable tests around, those numbers seem significant to me, and they (sort of) reflect my own experience with curcumin. In late 2005 I had 50% cancer cells in my bone marrow. But then, in January 2007, after a year on curcumin, that number had gone down to less than 40%. My hematologist considered that a significant decrease. So I guess I do, too. Anyway, that was just one observation based on my own experience.

And now let’s discuss the issue of immunosuppression, which is VITAL to us myeloma folks. Here is what the authors say at the end of the study:

Neither of these patients had any clinical events attributable to immunosuppression (infections, progression to myeloma or development of a second malignancy). Furthermore, neither patient displayed any side-effects from long term, high dose curcumin therapy and neither has developed skeletal events that require bisphosphanate therapy. Our results are encouraging, but the exact role and place of curcumin for patients with monoclonal gammopathies and SMM will need to be determined by large scale, multi-centre studies.

Earlier in the study, they also say “A detailed analysis of immune function in 18 patients who had previously been studied and treated with curcumin for 9 months (see Table 2) did not show significant changes in the number of T-cell (CD3, CD4 and CD8) subsets.”

Again, that mirrors my own experience. Except that, unfortunately, I don’t have measurements for my T-cells, since I am my own, totally unofficial case report… 😉

But I would still like to mention a few specific and positive experiences that I’ve had in all these years on curcumin. Now, I’ve written about (and undoubtedly also repeated!) all this in various place on the blog, so I’d like to apologize for being repetitive, but hey, sometimes it’s necessary and indeed helpful to go over stuff again…

Experience no. 1: throughout 2005 I had chronic and painful yeast infections (which might have begun earlier than that…I forget now and don’t have time to check my medical records…but I’m certain that the symptoms worsened in the course of 2005). I couldn’t get rid of the dastardly things. My gynecologist kept giving me antibiotics, then, when those didn’t work, different, stronger antibiotics, in all shapes and forms. Nothing worked. Nothing. Pain, discomfort, blablabla.

However, shortly after I began taking curcumin, the infections simply vanished. Poof. Gone forever. This has been ONE of the amazingly positive side effects of curcumin…one that changed my life…

Experience no. 2: I stopped having the flu vaccine three years ago, which makes this year, 2013, my THIRD no-vaccine year. The first no-vaccine year, I got the flu (no worse than when I had the vaccine, though)…but, after all, I’d gotten the flu during my vaccine years, too, so that was hardly surprising.

But here’s the thing: since that first no-vaccine year, I haven’t been really sick at all. I didn’t get the flu last year, and so far (knock on wood!) I haven’t had the awful high-fever/vomit flu that has been going around here in Florence. This means that I’ve been just fine, healthy, for about A YEAR AND A HALF, NOW (except for a couple of minor 24-hour viral episodes that I’ve written about here on the blog and that resolved after a lot of sleep, basically)…Yet I used to be THE Queen of Antibiotics. No kidding. I mean, I still have a just-in-case store of antibiotics in my medicine cabinet. But I haven’t taken any in a year and a half. Extraordinary. I can’t believe it, myself.

A quick aside: Stefano, who had never had a flu shot in his life (and had never really been sick), began having it at the same time I did. And he began having terrible cases of the flu. Since he and I stopped having the flu shot, though, he’s been fine. As healthy as a horse, as the saying goes. I’m not saying, of course, that everyone should stop having the flu shot, because I’m not a doctor, blablabla. But it does make one wonder, doesn’t it?

