Doctor's Note

This is the last of a three part video series on turmeric and cancer. If you missed the first two, check out: Back to Our Roots: Curry and Carcinogen Blocking Effects of Turmeric Curcumin.

Other herbs and spices such as garlic and amla may have similar selective effects against cancer cells.

I talk more about this concept of “apoptosis,” programmed cell death in:

What else can turmeric do? Here’s the videos I have so far (with more on the way!):

Stay tuned for another 3-part cancer series coming soon:

  1. Phytates for the Prevention of Cancer
  2. Phytates for Rehabilitating Cancer Cells
  3. Phytates for the Treatment of Cancer

 Make sure you don’t miss it by subscribing to my videos for free by clicking here.

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  • Veganwannabe

    Turmeric good for me. Better combined with pepper. I get it. Great! Thanks for the precious info. Now, not knowing where to ask I will simply use this space. What about glucosamine? There’s no mention of it on this site though it’s a very popular supplement. Any words of wisdom on this topic?

    • Thea

      Veganwannabe: I understand your question and your curiosity makes sense. However, I would suggest a different approach to the topic: There are *lots* of supplements out there. Rather than try to address every one, Dr. Greger has a couple videos where he shows that in general, supplements tend to do nothing at best and often enough, harm us. And that’s for the supplements that we actually have data on.

      So, rather than try analyze every supplement, Dr. Greger analyzed the evidence and came up with a diet he thinks is most likely to make you healthy and avoid the major diseases. This diet includes only those supplements which are necessary and/or proven for healthy outcomes. Glucosamine is not on that list. If you would like to see Dr. Greger’s nutrition recommendations, here they are:

      No one is perfect. Perhaps something is missing from Dr. Greger’s recommendations. But for now, this is Dr. Greger’s thoughts on what constitutes healthy substances to put in our body.

      Hope that helps.

      • Veganwannabe

        Hi thanks for the reply. I read the recommendations and I’m confused over the omega question. Having watched one of Dr Greger’s annual videos, I remember he mentioned that as long as you take two tablespoons of flax each day, (and B12 vitamin) then you don’t need to take other supplements. I assumed this settled the omega issue. Am I missing something?

        • Thea

          Veganwannabe: I know that Dr. Greger recommends 2 Tbls flax a day, but I didn’t think it necessarily had to do with omega 3. NutritionFacts has a great series of videos on flaxseeds and there is lots of good reasons to make m them part of your diet.

          While I am not an expert, I have read what I can about the omega 3 issue as well as watched videos on this site and talks by Jeff Novick (ya gotta see his talk, From Oil To Nuts) and a talk posted on YouTube from Dr. Greger on the subject. Here’s how I have synthesized the information:

          1) omega 6 and omega 3 fats are essential fats because our body does not make these fats. We need to get both of them from our diet.

          2) There is an enzyme that converts the omega 3 and omega 6 (and other polies?) fats into substances that our bodies need. (ADA, PG, EPA and DHA).

          3) But there is a limited amount of of those enzymes and if you get too much omega 6, your body does not end up converting enough of the omega 3 to get what we need and the result is chronic inflammation. (or something like that)

          4) In a ***truly*** healthy diet, you would get the correct amounts and ratio of omega 6 to 3 fats. And you would not need to take a supplement. At most, with such a healthy diet you could take a tablespoon or so of flaxseed every day as added insurance.

          5) Most Americans do not eat a truly healthy diet, including many/most? vegans. Even people who try to eat mainly whole plant foods tend to consume too much oil and the wrong kind of nuts, both of which have alarmingly large amounts of omega 6 fats compared to the omega 3. Another problem with many diets is not enough greens.

          6) Thus, as insurance, some experts like Dr. Greger, recommend that you take a plant-derived DHA (and maybe EPA) supplement. Doing so could have huge healthy impacts, including protecting your heart–even for people who identify as whole plant food based eaters.

          That’s my 2 cents. I don’t speak for Dr. Greger and can’t say that this is exactly what he is thinking. It’s just what I understand. Given the above points, assuming they are right, you can decide for yourself whether or not it makes sense to take a DHA supplement.

