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Turmeric/Curcumin - Yes or No?

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2

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  • Nash54
    Nash54 Member Posts: 699
    edited January 2015
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    Dancermom1999 thanks so much for the posting. So much controversy surrounding turmeric's benefit. I used plant based bio-identical hormone replacement for 10 years prior to my BC DX. I often wonder if this contributed to my cancer.

  • carol57
    carol57 Member Posts: 1,550
    edited January 2015
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    I'm trying to figure this out, too. Here's a link to a researcher (Dr. Salmon Hyder) who I believe has done extensive research related to BC and hormones, and I saw him quoted regarding curcumin (but I'm not sure if his research with curcumin addressed this particular question). His bio page (this link) includes his email address, if anyone has time to email him and ask if he'll provide some insights. http://dalton.missouri.edu/investigators/hyders.ph...

    I'm not the best qualified person to interpret study reports on this topic, but there sure are some amazing women here who are. Maybe Dr. Hyder will have an email conversation with one of you?

  • carol57
    carol57 Member Posts: 1,550
    edited January 2015
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    Oh, and a side thought is that Dr. Lark sells supplements, and I wonder --just wonder, not accuse--if there's naught but a tiny estrogen benefit that she's found, not meaningful enough to add to ER+ BC risk, but enough to market hope for relief from some post-menopausal discomfort? I worry about the objectivity of information provided by supplement marketers.

  • Dancermom1999
    Dancermom1999 Member Posts: 62
    edited January 2015
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    Thanks Carol57. It gets so confusing....just trying to do whatever possible to make sure this never comes back.

  • carol57
    carol57 Member Posts: 1,550
    edited January 2015
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    What a strange tightrope walk this is, trying to figure out risks and benefits of a substance that seems to have such promise, but may come with such a huge asterisk. I had a prophy bmx to plummet my BC risk in the face of LCIS findings in both breasts, and a wide, multi-generational incidence of 'the family disease,' despite being BRCA negative. I've no way to know if my mom, her sibs, their mom, etc. had ER+ cancer, but in addition to BC, cancer has been pervasive in my family. So I've been taking curcumin for quite a while, as a way to do 'something' to ward off the evil C in its other forms. Sure hope that this pre-emptive strike doesn't come around to bite me in the butt, as I do worry about the gyne cancers, too. To use your very apt term: uggggggg!

  • denise-g
    denise-g Member Posts: 353
    edited January 2015
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    Darn - more confusion.  I just put the Turmeric bottle in my office by my phone so I wouldn't forget to take it!

    I'm hoping we can get to the bottom of this. 


     

  • formydaughter
    formydaughter Member Posts: 121
    edited January 2015
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    Miracle Mile - that rocks! Keep up the fight

  • denise-g
    denise-g Member Posts: 353
    edited January 2015
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    I wrote to a friend of mine who lives in India - she is a physician and a Stage 3 breast cancer survivor.

    She believes the benefits of Turmeric far outweigh any risks. 

  • mel147
    mel147 Member Posts: 291
    edited January 2015
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    Thanks for the info, Denise - that's good to know! And...I really enjoy your blog!

    ThumbsUp

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited January 2015
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    I enjoy your blog, too, Denise! Keep it up.

    I emailed my MO today re: turmeric and ER+ . I'll see what she comes up with and share anything useful.

    If you're NOT ER+ I have no doubt that Turmeric could be very helpful. It's just that not all cancer is the same.

  • denise-g
    denise-g Member Posts: 353
    edited January 2015
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    Thanks, ladies, for the kind comments about my blog.  I want to get to the bottom of this Turmeric

    issue!  Hopeful - glad you emailed your MO.  Keep us posted!

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited January 2015
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    I will definitely let you know what she says, Denise. I told her it wasn't urgent so it may be a few days. I have to wonder whether anyone's raised that issue with her before. :)

  • Heidela
    Heidela Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2015
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    Hi there ... please pardon my ramble …stupidly took an extra pain pill this morning ..argh I am so careful and this was a bad night ..I never take these but I was so sore and my boob was red hot and not in the sexy way......too tired not paying attention . please be careful ….I was so sore I went woke up ..and took two tablets ..walked away and then went back and took one thinking I hadn't taken any ..so grateful I only took one the second time ! …good grief typing and drooling (jk not much drool) . pretty loopy and going to assess what happened and set things up more safely when the sun comes up and my head levels ....I can not do that again for sure! Please please be careful that was so easy a mistake to make!

