Doctor's Note

The low cancer rates in India may also be related to phytate consumption – Phytates for the Prevention of Cancer and plant-centered diets Back to Our Roots: Curry and Cancer.

More on turmeric and cancer in Carcinogen Blocking Effects of Turmeric and Turmeric Curcumin Reprogramming Cancer Cell Death.

Given the poor systemic absorption of turmeric compounds, what cancers other than that of the digestive tract may be directly affected? See my next video Topical Application of Turmeric Curcumin for Cancer.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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  • Adrien

    I eat curcuma and black pepper almost everyday with beans and greens :p

    • Maureen Okun

      This sounds very yummy! I’ve just finished breakfast (Pacific time zone), but I’m getting hungry again reading your recipe. Thanks, Adrien—I will try this for sure.

      • Doug

        my tumeric recipe:
        I scrape 1 T of greek yogurt on to a spoon, dump 1/2t of tumeric powder on top and sprinkle black pepper on top of the tumeric. I eat it and try not to inhale the spices. Yum!

    • Shelley

      Hi Adrian. Thanks for this recipe. I am intrigued!
      I have 2 questions. (1) Do you notice any unpleasant bitterness from the tumeric? I seem to be having a problem with this since I stopped cooking with oil. (2) What type of mustard are you using? Ground mustard? Again, thanks!

      • Adrien

        Absolutely not ! I don’t feel the turmeric at all !! Just a Yummy mix of everything. Maybe because of the tahini (but even without it’s fine, du to the tomato, I’m guessing). I’m using Dijon mustard. Relatively strong, so adjust the quantity if you’re using a weaker one.

    • sugarsnappea

      Adrien, if you were to add one can of beans, how much tomato puree would you add? And do usually add fresh or caned tomato puree? Do you use mustard powder (the spice) or the condiment mustard? Thanks, it sounds delicious!

      • Adrien

        I’m using almost the same quantity of beans as tomato puree, so my typical can of beans is 250g drained weight and I use around 300g of tomato puree. Since I use some of the liquid from the beans (unless there is salt added) I guess it’s almost the same. I’m not using mustard powder but Dijon mustard. I bought organic tomato puree in a glass jar from my local organic store here in Paris. Sometime it’s not available, so I pick the peeled one with their juice and blend them.

    • LynnCS

      I do have to try this. Yumii, is right. The only thing I’ve not been able to eat and now don’t like, is black pepper. Still, I think the recipe is a jumping off place for some good foods. Have you seen Jeff Novick’s SNAP meals? Your use of the tomato base reminded me of his Simple, Nutritious, and Affordable Plan. Love the beans in this but I’d like to add the other vegis too. I get the therapeutic point of the combo. Thanks for posting it.

      • LynnCS

        Ooops! forgot to paste it. Here you go!

        • Adrien

          Awesome link. I love Jeff Novick ! But never came across this paper though. I love the simpleness in this and the fact that is cheap! I might try this one day. Add everything you want in the recipe, it’s the whole purpose of sharing.

          • Toxins

            I agree, Jeff Novick is awesome. He is one of the few people that understands nutrition so well, and quickly disseminates fact from fiction.

    • Coacervate

      Great thank you! I tried this for breakfast and when I checked my blood sugar it hardly moved. And I feel better than my usual bowl of porridge. I know why you use the tahini, but I’m still trying to keep in Essy’s good graces so I left it out. and I replaced the mustard with garam masala….we have liftoff!

      Shelley, if you like a little zip I find that lemon juice seems to decrease that bitter note from turmeric. Just a thought

      • Adrien

        Of course the Tahini is not mandatory and should not be used all the time ! Bioavailability is a little better with it but it’s not absolutely necessary. Cooking and Black Pepper will still be enough, but I wanted to give a whole food alternative to oil. You can also use Turmeric roots, not powder, which have oil inside.

        • JoAnn

          So can I eat plant based in Europe? I imagine lots of olive oil.

          • Adrien

            You guess well… And it’s promoted as healthy everywhere… People are either shocked or in denial when I talk about the negatives effects of olive oil, here in France.

    • Val

      Adrien, THANK you for that recipe! Will try it today! Am always looking for more ways to include turmeric…my father and brother died from colon cancer. I have small red beans soaking right now to cook up later today!

