Today, every social site either Pinterest or Instagram, you can find tons of posts regarding health benefits that we get from a healthy life and healthy eating. These can be about any physical routine or nutriments. One of such nutriment is curcumin.
Let’s understand the detailed role of curcumin in cancer;
What is curcumin?
This is a polyphenol, which is only found in a well-known spice, turmeric. It was first isolated from this spice in the year 1815 by two scientists in Harvard college laboratory. Since then, researchers interest in this polyphenol has been increased due to its potential health beneficial properties.
Curcumin benefits for the body
The properties it possesses are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-rheumatic, hepatoprotective, antimutagenic and chemoprotective. Due to these, curcumin shows significant therapeutic benefits in managing certain chronic problems like liver disease, obesity, inflammation, neurodegenerative disease, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and all of the above, in various cancers.
At the present day, cancer is considered as one of the major reason for the significant death rate around the world. However, with early diagnostic advancements and improved therapeutic alternatives help to lessen this death rate. But, drug-resistant cancer is becoming a major problem for scientists to tackle. This necessitates more innovative and effective treatments.
Cancer cells are marked by deregulated signalling pathways, which involve proliferation, apoptosis and angiogenesis. A treatment modality that can act upon all these steps might be a good option. In this setting, curcumin portrays as a promising applicant due to its ability to act against different molecular targets and signalling pathways engaged in the development of many cancers.
Let’s understand the mechanism of action of curcumin as anti-cancer agent:
# Free-radical scavenger
Embedded with potent antioxidant property, curcumin significantly acts against reactive oxygen species by scavenging free radicals. By doing this, curcumin safeguards biomembranes from peroxidative damage.
# Inhibitor of angiogenesis
Angiogenesis is an essential process for the growth and metastasis of the tumour. It helps to supply blood to tumour cells and represents a route for its proliferation in other parts of the body. Curcumin directly impedes angiogenesis by inhibiting growth factors, signalling molecules, endothelial cell migration and invasion.
# Anti-inflammatory action
Chronic inflammation performs a significant role in developing and progressing tumour. Not only this, but inflammation also involves in tumour metastasis and resistance against chemotherapy. Curcumin being a potent anti-inflammatory agent, hinder this inflammatory cascade by inhibiting various specific enzymes and factors important for tumour growth.
# Improves chemosensitization
One of the major drawbacks in the cancer treatment is chemoresistance i.e. resistance of tumour cells towards chemotherapeutic drugs. Curcumin substantially solves this issue by improving the cellular accumulation of chemotherapy medications or by hindering genes function that involved in multidrug resistance.
# Induces apoptosis
Tumour cells can survive by blocking the apoptosis, a programmed cell death. This results in significant progression of tumour cells. Several studies assessed that curcumin helps to induce apoptosis in various human cell lines during in vitro studies.
All these mechanisms of curcumin show potential role against various cancer cells.
That is why dietary curcumin can be very beneficial to reduce the risk of cancer. Make turmeric an important part of your diet, include this spice in your diet and also have it in the form of decoction.
With the advancement in research, curcumin also researched to be used in combination treatments. In combination with chemotherapeutic drugs like cisplatin, doxorubicin, paclitaxel and irinotecan, curcumin improves drug efficacy and reduces toxic effects.
However, low stability and water insolubility of curcumin affect its absorbance and bioavailability. Although, with the emergence of nanoencapsulation solve this problem attached with curcumin. Nanocurcumin is embedded with improved tumour targeting, efficacy, compliance, convenience and reduced systemic toxicity.
Therefore, co-delivery of chemotherapy and nano-curcumin exhibits improved synergistic effect and enhanced intracellular drug concentration.
The benefits of curcumin in cancer are immense and this agent is very effective in managing various types of cancer.
Moreover, in recent years, promising complementary therapies including micronutrients such as vitamins has been considerably assessed for their potential chemopreventive properties. These assessments exhibit significant improvements in cancer management. Click here to know more.