    I really wanted to introduce myself but did not see a place to do it ? Is there one am I blind and stoned? …I am really ok ...just embarrassed I did something so stupid.

    so let me just say I love turmeric use it and have told my patients (semi retired RN with no experience in Oncology other than two weeks of chemo training many years ago and working in the breast screening program for about 5 years at our clinic as a very part time gig) ....about it for about 5-6 years now with mixed reviews..so this is NOT science nor a medical rec... just sharing my personal experience, I was encouraged to offer it as an adjunct treatment for patients with chronic pain and inflammation per policy

    I use fresh and mix it with a fat and pepper ..I did the best trial I could at home with my husband before I started offering it to my patients. I do know with our own case ... it may or may not work ..but I did notice a huge difference for both myself and husband between the expensive supplements and fresh turmeric root and honestly the root worked faster and I noticed I wasn't taking motrin with in a month ..the supplements I never noticed and stopped after my 90 day supply was done....in general I have noticed personally? and my patients have told me I/they work harder at diet and exercise because my mind is in "holistic mode" so the ritual of making my turmeric with the root daily helps me be "present" in my efforts for good health…make sense ? I have several good recipes if anyone is baffled by using the fresh ..although you can find all kinds of recipes online for this "on trend" supposed cure all for a few years now…..while it is reputed as a cure it all it doesnt and we all know that is crap right? ...but for inflammation it is a subtle but effective and I feel is a very safe and healthy remedy ..for me it does work quite well for my arthritis …my husband and I both tried for 90 days straight in two different self trials about 6 months apart..I take this kind of thing seriously so when I am recommending to a patient I can say "I did this too" ..for us the fresh is the best frozen fresh roots are second and powdered/supplement form, nothing. …I emulsify the fresh root with ginger as well for good measure ..like making mayo with a fat and fresh black pepper corns ..then add it to a smoothie or soup for "dosing" or make the "golden milk" recipe that is floating all over ..my husband really likes that one


    ok now my warning ..I always take it in the morning and noticed while I was doing radiation I had horrific reflux…turmeric and ginger and pepper can all stimulate acid production so if you are prone to reflux have to position for radiation ..between the stress and being flat on my back..wow did that trigger a bout of dyspepsia that took about a week to clear up…argh awful painful and terrible ..I stopped for the week it took to get my tummy back to normal ..I now take the turmeric in the afternoon now and was really careful to not take it prior to the treatments (I finished this week)... did it help? I have no idea because I am hoping I never have to compare the effects with and with out..my surgery was brilliant thank you army surgeon no pain except at the node removal site ..the radiation however I was uncomfortable every day but had very little true pain ..just (still) cranky tired and sore. my skin only broke down at the site of the node removal where the wound is the worse and i had a seroma that was miserable but gone now. Maybe it would have been more uncomfortable if I had not taken the turmeric ..but I also walk and do yoga daily and have had my diet back in control (wow did i pig out on crapfood when this started..)


    I can honestly say of all the hyped up trendy "holistic" remedies ..this is safe the dose is probably not much more than the fresh turmeric I would use in cooking (a lot!) and I have researched it extensively and found nothing that was alarming and proven …but follow doctors advice ask why if they tell you no and please share the rationale that would be so helpful ....yes you can take too much of anything so just do not do that is what I feel ...I got nothing from glucosamine have tried all kinds of other things but in the end ..turmeric and ginger both for me go together ..does noticeably relieve arthritis pain for myself and eases the chronic back pain my husband has …so if this helps anyone in making the choice great but again it is not science, but it is good medicine in my opinion. you know if you like SE Asian food so many of the soups include turmeric, pepper and coconut milk (tom yum anyone) so you can eat this and enjoy it as food as I do. My father was a doctor and always said "get your vitamins from food!" well for some that is not always possible but in the case of turmeric ..it joyfully and deliciously is. ..but yes watch out for reflux (if you are prone) and if you notice you have heart burn or stomach pain ..it could be the turmeric it does promote acid and while that is good when you are not eating well, under stress and flat on your back on a radiation table (even when it is quick) time the "dose "accordingly


    hope this makes sense and was helpful? I am not that loopy but I sure feel the overdose :P dumb dumb dumb!


    nice to meet you

  • Nash54
    Nash54 Member Posts: 699
    edited January 2015
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    Heidla....thanks for sharing your experience. My DH struggles with arthritis and I am looking for something to counteract the the SE of Femara (should I start to have them). I was told the most common SE would be joint and muscle pain (same SE as getting older LOL).

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited February 2015
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    Nice to meet you, Heidela. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I've decided that, of course, I will continue using turmeric in cooking but not use supplements until I have more info. I would like to take it for my crumbling joints -we'll see.

    For those who eat meat - there is a REALLY good looking recipe for chicken thighs with turmeric and sumac on the website of The Splendid Table. It was posted maybe 3 weeks ago. It's VERY simple, not many ingredients. I've not tried it yet as I'm out of sumac and forgot to put iron the shopping list, but I definitely plan to.

    Here's a link to the recipe:

    http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/turmeric-chicken-with-sumac-and-lime

  • tc9876
    tc9876 Member Posts: 49
    edited January 2015
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    I take turmeric and I plan to continue doing so. Study at this link says no negative issues come from taking turmeric with tamoxifen. In fact, study states that turmeric enhances the absorbability of tamoxifen. I also read somewhere else, although I can't recall where, that phytoestrogens are weak estrogens that would occupy the receptor and prevent it from accepting a strong estrogen that COULD cause cancer growth. Phytoestrogens are not BAD.

    http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/1/701/pdf

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited January 2015
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    That looks like an interesting study. Thanks for posting it!

