Curcumin and radiation, pesticides, dioxin etc.

April 2nd 2007 post. On Thursday I am scheduled to have a skeletal survey (my last one was in January 2006, no bone lesions). I remember my first one, done in 2003, when I still had MGUS. The X-ray technician looked over my GP’s request, and asked, “Is this really necessary? You are still young, I mean, don’t you want to have children?”

Still young? Children? At the time, I was puzzled, but I told him to go ahead with the X-rays. I have since been reminded that X-rays are very bad for you (radiation! Of course! What was I thinking?!). When exposed to X-rays, fruit flies mutate. Ok, so I am not a fruit fly (mental note: don’t get reborn as a fruit fly or a lab mouse). Still, I am not happy about having a full skeletal exam. Except guess what? It turns out that curcumin can protect our bodies from the harmful effects of radiation. It can even repair DNA damaged by radiation. So I will go have my skeletal exam on Thursday knowing that my body is protected now. One less thing to worry about.

Estrogen mimickers and curcumin. There seems to be no end to the amazing properties of curcumin. Some time ago, I read that it can block toxic chemicals from getting inside cells. It also interferes with estrogen mimickers, including DDT and dioxin, which, as we know, are VERY toxic. I read somewhere that a few ounces of dioxin could wipe out the entire population of New York City. That freaky fact really stuck in my mind. Dioxin has been linked to hormone-related cancers, and also suppresses the immune system. It is perhaps the most toxic chemical in existence. The EPA set guidelines for dioxin: the allowable daily amount is.006 trillionths of a gram per kilogram of body weight. That would be more or less like slicing a grain of sand a billion times, which is something I do on a daily basis, of course. The World Health Organization set the limit even higher, at 10 trillionths of a gram. Trillionths of grams? Mind-boggling. These chemicals are in our water and food supplies. They are in ice cream, cheese, meat and fish. They are simply everywhere. And I haven’t even seen Al Gore’s documentary, yet. Scared? We should be. But never fear, Supercurcumin comes to the rescue!

Supercurcumin. How does curcumin protect us from all of these hazards? Some of the studies I looked at were beyond my limited understanding of scientific terminology. However, I did gather that curcumin blocks a cellular doorway, called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), thus guarding the cell from the estrogen-mimicking invaders. Apparently it can’t block the cell doorway completely, but it can counteract some of the cancer-causing effects of these toxins. Without curcumin, dioxin could bind to the AhR and damage the cell’s DNA. There is only one other phytochemical, known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that can block dioxin as effectively. It is contained in cruciferous vegetables. As for DDT, in a breast cancer cell study (, curcumin reversed the growth caused by this estrogen mimicker by 75 %. Curcumin can also inhibit the effect of paraquat (weed killer), nitrosamines (contained in preserved meats and cheese, and in tobacco), benzopyrene (found in charcoal-broiled meat) and carbon tetrachloride (varnish solvent).

Links: This 1998 study, published in “Environmental Health Perspectives,” is titled “The inhibition of the estrogenic effects of pesticides and environmental chemicals by curcumin and isoflavonoids.” This 2000 study, published in “Carcinogenesis,” is titled: “Potent preventive action of curcumin on radiation-induced initiation of mammary tumorigenesis in rats.” This will take you to a 2002 Science Daily article titled: “Common Spice May Protect Skin During Radiation Therapy For Cancer.” This is a 2002 “Life Sciences” study titled: “Pulmonary protective effects of curcumin against paraquat toxicity.” This is a 2005 MD Anderson press release on curcumin’s ability to stop metastasis from spreading to the lungs of mice with breast cancer.

March 19 2008 post. Yesterday the Kalamazoo (Michigan) Gazette (see: published a report by a woman who underwent radiation treatments for uterine cancer in January of 2006. She wrote that after three days, “the skin on my lower abdomen began to turn red.” Fearing that she would have to stop the treatment because of the radiation burns left on her sensitive skin, she began searching Internet for ways to prevent them. She found her answer: turmeric!

After reading a series of studies, including a 2005 University of Rochester study, which reported the successful use of curcumin during radiation treatments for breast cancer patients, she began taking curcumin (she uses the word “turmeric,” but it must be curcumin): 

Using the rationale that radiation is radiation, I immediately began taking 1,500 milligrams of turmeric per day: a therapeutic dosage supported by numerous studies. Initially, my doctor was as skeptical as he was intrigued. But by day six of my radiation treatment, there was no denying that my previously scorched skin was completely healed. And by day 25, the radiated skin looked just like it did on day one: not a single blister or burn. It was East meeting West in a perfect blend of modern science and ancient herbal remedy.

An important fact mentioned in the article is that curcumin protects normal cells from the noxious effects of radiation while enhancing the anticancer effect of radiation. When you think about it, it’s really mind-boggling!
Well, I confess: this was not news to me. I have already posted about curcumin’s protective effect against the toxicity of radiation treatments (April 2 2007 post, also see my permanent page on Curcumin and radiation), so this article simply confirms my findings. It’s great, though, to read a personal story, a testimonial, no? At any rate, check out this article, it’s worth reading.


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