The possible drawbacks of C3 Reduct

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions regarding C3 Reduct, the new type of curcumin patented by Sabinsa Corp (= the company that also makes the C3 Complex curcumin that many of us take). We heard about C3 Reduct in February:

Thanks to my blog reader John, who left a few comments on that February post, I didn’t have to do a whole lot of research. He found the main study for me (and then I went to PubMed and found a few others that basically confirmed that study’s conclusions):

Here are a few excerpts (from the above-mentioned study) that should give us a better picture of what is going on. While you are reading, keep in mind that C3 Reduct = THC, which is an abbreviation of tetrahydrocurcumin = one of curcumin’s main and most stable metabolites: 

THC and turmerones were much less effective” at suppressing tumor activity compared to regular curcumin. Uhmmmm…

Why this occurs is explained in the paragraph titled “THC is less active than curcumin mix to suppress TNF-induced NF-kB activation.” While THC is able to inhibit chronic myeloid leukemic cells (= KBM-5), said inhibition occurred in tests only at a concentration 10 times higher than that required for the curcumin mix.


That doesn’t sound very promising to me! The paragraph ends with this statement: “Thus, these results suggest that THC is not a very potent anti-inflammatory agent and that the conjugated bonds in the central seven-carbon chain are needed for its activity.” Ah, so C3 Reduct is missing a few “conjugated bonds” in its makeup. Bummer, that!

More unfortunate news: as we know, there are also a lot of genes involved in keeping myeloma cells alive and happy, such as COX2 and cyclin D1. Well, THC was found to be “much less effective” in inhibiting these pesky genes compared to regular old curcumin. 

There are other minor things, too, such as THC’s inability to generate ROS, but I would like to keep to the main point, that is, its comparatively reduced effectiveness concerning the inhibition of one of myeloma’s best friends, the NF-kB pathway…

In sum, it doesn’t sound to me as though C3 Reduct would be a great thing for us myeloma folks to take. Disappointing, yes, I know. I’m very disappointed, too! I was so excited at the idea of taking something more bioavailable than the old C3 Complex (and not as messy!) when I first read about C3 Reduct…oh well. I guess we need to be careful about which curcuminoids are inside the type of curcumin we choose. And, from the studies I’ve looked at, I’m afraid that this new product may fall into the category of “not as effective for myeloma.” Too bad! 

Okay, now I am going to, er, muddy the waters a bit. A few abstracts seem to indicate the opposite of what I just wrote (I know, I know…!):

This 2011 study showed that THC was effective against a leukemia cell line (HL-60):

This 2008 study found that THC was effective against highly-metastatic HT1080 human fibrosarcoma cells by inhibiting the MMPs, which are active in myeloma, too: Note: another thing involved in myeloma is extracellular matrix, or ECM…in fact, it seems to have a role in myeloma drug resistance, from the little I just read in PubMed. Yikes.

So, is it possible that C3 Reduct might work for myeloma after all, in spite of the drawbacks listed in the first article? Hard to say. The only way would be to try it, of course…And, since I know that some of you have already begun testing it, please let me know how things go. Thanks! 🙂

Bottom line: for now at least, I’m sticking to C3 Complex (I’m currently on 4 grams of C3 Complex without bioperine, PLUS 3 to 3.5 grams of C3 Complex with bioperine).

What can I say? I want my NF-kB pathway to be inhibited…!!!


  1. Margaret, I have been looking forward to your thoughts on Reduct C3. I too will be very interested to hear from those who are trying it, and hope they will report their findings. I have been told that my cells are expressing Cyclin D1 “like crazy”, so for now, I will stick with my protocol (1/2 C3 & 1/2 Meriva SR) and see where it continues to take me. Thanks for sharing !

  2. Perhaps this is a many roads lead to Rome, i.e., some may work by NbK down reg and others, THC, by a different pathway described in the paper. In other words, taking both might be of benefit.

  3. I haven’t seen any comments about the use of sulfurophane and PEITC with curcumin. Here is one link but there are many others:

    The best source of sulfurophane is 4 day old radish sprouts (Daikon Cherry Belle, Black Spanish, and French Breakfast have the highest amounts). The problem with all surfurophane and broccoli sprout extracts no myrosinase-the enzyme required to hydrolyze the glucoinsolate. Bacteria in the lower gut do have that enzyme, but the absorption is 19% of the ilium.

    The best source of PEITC is watercress, sprouts. Most cruciferous vegies including broccoli and cabbage but not radish and watercress, contain a competing protein-epithiospecifer-that sends the production toward nitriles but not sulfurophane. You have to heat broccoli enough to destroy the ESP but not the myrosinase. That means steam no longer than 3 minutes and I have seen studies that said 1 1/2 minutes.

      1. I had seen that oregonstate article. Not only did they barely mention radish , they left out completely the competing ESP>nitrile pathway. And, the adult shoots have a different profile with compounds that may be even more powerful cancer fighters. As for in vivo, granted the studies were done in vitro, there is such a large body of epidemiological evidence, it’s hard to believe there’s no in vivo effect. Most of the studies I saw were done with seeds and root hairs, with, as I remember, the hydrolysis taking place in the lab. I would like to know how much myrosinase is in the seeds or when it gets expressed. I have soaked watercress for 18-24 hours (don’t forget it’s mucilagenous like flax and is sprouted differently-paper towels work fine) and found the peppery taste symptomatic of ITC production. Personally, I also sprout for the myrosinase so when I take Broccomax, there is myrosinase available. Also, the presence of ascorbic acid speeds the reaction more than 100 fold depending on concentrations. As for when to take, I recently saw a paper about how ascorbic acid reacts with fat in the stomach: something to be minimized or avoided.

  4. Hi there
    I noticed the paper on curcumin and sarcoma referred to above. I was diagnosed in February with a Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumour – a kind of soft tissue sarcoma in my arm and wondered if anyone with this kind of cancer has experience of using curcumin or other effective supplementation. I have an operation coming up at the end of this month. The location of my tumour means that it may not be easy to achieve negative margins and from what I read, this kind of tumour has both a high rate of local recurrence and a tendency to metastatise. Any information on effective supplements would be very helpful. Many thanks.

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