  • formydaughter
    formydaughter Member Posts: 121
    edited January 2015
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    I read a posting on the hormone therapy board detailing a woman's personal experience with turmeric decreasing her ability to absorb Tamixifen. Apparently her MO had done a test to see how her body was responding to tsmoxifen and results were great. She then added turmeric supplements and a repeat of the test showed a huge drop (like 50%) in her body's ability to absorb the Tamoxifen. She said adding in turmeric was the only change she had made with meds or diet. After she stopped taking it, test results went back up to where they had been. She reported her MO, who was doing several studies on supplements, was really surprised by her reaction to turmeric. She said she couldn't say anything to the science behind it, but her personal experience was worth reporting

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited February 2015
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    As mentioned above, I PMd my MO to discuss the issue with her. She talked with a few others and her response appears below:

    Here are a couple of relevant links from Sloan Kettering:

    http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/turmeric
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20798532



    1) Most things made from plants have phytoestrogens in them, or put more precisely, contain chemicals that act in varying ways as naturally-occurring estrogen-like substances (but are not themselves estrogens)

    2) It's not really that concerning in the course of normal dietary consumption (beans, broccoli etc) and may even be beneficial (flax, whole grains)

    3) We are not always sure if these chemicals act as estrogen receptor agonists, antagonists or modifiers

    4) Bench-level & mouse testing on the constituents is contradictory and the animals get higher doses of isolated constituent then would ever be possible in the course of normal life

    5) The concern starts with concentrated extracts of any of these substances (soy is probably the best example), because many of these constituents may become more strongly estrogenic with purification (eg soy isoflavones)

    6) Even if we see "estrogenic" effects in a dish in the lab, we cannot presume to know the effect in a whole person. Many naturally occurring substances have an interesting bimodality in action, acting one way at low doses and another at high (seems curcumin does this too, according to the paper Ken sent)

    ... I truly do not fuss about phytoestrogens from unprocessed foods and spices consumed in normal dietary quantities. Turmeric the spice has a 5000+ year historical precedence of safety, I am completely fine if it's used the way it has been in India for that time: culinary amounts, cooked in a bit of oil or ghee before becoming part of a dish. (Black pepper added to increase bioavailability to taste.)

    I DO fuss about highly refined products including soy and concentrated extracts (curcumin). Never been a fan of indiscriminate use of curcumin, I do not agree w/the fashionable "curcumin supplements for everybody for anything." We don't know enough about how curcumin acts in high doses, over the long term. Curcumin also tends to be among the most contaminated of supplements (bugs, pesticides, heavy metals).

    Bottom line: enjoy the curry, don't take the capsule."

    I hope this helps. If you disagree, feel free to follow your own mind.
  • Nash54
    Nash54 Member Posts: 699
    edited February 2015
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    Thanks Hopeful! I'm always hesitant about supplements. The only thing I'm taking right now is magnesium and D3. I'll use the turmeric in cooking and toss the supplements. I originally purchased supplements for DH thinking it would help his arthritis. But after reading the article you posted, I see it should not be used by persons prone to kidney stones...which DH is.

  • denise-g
    denise-g Member Posts: 353
    edited February 2015
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    Helpful - good info.  THANKS!  I will probably go back to putting that Turmeric on my OATMEAL, of all things!  I hate

    the taste of it except it is in Heinz 57 sauce (who knew), but that has a lot of soy in it too!  You just can't win!

    Then there is my Indian doctor friend who hate Turmeric her entire life and ends up with BC. 

    It goes back to "do the best you can", I guess!  THANKS  again!!


     

  • SelenaWolf
    SelenaWolf Member Posts: 231
    edited February 2015
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    Hopeful... That is probably the best summary I have seen on the plant phytoestrogens issue since I joined BCO four years ago. Bravo!

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited February 2015
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    Wow! That's high praise indeed, Selena. I'm so very glad you find it useful. I take no credit whatsoever for it, other than having a smart, helpful MO. I will pass on to her that appreciation of her efforts goes far beyond this one household.

  • Dancermom1999
    Dancermom1999 Member Posts: 62
    edited February 2015
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    Thank you Hopeful82014...going back to adding the spice !


  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 693
    edited February 2015
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    Curcumin can enhance tamoxifen, I've read that too. Does anyone have any info on arimidex and curcumin and highly ER+PR+? Contra-indicated, neutral effects, or avoid completely? I've researched some, to no avail.

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited February 2015
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    Claire, that was the question that started this thread. There's a lot Of material there, but if you'll read through my post of 2/12 you'll see what my MO came up with. I hope it helps. If not, let me know.

    The long and short of it is that cooking with turmeric should be fine, but supplements are best avoided.
  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited February 2015
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    Denise, I can picture the color of your oatmeal with turmeric added - pretty wild!
  • formydaughter
    formydaughter Member Posts: 121
    edited February 2015
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    thank you Hopeful!!

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited February 2015
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    You're most welcome!
  • denise-g
    denise-g Member Posts: 353
    edited February 2015
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    Hopeful,turmeric does dress up the color of the oatmeal.  Oatmeal is like medicine anyway. NOT my favorite!  Now I have to add oil and black pepper and fry it!  HAHAHAHA    I miss cinnamon and brown sugar!