    • Here’s a recipe for a turmeric concoction–with black pepper and cumin– that you can throw into any dish.

  • Nevo


    Please read over the below link and sources when you get a chance regarding the risk of too much B12. It would be most appreciated, and, I think, most important for us vegans.

    I know that B12 is water soluble, and that the body flushes excess out, but what are the long-term side effects on the kidneys and liver and other organs that need to continually process out this excess? Has there been any time in human existence where our kidney’s have had to process 5,000-10,000 percent of B12 on a daily or weekly basis, even if the majority is not retained? This link i’ve included suggests possible harm. How about the immune system….what effect does an amount of B12 in supplements have on the human immune system as far as getting “shocked” with a dose of B12 that has absolutely no long-term track record.


    • Adrien

      When you take a “mega-dose” (thousand of mcg) B12 supplement orally you nevertheless absorb only 1% of that amount. There is no danger in doing so. Megadose of B12 is used (under the name of CyanoKit) intravenously to save people from cyanide toxicity by first aid fireman and rescuer after people being exposed to toxic smoke from fire. Because Hydroxocobalamin have a very potent affinity with cyanide. You can look at the side effect of such medication on the web. But even then, it’s incredibly safe. The only real problem I’m aware of is if you use cyanocobalamin injection on people with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). LHON is associated with an inhability to properly clear cyanide from the body. Otherwise, you’ll be safe using B12 supplement, Hydroxo or methyl form seems best if using in shot.

      • george


        Thank you for the info.on B12. I turned vegan recently and started taking 500 mcg of B12 a day in sublingual form. I’m wondering if the assimilation of 1% you have mentioned applies to all forms or just to pills swallowed. (The link you’ve provided doesn’t seem active any more.) Thank you.

        • Adrien

          Sorry I’ll correct the link as soon as I figured out why it doesn’t work.

          500mcg once a day of B12 appears to be just perfect, even if 250mcg is enough, 500mcg will lower homocysteine and methylmalonic acid a litle bit further (wich is good).

          The serie of videos about B12 supplement start here:

          and here the link about the 1% absorption of B12:

          • george

            Thank you for answering my question about sublingual B12 and for the related links. i have another question for you: What about taurine? I can find only one video in which Dr. Greger mentions taurine. What I gather from it is that vegans don’t need to take supplemental taurine unless there’s some genetic condition that prevents the body from synthesizing enough of it. But I’ve seen some published research that says that humans can not make sufficient taurine, especially when they get older, making dietary or supplemental taurine necessary. could you please elaborate on taurine if you’ve studied it.
            Thank you in advance.

      • Arjan den Hollander.

        Cool info and piece, +1.

        There is the folic acid to watch out for george.
        That get combined with B12 a lot.

        I break my 5000 mcg Methyl-B12 tablets in tiny little pieces for all the B12 that can get used but as little folic acid as possible.

        Folate enough anyway with the kg+ of vegetables so its way cheaper this way.

  • albert

    I’m still wondering if back pepper is absolute requirement for turmeric to be effective since I get eczema from just one little pinch of pepper.
    Interestingly not all manufactured curry powders contain black pepper (could other spices have a similar effect?).
    Also I remember some research table with ORAC values and if I’m not mistaken turmeric/curcumin was lipophilic – is naturally occurring fat in turmeric enough? (Although perhaps ORAC value is not of primary importance in this context).

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      There was a piece on the mechanism of it. As far as I can remember it made it super soluable.

      There is something in nicotine patches and testerone patches that works like that too I read somewhere.

    • Darryl

      Piperine is believed to increase bioavailabilty of numerous compounds via CYP3A4 inhibition. There are other CYP3A4 inhibitors, most notably grapefruit..

      Turmeric indeed has some oils (dry turmeric is 3.3% oil), and one of the enhanced bioavailability formulations is 95% curcuminoids in turmeric oil.

      • Adrien

        Hey Darryl, I just figured out yesterday how to use hypertext in disqus, but all the link are sending to an error 404. You seem not having this problem. Can you help me with that ?

        For exemple: Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON)

        a href=”” title=”LHON”>Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) /a

        is leading to nutritionfacts error 404.

        • Darryl

          Try entering this format:
          [a href=”’s_hereditary_optic_neuropathy”]Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON)[/a], replacing the square brackets [ ] with angle brackets .