          Hope that helps.

        • Thea

          Veganwannabe: Dang, I forgot to address why I think that the flaxseed recommendation from Dr. Greger does not necessarily have to do with the omega 3 issue.

          NutritionFacts has a video that talks about our body’s ability to convert the omega 3s in flaxseed to EPA and DHA. If memory serves, that video concludes that our bodies may not be able to convert enough to be helpful or enough that we can rely on the flaxseed alone.

          But in my opinion, that conclusion is probably based on studies of people who do not eat truly healthy diets – where the omega 6 and omega 3 is kept at less than or equal to a 4 to 1 ratio. It’s my guess that a healthy body eating a healthy diet will already be getting enough omega 3 or close enough that the flaxseed conversion is actually helpful/good enough.

          Again, that’s just my thoughts, not necessarily based on actual studies.

          • Tommasina

            Thea, I always find your comments SO helpful! Thank you!

          • Thea

            Tommasina: That means a lot coming from you. I also get a lot of benefit from your comments. Thanks!

  • DGH

    Since going vegan 8 months ago I’ve noticed I’ve developed progressive cold intolerance to the point of having to wear several shirts both day and night under my sweater. I suspect that it is related to iodine uptake in my thyroid gland. I consume raw cruciferous vegetables (mainly broccoli) at the same time I take my iodine supplement, and it’s possible that the goitrogens are blocking iodine uptake at the gland. I can’t otherwise explain the major degree of cold intolerance I have developed, unless it’s a marker of subclinical hypothyroidism.

    • vegan gal

      I have heard that you should wait several hours after taking thyroid medications before eating cruciferous veggies, just for the reasons you mentioned. Why not give that a try? Couldn’t hurt.

    • BB

      Have you lost weight? Being leaner can make us more sensitive to cold temperatures.

      • DGH

        Yes I’ve lost weight, but in my hands and feet, and it’s often my extremities that are the most cold. Thanks.

    • misty westfall

      I’m glad u mentioned this cause I have hypothyroidism, and has suddenly got worse after having a daily kale smoothy in the morning for last 4 months. I will have to stop and see if It improves.

    • Dar Dehmler

      possibly low on iron. that is something you could be low on and make it so you have difficulty getting warm.

  • Vikki

    Could you suggest an approximate amount of turmeric that would be good to consume on a daily basis? Thanks.

    • Dude

      less than a teaspoon, or a slice of fresh tumeric with a little pepper

      • Janet

        I have been taking liquid Turmeric purchased from a Health Food Store. Any thoughts on this?

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    One thing I feel is so important about your work is that you can take very complex subjects and explain them in general terms where we all can understand. That takes a special gift and I, as always, appreciate your work and effort!
    Now if we could add some Blueberries to the Tumeric we would have some Green Antioxidants to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day (for the Catholics). Or just keep it Orange to celebrate St. Paddy’s day for the Protestants. Either way it’s a plant based liquid!
    Yes I also know there is yeast “poop” in there as well (alcohol).

  • vegan31

    I am treating triple negative breast cancer with alternative measures only.
    No surgery, no chemo no radiation. I would love any comments with regards to curcumin usage and other possible therapies for someone traveling down the lonely and exciting road of alternative healing.

    • Coacervate

      You are not alone. Have you seen Ruth Heidrich’s pages?

      With respect I would suggest that you find drs you can work with. They have a lot up their sleeves…even metformin could work synergistically with a whole foods diet.

      • vegan31

        Yes, Coacervate, I have actually emailed Ruth Heidrich. The difference is that she had surgery/lumpectomy. I chose to forego any surgery after the core needle biopsy.
        I have not heard of metformin. I will research it. Thanks.

    • Catherine J Frompovich

      So have I done the same and written a book about it, A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments available on It’s the only way to go for no toxic side effects and treatments.
      The book is written in three parts with the third part discussing resources.
      Regarding curcumin, I take six capsules a day.
      I wish you the best in healing.

