“Curcumin for monoclonal gammopathies. What can we hope for, what should we fear.” My comments on the Vermorken study, 2012. Part II.

I thought the business of dividing this post into different “chapters” might end up being confusing. So before I launch into today’s bunch of chapters, I just wanted to point out that I did this in order to make reading them a bit easier on the eyes, that’s all. 

CHAPTER THREE. Now we’ve reached paragraph 2.3, titled “Curcumin does not influence the paraprotein level in all patients.” The authors suggest that curcumin might not act directly on the abnormal plasma cells. It could act indirectly on secondary mechanisms that play an increasingly important role in later stages of MGUS. One of these secondary mechanisms is IL-6, a close friend of myeloma, as we know. 

Another interesting statement: Increased C-reactive protein- (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate- (ESR) values (indicators of systemic inflammation) that can be increased in myeloma as well as MGUS are independent prognostic factors for survival in myeloma [24,25]. 

Vermorken and his team then suggest that curcumin might be beneficial to MGUS and SMM folks who have increased CRP and/or ESR, adding that long-term use of curcumin reduces CRP.

This suggestion is repeated in the following paragraph (no. 3), by the way: Not all patients with monoclonal gammopathies have increased levels of CRP or ESR but these levels are indicators for prognosis. If indeed like in SLE the activity of the BAFF pathway would be correlated to CRP or ESR [30] in some or all patients with monoclonal gammopathies, curcumin could be helpful and CRP and ESR would be very useful indicators for success of intervention.

I have something to say on this particular issue. I have seen a decrease in both of these markers over the years. My CRP has always been in the normal range, but compared to the pre-curcumin period, it has decreased more than 10% (and, in some tests, even more than that).

The results for my ESR have been even stronger. It used to be in the upper 80s (mm/hour). Yikes. How did my blood even circulate??? It must have looked like sludge, bleahyuuuuckgross. Anyway, in my most recent test results it had gone down to 34 mm/hour, close to the high end of the normal range = 25 mm/hour. That’s more than a 50% decrease…Uhm, did I just hear someone utter the word “significant”? 😉

CHAPTER FOUR. Then we get to this (I highlighted two of the sentences): Since curcumin is helpful in chronic inflammatory states like autoimmune disease [42] the above suggests that curcumin could have a preventive effect on the development of MGUS in chronic inflammatory conditions. However, this is not easy to prove and would need long term monitoring of large groups of patients. Trials about prevention of the emergence of MGUS with curcumin in a context of chronic immune stimulation and low grade inflammation could be useful and should undoubtedly include measuring ESR as well as CRP with high sensitivity. It is important to note that curcumin concentrations in the inflamed target organs are perhaps not of determining importance. Crucial for a favorable outcome is probably the influence of curcumin on circulating immune cells. These could be confronted to higher curcumin concentrations in the gut and migrate to target organs. Relatively low doses of curcumin would therefore probably be effective.

Circulating immune cells, eh? Low doses would probably be effective? Hmmm. Very interesting…

In paragraph no. 4, the authors suggest that patients with high levels of circulating IL-6 would probably benefit (more than others) from curcumin intake. Then they add: We have so far seen that there are reasons for being hopeful about the potential of curcumin to be beneficial for prevention of monoclonal gammopathies in patients with inflammatory conditions. The influence on inflammatory symptoms could form early indicators of success. Yes indeed.  I am hopeful, too!

Immediately afterwards, they add: For high risk MGUS and SMM high doses are needed to provoke an effect on the paraprotein load and this, even more, obliges to anticipate the possibility of side effects. It is therefore mandatory to discuss reasons for potential concern. Ah, I have to comment on that. As you know, I’ve been on a high dose of curcumin for MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS now, and my side effects have been ONLY beneficial. Now, I won’t waste time writing out all the amazing and unexpected benefits I’ve had from curcumin, since I’ve written about many of them ad nauseam. 

However, one side effect that I haven’t mentioned very much is an aesthetic one: my rosacea, which used to be so bad that make-up hardly made a difference, and I just wanted to hide and never go out in public. Yeah, it was that bad. Well, to my amazement, my rosacea (inherited from my Dad, who has it, too) has completely cleared up. I do get the typical rosacea flushing now and again, but (YAY!!!) there are no more bumps, and my skin is soft and looks normal. Lookin’ good! 🙂

Well, I haven’t finished with the study, but I think I’ll stop here for today. It’s getting late…So…Ciao for now! 🙂

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