          Disqus only permits a limited html subset.

          • Adrien

            Thanks ! I think I found why it didn’t work.

            ” instead of ” …

      • Ben

        We should use pepper when we heat treat turmeric, but what about when we consume turmeric raw? Should we still use pepper? Dr. Gregor says we should consume some turmeric raw for the anti-inflammatory benefits but pepper in a raw smoothie is not so good. But I love pepper in my cooked dishes.

  • jerrylamos

    A great many – high percentage – of India people have a plant food based diet. Colon cancer is directly related to red and processed meat which in large part the India people don’t eat. Read “The China Study” by Cornell nutritional biochemist prof. T. Colin Campbell. Plant based diet is a biggie, not reductionist.

    An example is Scotland where the Scots love their highland beef and have a very high rate of colon cancer, while India people living in the same region with their traditional plant food diet have a very low rate.

    Now it is useful to help people who decided to risk colon cancer with their diet so perhaps curcumin, a reductionist, may be of some benefit. The researchers could have done a great benefit by attacking the contibuting caises of colon cancer…

    BTW, the India people with their plant food diet have very low rates of breast and prostate cancer as well..

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Helping one in 3 cancer patients is a block-buster – if it was a drug…..
    Michael, will you take this as far as to recommend curcumin as a supplement?

    • Val

      I agree Plantstrongdoc…my dad died of colon cancer in 1988 and my brother died of it in 2010…I’ve been eating as much turmeric as I can for some years now…and can recently find it fresh at Whole Foods right near my home…both dad and brother were smokers though I’ve never in my life smoked cigarettes…my dad quit in 1975 when he was diagnosed with emphysema…my brother had had most of his neck cut away in the 80’s from throat cancer but sadly and tragically, he went back to smoking in 2008 or thereabouts when he lost his job. That shit is so TOXIC!!! but I strive to eat all plants all the time! Love Dr. Greger’s videos!

      • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

        Sorry for your loss. Thanks for your comment.

  • In today’s Science-Based Medicine blog, Harriet Hall posted a review where she claims that “the scientific evidence for turmeric is insufficient to incorporate it into medical practice.”

  • JR

    So – does this mean that supplements will work? curry everyday? :P

  • Psych MD

    The issue with many potentially functional foods is absorption and bioavailabiltiy. The link below offers fascinating information on how these limitations can be overcome. Hint: it’s not simply by mixing it with fat and black pepper.

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      Hey psycho MD. thats not being very sensitive towards the people who desperately need solutions right now is it? Dangling a 10 – 20 year in the future carrot in front of their faces!

      Anyway this prediction is already bust in 6 months :
      8. Conclusions and Future Prospects (snip out)
      Advancements in utilization of nanotechnology might help us to achieve the higher concentrations of the natural products necessary for efficacy against various diseases. It is assumed that a cure for cancer will be available by the year 2015 [108,109], and it is also anticipated that nanotechnology will be a $1 trillion industry by that time, with most of the impact focused on healthcare and cancer therapy

      • Thea

        Arjan: We do not descend to name calling on this site. Please change your post.

        • Arjan den Hollander.

          Request granted, sorry sweety ;)

          • Thea

            Thanks Arjan. You are a great participant. That’s why I didn’t treat your post the way most posts like that get treated (deleted without discussion). Thanks for your participation on this site.

          • Arjan den Hollander.

            I salute you magnanimity!
            You serve your community well.

      • Psych MD

        Go to PubMed and type in Theracurmin. It is available now for about 50 cents a day.

        • Arjan den Hollander.

          Is that different that mixing curcumin with milk before you drink it? Thats (nano) colloidal delivery too. And in india they actually do that this way for hundreds of years already.

          Hardly high tech, hardly what we picture with nanotechnology.

    • Darryl
  • Arjan den Hollander.

    Mmmm , ok the minimum effective dose for cancer is now established.

    But there is this little point of the huge spike in serum curcumin after intake.
    Seen graphs here on this site I believe of a spike lasting only 2 hours or so after intake. And serum levels collapsing almost back to base line after.

    How was the intake spread?
    1 dose with 1 huge spike?
    Or mixed with all foodstuffs so there would be elevated serum levels during waking hours in which food gets consumed.

    This is a critical question!