      • vegan31

        Thanks, Catherine, I will check out your book. My best to you for continued good health. Also will up my curcumin dosage. Have you or anyone tried essaic tea for treatment of cancer? I realize the immune system has to be strong and protective to ward off metastasizing of cancer cells.

    • Judy Larson

      I cured myself from cancer 13 years ago and am still well today. I had a lumpectomy only. no chemo or radiation. I eliminated all animal source foods (meat dairy and eggs and embraced a whole food plant based diet and daily exercise regimen. If I had cancer today I would go to Dr John Mcdougall’s 10 day program and learn in depth how to use food as medicine. Also read Dr Neal Barnards Cancer Survivors Guide. Be wary or thinking that because something says alternative that it is a magic bullet. Keep researching. God Bless. JudyJuice

      • vegan31

        JudyJuice, Wow, 13 years ago! Congratulations on curing yourself! Someone else recommended speaking to Dr. McDougall. Since I was already a vegan when the cancer was diagnosed late last year, I initially felt bewildered as to what the heck to do now. So I immediately stopped consuming sugar. Thanks for the book referrals. I am interested in any other insight and feedback from this most helpful forum. Thanks.

        • val

          Vegan31, do you mean you stopped consuming REFINED sugar? am hoping that’s the case…I gave up refined sugar about 10 years ago but just would like clarification…GOOD for you and Judy Larson…WOOT!

          • vegan31

            Yes, Val, I gave up refined sugar and all fruit. I am trying to take in zero glucose and fructose since I have read cancer cells feed on sugar. I also read all food becomes sugar at some point after metabolism, so I am trying to carefully watch any sugar intake. Have you experience noticeable results due to your 10 year abstinence from refined sugar?

    • Merio

      others user told you some great advice… i would suggest you if you could to check out the story of Rick Simpson and his oil…
      this is only one story… there is the essiac way that you have mentioned (but i do not study yet)… even the fasting option integrated with a Calorie and Methionine Restriction Plan Based Diet could work well… have you done a PET ?
      You have my deepest sympathy and really hope you will heal soon.
      Best regards

      • vegan31

        Merio, I am eager to watch this video and read more on the story of Rick Simpson. I listened to a few minutes but wanted to take a second to thank you for forwarding this info. I am familiar with the fasting and Ketogenic Therapy but have not been able to fast for long periods yet. I have not heard of Methionine Restriction. I have not had a PET. I guess I am afraid of radiation going into my system. I really appreciate having this info, Merio. THANKS!

        • Merio

          Well… methionine restriction was the subject of dr greger video time ago, but it’s not difficult to follow… for the pet it’s not a problem, but it gives valuable info if your cancer is glucose dependent… i suggest anyway to follow the suggestion of Seedycharacter… find an oncologist specialized in nutrition…. maybe the American College for advancement in medicine is a good place where to find… hope this will help….

          • vegan31

            Merio, are you saying that radiation from the PET is not a problem? Could it be that all or most cancers are glucose dependent? I do miss eating fruit but if cancer cells feed on sugar I would like to think I am starving them to death by not consuming sugar. I am looking forward to watching that video you sent today.

          • Merio

            Radiation it’s a problem… high doses of radiation of course are to be avoided at all… for smaller doses i can’t say anything because i do not study the subject yet, even if Dr Greger made some video about this issue… oncology is such a difficult matter of science… Maybe a PET scan is not so dangerous, i’m not an expert, but one should know that is based on gamma ray detection… but it gives you valuable information because if you know where the tumour is and the PET says that is sugar dependent well, you know theoretically what to do (starve cancer cells minimizing sugar consumption)…
            All cancers are sugar dependent ? Nope, some kind of cancer (quite a few) is not, so patient needs other kinds of treatment…
            You know it’s difficult to advise someone about cancer… i read a lot of things, seen interesting documentary, but what about the real life ?
            I’m afraid to waste your precious time so it’s better if you find a good oncologist with many years of practice and with great knowledge about food action on human health…

          • vegan31

            It would be wonderful to find an oncologist with years of knowledge about alternative cancer treatment with food, lifestyle and supplements.

            Cancer is definitely a tricky and serious topic.

