Curcumin Protects the Body during Radiation Treatment
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate is the second most common cancer for men, just behind skin cancer. About 175,000 new cases will be diagnosed in one year alone, and about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed in his lifetime.
The external beam radiation treatment as seen in this study is not invasive, but it is still radiation treatment nonetheless, and it can affect the body’s antioxidant status considerably. That lowering of antioxidant defenses makes a person more prone to other illness. While this clinical trial found that while prostate-specific antigen levels dropped in both the curcumin and placebo groups, only the curcumin group saw a higher total antioxidant capacity. That means that curcumin may be helping to preserve the body’s own defenses, even in the case of the extreme stress of cancer and radiation treatment.
Additionally, curcumin has anticancer activity of its own – cell research has shown that curcumin slows that process, and activates the signals in the body that lead to cancer cell death, called “apoptosis.” Curcumin can also stop the multitude of conditions that can lead to prostate cancer: inflammation, oxidation, DNA damage, and the cell-signaling that creates the susceptibility to tumors and the spread of the disease.
The curcumin used in this study (BCM-95) is blended with turmeric essential oil for enhanced absorption and blood retention, so it gets into the bloodstream better than powdered turmeric or plain curcumin extracts. Turmeric essential oil is also a source of compounds called turmerones, particularly ar-turmerone, which is also an anti-inflammatory component in the botanical.
Hejazi J, Rastmanesh R, Taleban FA, et al. Effect of Curcumin Supplementation During Radiotherapy on Oxidative Status of Patients with Prostate Cancer: A Double Blinded, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrition and Cancer. 2016;0(0):1-9.
Curcumin is an antioxidant agent with both radiosensitizing and radioprotective properties. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of curcumin supplementation on oxidative status of patients with prostate cancer who undergo radiotherapy. Forty patients treated with radiotherapy for prostate cancer were randomized to the curcumin (CG, n = 20) or placebo group (PG, n = 20). They received curcumin (total 3g/day) or placebo during external-beam radiation therapy of up to 74 Gy. Plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were measured at baseline and 3 mo after radiotherapy completion. Analysis of covariance was used to compare the variables between groups following the intervention. Serum PSA levels and MRI/MRS images were investigated. In CG, TAC significantly increased (P < 0.001) and the activity of SOD decreased (P = 0.018) after radiotherapy compared with those at baseline. In CG, however, the activity of SOD had a significant reduction (P = 0.026) and TAC had a significant increase (P = 0.014) compared with those in PG. PSA levels were reduced to below 0.2 ng/ml in both groups, 3 mo after treatment, however, no significant differences were observed between the 2 groups regarding treatment outcomes.