Related note: I don’t live in a bubble, isolated from the entire world. I’ve been exposed over and over again to the flu and all sorts of ailments. My students come to work sick, with fevers and coughs and so on. I also go shopping in crowded supermarkets, get on coughy germy flights, etc. etc. etc. But here I am, with my teeny tiny, almost inexistent immune system…and not even a sniffle. If I didn’t have myeloma cells inside of me, I’d be the purrrrrfect picture of health… 😉

Oh, I almost forgot. And then there’s this: my hematologist is always astonished that I’m so healthy. She maintains that, with such a low immune system, I should be sick all the time and also have chronic infections. Well, I plan to keep astonishing her. 😉

So much for the immunosuppression of curcumin! In my case, the exact opposite is true. So: PHOOEY! 😉

Now that I’ve written so much on the wonders of curcumin, I’m curious to know if any of you would like to share your own personal stories, good or bad. I’d be glad to publish them as part of a post, or you can just write them in a comment form…

Well, this concludes my remarks on the SMM case report. I’m working on a related post…something that really annoyed me…So please stay tuned! 


  1. I have never had a flu shot, and rarely get the flu. In the few cases that I do get the flu, it is typically over within 2-3 days. I don’t think that the flu shot is any help whatsoever. I am not a doctor however… this is just a personal experience. I have friends who do get flu shots, and it does not seem to protect them from the flu at all, but may even worsen the flu symptoms. I wonder if the flu shot is good for the immune system…some don’t seem to be able to shake off their illnesses all winter long.

  2. Dear,

    Like you, my Doctor’s and myself are surprised as to how healthy I remain even as those myeloma buggers multiple in my body. I’ve gone thru all the chemo, SCT including the kidney transplant and since the latter (4 1/2 yrs ago) I’ve been taking 8g of curcumin religiously with hot milk, parsley and raw garlic every night. I’ve not had the flu shot in 3 years and only taken one course of antibiotics but that was for a serious case of food poisioning. All in all I feel great and very blessed even when I have to undergo a course of Velcade/Dex to kick back those myeloma buggers and get my kappa FLC below the 50 mark.

  3. Hello,

    Tina from Delaware here –have not written in a while. My MGUS holds and the numbers actually sometimes go a bit backwards – thanks to finding you and curcumin several years ago. I do get the flu shot (work with kids – and have immune-compromised mother and daughter) but have had a sizeable decrease in the usual “bugs” that brought me to have my own secret stash fo antiboitics on hand….so much so that my Cipro became outdated! Wanted to add that for me one of the unexpected benefits of curcumin has been inflammation control – now, even in summer, I have ankles!! Thank you, Margaret, for all you do for all of us. I am eager to learn more about the “white curcumin” you wrote about that will be released in California soon.

  4. Six months ago I began experiencing gastric “malaise” and had a gastroscopia where they found a small hernia in the esophogus. I began taking omeoprazol but still have some symptoms. Could it be the curcumin with pepper?? My doctor seems to think so. I have been taking only 2grams daily for over two years. I will be off the curcumin and pepper for a while to see what happens. I am convinced that it has been good for me in many other ways but as curcumin has a natural anti-inflammatory effect, it could be working against my digestion, as so many conventional anti-inflammatory drugs do. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who may have had the same experience. Cheers from Madrid

  5. Everyone was sick last month in my area, except me. I had no flu-injection. I took extra elderberry (fine protection against the flu). I think the curcumma strengthened my resistance. I take curcumin three years now and I bear it verry well. Like Tom I take parsley every morning, during the day some inositol and ip6 and in the evening the curcumin (with D3 and Omega3)


  6. Great news, everyone…and many many thanks for all the comments (ooooh, I just looooooove comments! 🙂 ).

    Leslie: I would be curious to know why your doctor suspects your hernia might have been caused by the piperine (very sorry to hear about that, by the way!).

    As for me, I haven’t had any issues with piperine in all these years. In spite of that, however, I have begun decreasing my intake of piperine. (You never know.) And so, last spring, I bought some C3 Complex curcumin caps WITHOUT piperine…And now what I do is take curcumin both with and without piperine, a bit of each. We’ll see what happens. Anyway, I thought that perhaps you could take curcumin without piperine…? Just a thought.