    So is it either a shotgun blast every 24 hrs and your body has 22 hours a day on garbage duty, or does the cancer get smothered over the whole day?

  • Coacervate

    Penicillin is a magic bullet class drug. It was so effective and saved so many lives and limbs that we naturally became accustomed to the idea that good medicine equated to finding the right bullet or combination of bullets.

    The story that has emerged since certain researchers opened their minds a bit is more like magic Kevlar. So simple. Eat a whole foods diet centered on plants with as much variety as you can reasonably obtain.

    If we can get our kids to believe that this cadre of researchers are as heroic as Pasteur, Koch, Fleming and Florey… Do they learn about Kempner, Ornish and Campbell’s Symphony? If not, Why not? Just think if we can get that through their little knoggins and adopt good eating habits it will only take a few decades to change the world.

    As for this old dog, this is science I can grok!…KIS me, right on the lips :)

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      I tell my son that if he wants big muscles like his daddy(!) he has to eat a lot of vegetables – and it works! Probably because he is 8 years old :-)

      • Coacervate

        Little pitchers…

        Looking back some 30+ years, I’d say our lot were pretty much “hard-wired” in most of their principles by about 9 or 10. Gotta get em early and set that good example. Nice going.

        • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

          He likes broccoli and brussel sprouts. The first thing he eats out of his plate at dinner are the veggies.

  • NotRappaport

    Doctor Greger,

    When using fresh turmeric root, how much should I consume daily? Does it matter if it’s cooked or raw? I’m a type II diabetic and I recently began swallowing a little raw with meals as an anti-inflammatory (along with black pepper and fresh, raw ginger root). WARNING – ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE: My blood sugar levels have responded well to this; I’ve found that I need less insulin when I begin a meal with the turmeric-ginger-pepper combo.

    [46-year-old male. Low-fat whole-foods vegan since October 2013.
    Pre-vegan Hemoglobin A1C: 9.3 (it had been as high as 11.3 in recent years). June 2014 Hemoglobin A1C: 5.7. And I eat as much as I want.]

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      Anti inflammation was 0.3 grams of tumeric, 0.3 gr of cloves ,2.8 gr of ground ginger and 2.8 gr rosemary.

      All 4 about equal significant drops:

      Ginger I use fresh about 6 gr sliced in 400ml of Jasmin green tea/with lemon. About 2 – 3 times a day, chew up the ginger after I drank it. Its ok after most of the real sting has been absorbed by the fluid. Kind of like it now.

      Rosemary I blend in green shakes. The other 2 get added piecemeal thoughout the day. 0.2 gr in a serving of these 2 is hardly noticable to me anymore.

      Works like a charm.

      Thats raw though, tumeric has other properties when heat treated. More on the cancer side of things it seems.

    • Ben

      You are doing good eating the raw turmeric for the anti-inflammatory benefits. You should also do heat treated turmeric for it’s ability to fight the free radicals and repair DNA strands. Watch this video:

  • Orly

    Here is another great recipe, sauté chopped onion until golden, add chopped red pepper a full teaspoon of Turmeric, black pepper a veg powdered bullion, a bag of frozen peas, chopped carrots, sweet and regular potato , simmer for 15 mints. Excellent.

  • Kolleen

    What is considered a good maintenance dosage?

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      The effective dose, 4 gr.

  • mariell

    hi, do you have any information of cactus leaves(in mexico we call it nopales?), and also the asafetida spice?

  • coosaw

    I have colon cancer issues. How do I get to vein the study .Or at least get more information for my MD

    • Toxins

      Please click “sources cited” under the video for the studies.

      • coosaw

        Thank you. I checked the references and I called the Cleveland Clinic for an appointment. I want to have
        a story about prevention!

        • Thea

          coocaw: That’s awesome. I’m rooting for you. Best of luck to you.

  • Psych MD

    Of the 6720 studies cited in PubMed regarding curcumin, nearly all of them involve some sort of purified, standardized extract. By the same token virtually all have yielded positive results. There is much to be said for utilizing a strategy that has been scientifically validated. As I see it that is really the whole point of Dr. Greger’s “org”.

  • Bluenomad

    What were the high and low dose quantities??? What is the recommended daily/weekly consumption idea?