    • SeedyCharacter

      Vegan31: I highly recommend that you find an integrative oncologist in your area soon–do not try to figure this out by asking folks for their opinions on websites such as this. You’ll get 1001 opinions to sort through, some of which may be useless and even dangerous! Cancer is nothing to mess around with; you want someone qualified to give you individualized care and carefully explain the risks/benefits of your options.

      That said, I am going to be one of the 1001 folks to give you my opinion! (I was the executive director of WomenCARE, a resource center for women with cancer in Santa Cruz, CA for many years, so my opinion is based on some considerable experience.)

      Pay for a consultation with Ralph Moss who has been researching alternative and complementary approaches to cancer for decades. He reviews all of the research and prepares reports tailored to one’s diagnosis:

      My other highly recommended source is Dr. Jeanne Wallace, a PhD nutritionist who will also advise you around your options based on latest research:

      Both Moss and Wallace are reputable and charge fair prices for what they deliver. There are many hucksters out there offering alternative treatments that are not at all research based.

      My last 2 cents: consider complementary and not purely alternative treatments. Do not summarily discard the options of surgery, chemo, and radiation. These treatments have their place for certain cancers at particular stages.

      All best to you in your healing journey.

      • vegan31

        SeedyCharacter, I heartily welcome your advice! Thanks so very much for your comments. Doing this on my own is a daunting and scary undertaking. I will follow-up on your advice re. the two doctors, etc. Please throw in your “two cents” at any time. I will stay in touch with this forum for any feedback in the future, as well. The comments come to my email and I will not miss them.

        Also, if anyone else has any helpful suggestions and resources, please feel free to respond. I am open and desperate to find ways to make the “triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) leave my body. Mainstream physicians do not seem comfortable getting involved with me with regards to alternative protocols.

        • SeedyCharacter

          Vegan 31: Thanks for your openness to my advice. Where do you live? Have you tapped into resources in your area (beyond the mostly useless ACS)? Another super resource for support for alternative/complementary/conventional treatments is Healing Journeys. They have an incredible annual conference. I notice they have a Cancer Fighting Kitchen conference coming up in Seattle. The book Anticancer is an amazing book. Not all of these resources advocate veganism, but all of them stress plant-based diets.

          • vegan31

            SeedyCharacter, I live in the Boston MA. area. I am thankful to have discovered a raw food contingency in this area. I am so excited and energized by all of the resources you have sent my way. As my dear Mother used to say: “Thanks from the bottom of my heart “.

          • SeedyCharacter

            Oh, very cool to have discovered a raw food group in the area! I wonder if you have checked out Facing Cancer Together in your area? It looks like they offer supportive groups and retreats. Here’s a description of one of their retreats: “Facing Cancer Together offers seasonal day long retreats throughout the year in a quiet setting. The retreats offer participants contemplative practices for strengthening their capacity to live with cancer. These practices include but are not limited to yoga, meditation, guided imagery, journal writing, guided art projects and walks in nature. Vegetarian nutritious lunches are also provided.” This org may not be purely alternative or vegan, but there is NO substitute for meeting with other folks with the same type of cancer to get information and support from! When working at WomenCARE, I ran the cancer support groups and women gave each other incredible advise–e.g. which oncologists to go to, which to avoid, alternative practitioners, sound alternative treatments, etc. Warmly, Seedy

    • John Weber

      Iodine 50mg s day for 3 mos. Bromide one min cause of breast cancer. Iodine gets bromide mercury a d fluoride out of the body.

  • Coacervate

    I knew what apoptosis was, knew some of the pathways you described but never put it all together like that. Bellissimo Paesono. Thank you.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Think of all the people in the western world built of cheeseburgers, french fries, trans fats (in the brain instead of omega 3), sausage rolls, candy, food additives – no wonder their bodies doesnt work.

  • val

    Co-worker was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer after a false-negative 8 weeks ago…..I did NOT hear turmeric mentioned in this video for that cancer…should I encourage her to eat turmeric? She is undergoing chemo at this time…thanks anybody & everybody.