    Tina, thanks for this: “even in summer, I have ankles!” Loved it! 🙂

  7. Hallo Margaret:
    I am now 82 years old and going strong after being diagnosed with MGUS in 2006. I fortunately stumbled on your wonderful, extraordinary blog and started on Curcumin. I battled Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Stents, MAC infection in my lungs, followed by C.Difficile, but I am going strong now, take my curcumin daily, plus about a ton of other supplements and my oncologist cannot find any rapid progression of my MGUS. It does pay off. Keep your wonderful blog going, we love it. Beatrice

  8. Margaret
    Diagnosed 2008 smm igg count 3485 mspike 2.34
    Discovered Margaret’s site and stared curcumin within four weeks after
    Being diagnosed . Four and half years later last igg count was 2670
    Mspike 1.67 beta 2 immuglobuim low normal is good

  9. Margaret I am SO GLAD you are no longer taking the flu shot.
    I determined many years ago NEVER to take it.
    Years ago I also worked with children (way before MGUS) and would always get 1 or 2 colds a year, occasionally also the flu, until 18 yrs ago I researched Dr Linus Pauling and studied his many research notes. The very moment I feel I am catching a cold I immediately take 4000g Vit C, thenext day 3000g nest 2000g. I never get the cold, sometimes about 5 day slater I feel it is trying to ‘get me’ o I take 3000g, then 200o then 1000g just to keep on top of it, and I never get the cold.
    I have not had the flu in 18 yrs, and ony one cold when I had no Vit C availbe until the next morning when it was too latek,l I woke up with the cold, knowing the early evening the night before I was getting it, as I said no Vit C in the house.
    Google Linus Pauling utube.

  10. Margaret, I went to the doctor to see if I could increase my dose of Diflucan from once a week (for I don’t even remember how MANY years I’ve been on it) for chronic yeast infections. She ran a blood test to check my liver function to see if I could increase my dose, that’s when the elevated protein popped up. Referral to a hem/onc doctor, more blood tests. Then the protein disappeared? So beyond the crazy M spike issue, I was reading what you said about curcumin and thought…let’s try it for the yeast problem. THANK YOU so much! I’m off Diflucan since January. Another pleasant surprise, much improved IBS. So no matter what the next trip to the Hem/Onc doctor have improved my quality of life tremendously. Keep up the great work!!! (Margaret’s note: I changed the commenter’s name at her request. Just so it doesn’t look like I’m writing my OWN comments! As if I had the time to do so! 😉 )

  11. Hi Margaret – a bit more anecdotal evidence re nasty plasma cells. I was measured at 70% when my SMM was first diagnosed in January 2011. Now, two years later, after 10 grams curcumin daily I’m down to 27%. Maybe I had a hot spot before, but everyone seems to hit a cool spot after taking curcumin. Coincidence? Maybe not.

  12. Dear Margaret
    Libby Rothwell, one of your blog followers and a patient in our clinical trial, told me about your blog. Thank you for keeping MGUS and SMM patients informed about the curcumin work that we have done. Some of our patients had very encouraging responses!! I am presenting the work at the 14th International Myeloma Workshop in Japan next week. Hopefully there will be some interest from researchers in the field. Kind regards, Terry Golombick

  13. At 50+ I have never had a Flu shoot, (too many unknowns), but I have always come down with a cold or two every yr. This year however, since I have been taking the curcumin I have not even had a sniffle! The mild IBS I have had for the past 25yrs has disappeared. Best of all, my blood work remains stable. Thank you for your very informative blog.

  14. Dear Margaret,

    I am becoming on of your followers and I have been reading up on your blog. My mum is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis recently and I’m been reading up on curcumin as her supplements to ease her pain and inflammation. I also read somewhere that it causes iron depletion and anemia.

    Did you experience any iron depletion or anemia so far? Please share with me.

    Thanks and Rdgs

  15. Hi Margaret,
    I came across your blog while doing some research on curcumin with piperine. I have read about the anti inflammatory effects of curcumin. I would like to know whether anyone who had anemia had any negative side effects from taking curcumin?

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