  • Gregg Stern

    Question: I have been making my own ginger/turmeric tea for a long while with 3/4 lb fresh ginger root & 1/8 lb fresh turmeric root. An ND who says he is a specialist in nutrition told me to STOP drinking this or at least take a couple weeks off. He said these roots, if not organic, have high levels of toxicity either from pesticides &/or heavy metals as well as the turmeric alters the gut flora in a negative way. I looked & looked but could not find anything to support this. Could you provide any info on the topic. I drink the tea daily to get all the benefits these wonderful roots have to offer but I certainly don’t want to toxify myself and impair my gut flora. Thanks.

  • Sebastian Tristan

    My girlfriend and I consume turmeric every day. We add half a teaspoon to our oatmeal and we also consume Yellow lentils that have both turmeric root and turmeric powder.

  • Paul

    Dear Dr. Greger,
    I turn 50 in a couple of months and I have been a strict vegan for about 7 years and will be for the rest of my life. Do you recommend a colonoscopy or any other type of screening for symptom-free vegans? Thanks for your help.

    • Thea

      Paul: I don’t know if Dr. Greger will be able to answer this question or not. I just thought I would say that I share the question! There are a lot of standard screenings that I really wonder if they are wise or not, especially for someone who has been eating a whole plant food based diet for some time. A whole plant food based diet may not be a guarantee of being disease free, but the screenings come with their own problems. So, I wonder how to weigh these decisions. I’ve made my own decision in regards to mammograms, but colonoscopies are still a big question in my head.

      If you haven’t seen the following video, I thought it might interest you. It talks about how evaluations of some screenings have not always been above board. (My interpretation of the talk.)
      The Two Most Misleading Numbers in Medicine:

      Thanks for asking the question.

    • Anita

      I’m 47 and just had my first colonoscopy due to a family history (my dad had his first colon polyps at age 53). I have followed a vegan diet for 8 years. I had two colon polyps removed. Unfortunately I don’t think following a vegan diet makes us bullet proof and the recommended colonoscopy screening beginning at age 50 is probably a good idea.

  • Paul

    Does anyone know how much you should eat daily?

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Legendado em Português / subtitled into Portuguese:

  • Jerry LA

    Transcript: Putrefying Protein and “Toxifying” Enzymes NutritionFacts.Org

    The real “Biggy” in India and Cancer is many people eat plant food diets vs. Meat, Cheese, Eggs, Dairy in the U.S. Colon
    cancer is a leading cancer killer, yet, there’s this paradox in Africa
    where they rarely get the disease even in modern times, when they are no
    longer eating their traditional whole food diet; so, they’re no longer
    eating lots of fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables. It is likely,
    therefore, that their continued low prevalence of colon cancer—50 times
    lower than ours—is related to their low intake of animal protein and
    fat, as I explored previously, but why would animal protein and fat
    increase cancer risk? Well, as I noted in Bowel Wars,
    if you eat egg whites, for example, between 5 and 35% of the protein
    isn’t digested, isn’t absorbed, and ends up in the colon, where it
    undergoes a process called putrefaction…..more in NutritionFacts.Org
    Turmeric may help, however the real India solution is the Plant Food diets, also in Africa with whole grain corn, vegetables, fruits vs. cheeseburgers, fries, and ice cream here in the U.S.

  • Mary Jo Frey

    I am constantly reading about all the benefits of Curcumin/Tumeric. It is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices you can use. Almost all diseases result from inflammation, it has been found to be helpful in reducing chronic pain and many other issues. It is easy to add to foods, but some may not like the taste, so it is available in capsule form. There is mention that when you use it in foods it is best to add pepper as that will help with the absorption. I spoke to a doctor doing research on this at Baylor university and he was very excited about the good results he’s found so far. There are very few adverse effects, the more worrisome are the blood thinning effects and if you have any problems with your gallbladder. Always consult your doctor before using ANY supplements and be sure to list them on your medical records as some may be contraindicated with your other medicines or supplements. .The problem I’ve had is finding a doctor that is familiar with the supplement and can give me advice on the dose to take and what brands are safe and reliable. There are many out there that include Botswalla, another good supplement I’ve heard of but don’t know much about. Is it good to take them both?

  • crispian

    Is there any research related to turmeric retention enemas and rectal cancer? I have found some research related to ginseng extracts administered that way for rectal cancer that showed some very positive results