    • Devin Wiesner

      If you do a search on Pubmed, you will find 27 studies on turmeric and stomach cancer. You may also want to find out what type of chemotherapy treatment she is engaged in and search in Pubmed for that form of chemo and turmeric and search for other dietary adjuvants associated with that form of chemotherapy. Turmeric may also help (along Piperine from Black Pepper) with gastric ulcers if that is a symptom she is dealing with.

      • Val

        Devin, thank you thank you…I am not sure what condition they THOUGHT she had at first after the false-negative 8 weeks ago…SO much valuable time was lost (head in hands)…then she went to a different hospital, Moffitt Center in Tampa, and got the stomach cancer diagnosis…DEAR PEOPLE reading this: please eat right to PREVENT this disease…it is so scary about these wrong diagnoses. Devin, I will ask her supervisor what they THOUGHT she had…may have been ulcers. and I *will* check Pubmed. Hugs to you for your guidance!

        • val

          ALSO: at 3:36 in Doc’s video, is there a way to magnify the list of the cancer cells curcumin can kill? Thanks again if anyone knows!

          • Devin Wiesner

            Dr. Greger provides a link to the studies that he cites. In this case it is table #2 in the 2009 AAPS journal paper (3rd from the bottom)….click “Sources Cited”.

  • yalechaser

    The video was very informative. But the question I have is whether the testing was done with tumeric curcumin supplements or simply tumeric powder we would use with food. I use tumeric on food as most people do and would rather not use supplements. It would be nice to know what general amount of daily tumeric would help us and how little would be not enough.

    • Dude

      less than a teaspoon, or a slice of fresh tumeric with a little pepper

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    This video needs a Dragon Ball Z animation, quick!! Amazing how the cellular world is so interesting!! : ) That’s just for the part of the tumeric and the caspases and death receptors; the first part of the video has a great content for kids by itself, and grown-ups too, of course.

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    This video deserves the effort of being translated to other languages, don’t you think? :)

  • Calvin Leman

    May have skin cancer on my cheek; will see Dr tomorrow. If cancer I will tell Dr. I will try curcumin first. I eat only whole-food plant-based food…don’t know why cancer got started, may be sun-damaged cells could not use the phyochemicals to block cancer.

    • Thea

      Calvin: I’m so sorry to hear about your potential diagnosis. I’m hoping that the test shows you are fine.

      Either way, I think you might find it helpful to watch Dr. McDougall’s talk on Why Did Steve Jobs Die – simply because Dr. McDougall talks about a person who mostly ate a whole plant food based diet and still got cancer. It might answer your question about why a person might still get cancer even if she/he eats the best diet. (Not that anything bad will happen to you! I suggest this video only to try to answer your question.)

      Good luck to you. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    • Merio

      Sorry to hear that… i’m not an oncologist, just a very young biotechnologist that read a lot and i could suggest you to watch this video and maybe talk with your doctor about this issue:

      this man seems to have a lot of experience with hemp oil…

    • Calvin Leman

      Dr said this was a quack; so I left and will treat with turmeric curcumin. All Dr. wanted to do was cut it off.

    • Thrivalista

      Calvin, in addition to trying curcumin, you might want to check out the results skin cancer patients have had using the sap from petty spurge to treat lesions. And it’s a weed that grows widely, so there’s no need to line manufacturer’s pockets.

      Here’s a link to one thread discussing how-to’s and results:


  • Rodrigo Cardoso
  • Gayle Delaney

    What does Dr. Gregger think of today’s NYT article about this research? How to understand it and will my Dr. Perlmutter follower-friends think this confirms his positions?

    “But the new research, published on Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, did not find that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat had more heart disease than those who ate less. Nor did it find less disease in those eating higher amounts of unsaturated fat, including monounsaturated fat like olive oil or polyunsaturated fat like corn oil.”

    • Ben

      The problem is, that is just one study. Here is a good discussion of this subject here:

      You have to look at all of the evidence.

      • Devin Wiesner

        Ben I agree with you. Though I think one additional variable is the failure to measure or difficulty in measuring consumption of unsaturated fat that is heated at high temperatures. Oxidative degradation of oil, accelerated by high heat cooking, is quite common among cooking methods utilized today and results in greater inflammation.

    • Ben

      McDougal just sent out a newsletter addressing this flawed study. It’s flawed because the researchers did not decrease the saturated fat content of the diets enough. Had they decreased the saturated fat content to the extent as seen in Esseltyn, etc., the improvement would have been there. It’s very typical and the mainstream new outlets love to grab hold of these things because they sell newspapers. People love to hear good news about their bad habits.

      • Gayle Delaney

        Here is on comment on my query, Marcy!


        Gayle Delaney, PhD

      • Gayle Delaney

        Thank you, Ben!

  • BennyB
  • Rivka Freeman

    We don’t need to make money off curcumin we just need to inform the masses. Doctors write Rx or say just say it, “One teaspoon in water or food daily.”

  • C C

    great vid! quick question: what about galangal root? i hear it’s healthy, similar to ginger or tumeric but i can’t find much info on it.

  • BYOL

    Hi Dr. Greger thanks for the great work. The “New Perspectives” article seems to be discussing curcumin as a supplement or pill and references the poor absorption of the nutrient. In a past video you mentioned consuming curries with black pepper, does that help with the absorption of curcumin? Is there anything else that can help with this?

  • maria c mattioli

    I have read about turmeric supplements and powders being contaminated with unhealthy fillers and stuff. So I decided to make my own powder but thought some of the nutrients might be lost with the20 minute boiling and drying process. I now just make a yummy lemonade drink with raw turmeric root and some fresh pepper out of the grinder. I tastes great, is fast and easy to do, and is really delicious if you are thirsty or on a hot day. I will post the recipe below. I was wondering how much is a good amount for daily use as a supplement? Sometimes I have two of these a day– morning and late afternoon after dinner.

    One tall glass full of trader joe’s low calorie lemonade
    One whole lemon squeezed out
    Three to four twists of the pepper grinder
    One turmeric root peeled ( about the size of baby carrot)
    Blend in the blender 1 minute and drink ! Tastes great and is fresh.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Good questions and thanks for reposting! I think using fresh powder is best, then you don’t have to worry about what’s in the supplements. I am also unsure of a proper amount, as the studies conducted vary on dosage. Dr. Greger addresses dosage in this video. See if that helps answer your question? Always great to ask your healthcare team about proper dosage if on a supplement. Let me know if this helps?


  • R V

    Hello Dr. Greger,

    I’m diagnosed with actinic keratose, a pre-cancerous skin disease.
    Do you think I can treat the actinic keratose effectively by applying curcumine juice on the affected areas, in order to prevent skin cancer? Or must I go to a MD, wich, of course, I dont like at all. Thanks for any reply.

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Can one enrich food with turmeric while taking thinning blood drugs? Is there a specific amount allowed to take per mg of drug or according to other calculation.

  • paul

    in 2014 i was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, went through chemo, radiation, and surgery. i recently learned i have two lymph nodes near my esophagus that are cancer infected. they want to repeat chemo and radiation treatment again. i believe some cancers, esophagus included, may be a result of an inflammatory condition. i’d like to delay treatment to see if a anti-inflammatory diet would work in place. i find very little research to support my plan. any advise would be appreciated.

    • Thea

      paul: I’m so sorry to hear that the cancer is back.
      Being just a lay person, I couldn’t say anything about the traditional options. But if you have already decided to come up with your own plan, there is a lot of information on NutritionFacts which could help you design a diet for your situation. For starters, NutritionFacts even has a video specifically on esophageal cancer. Have you seen this one?: .
      I wouldn’t rely only on that one solution, though. I would do everything I could if I were you. The big picture about what a healthy, cancer-fighting diet looks like is Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. If you have not read Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Die, now is the time. All of Part 2 of the book tells you how to implement the Daily Dozen.
      But for someone who already has cancer, you may want to customize the Daily Dozen to make sure you include those foods which are known to fight cancer as well as completely staying away from those foods known to promote cancer. So, I also highly recommend starting with the cancer topic page on NutritionFacts and working your way through the links. Here is the topic page:
      I hope this helps and I wish you all the luck in the world.