Turmeric Curcumin, MGUS, & Multiple Myeloma

Turmeric Curcumin, MGUS, & Multiple Myeloma
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Which plant and animal foods are associated with the development of multiple myeloma, and what effect might the spice turmeric have on the progression of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance?

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Multiple myeloma is one of the most dreaded cancers; it's a cancer of our antibody-producing plasma cells, considered one of the most intractable blood diseases for many years. The precursor disease is called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS. When it was named, its significance was undetermined, but now we know that multiple myeloma is almost always preceded by MGUS, which makes it one of the most common premalignant disorders, with a prevalence of about 3% in the older white general population, and about two to three times that in African-American populations.

MGUS itself is asymptomatic; you don't even know you have it until your doctor finds it incidentally during routine blood work. But should it progress to multiple myeloma, you then have about four years to live. So we need to find ways to treat MGUS early, before it turns into cancer, but no such treatment exists. Rather, patients are just kind of placed in a holding pattern, with frequent checkups. But if all you're going to do is watch and wait, might as well try out some dietary changes.

The potential role of curcumin, the yellow pigment in the spice turmeric, in patients with MGUS. Why curcumin? Well, it's relatively safe, considering that it has been consumed as a dietary spice for centuries. And, it kills multiple myeloma cells. Here's the unimpeded growth of four different cell lines of multiple myeloma. You start out with 5,000 cancer cells at the beginning of the week, which then doubles, triples, quadruples in a matter of days. But if you add a little bit of curcumin or a lot of curcumin, the growth is stunted or stopped. But this is in a Petri dish. Still, exciting enough to justify trying it out in a clinical trial. And six years later, researchers did.

One can measure the progression of the disease by the rise in blood levels of paraprotein, which is what's made by MGUS and myeloma cells. About 1 in 3 of the patients responded to the curcumin with dropping paraprotein levels, whereas there were no responses in the placebo group. These positive findings prompted them to commence a double-blind, randomized, control trial, and here it is. They saw the same kind of positive biomarker response in both MGUS patients as well as those with so-called smoldering multiple myeloma, an early stage of the disease. These findings suggest that curcumin might have the potential to slow the disease process in patients, delaying or preventing the progression of MGUS to multiple myeloma, but we won't know until longer larger studies are done.

The best way to deal with multiple myeloma is to not get it in the first place. In 2010 I profiled this study, suggesting that vegetarians have just a quarter the risk of multiple myeloma compared to meat-eaters. Even just working with chicken meat may double one's risk of multiple myeloma, the thinking being that cancers like leukemias, lymphomas, and myeloma may be induced by viral agents in both cattle and chickens, so-called zoonotic, or animal-to-human-oncogenic, cancer-causing, viruses. Beef, however, was not associated with multiple myeloma.

There are, however, some vegetarian foods we may want to avoid. Harvard reported a controversial link between diet soda and multiple myeloma, implicating aspartame. French fries and potato chips should not be the way we get our vegetables, nor should we probably pickle them. While the intake of shallots, garlic, soy foods, and green tea was significantly associated with a reduced risk of multiple myeloma, intake of pickled vegetables three times a week or more was associated with increased risk.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Multiple myeloma is one of the most dreaded cancers; it's a cancer of our antibody-producing plasma cells, considered one of the most intractable blood diseases for many years. The precursor disease is called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS. When it was named, its significance was undetermined, but now we know that multiple myeloma is almost always preceded by MGUS, which makes it one of the most common premalignant disorders, with a prevalence of about 3% in the older white general population, and about two to three times that in African-American populations.

MGUS itself is asymptomatic; you don't even know you have it until your doctor finds it incidentally during routine blood work. But should it progress to multiple myeloma, you then have about four years to live. So we need to find ways to treat MGUS early, before it turns into cancer, but no such treatment exists. Rather, patients are just kind of placed in a holding pattern, with frequent checkups. But if all you're going to do is watch and wait, might as well try out some dietary changes.

The potential role of curcumin, the yellow pigment in the spice turmeric, in patients with MGUS. Why curcumin? Well, it's relatively safe, considering that it has been consumed as a dietary spice for centuries. And, it kills multiple myeloma cells. Here's the unimpeded growth of four different cell lines of multiple myeloma. You start out with 5,000 cancer cells at the beginning of the week, which then doubles, triples, quadruples in a matter of days. But if you add a little bit of curcumin or a lot of curcumin, the growth is stunted or stopped. But this is in a Petri dish. Still, exciting enough to justify trying it out in a clinical trial. And six years later, researchers did.

One can measure the progression of the disease by the rise in blood levels of paraprotein, which is what's made by MGUS and myeloma cells. About 1 in 3 of the patients responded to the curcumin with dropping paraprotein levels, whereas there were no responses in the placebo group. These positive findings prompted them to commence a double-blind, randomized, control trial, and here it is. They saw the same kind of positive biomarker response in both MGUS patients as well as those with so-called smoldering multiple myeloma, an early stage of the disease. These findings suggest that curcumin might have the potential to slow the disease process in patients, delaying or preventing the progression of MGUS to multiple myeloma, but we won't know until longer larger studies are done.

The best way to deal with multiple myeloma is to not get it in the first place. In 2010 I profiled this study, suggesting that vegetarians have just a quarter the risk of multiple myeloma compared to meat-eaters. Even just working with chicken meat may double one's risk of multiple myeloma, the thinking being that cancers like leukemias, lymphomas, and myeloma may be induced by viral agents in both cattle and chickens, so-called zoonotic, or animal-to-human-oncogenic, cancer-causing, viruses. Beef, however, was not associated with multiple myeloma.

There are, however, some vegetarian foods we may want to avoid. Harvard reported a controversial link between diet soda and multiple myeloma, implicating aspartame. French fries and potato chips should not be the way we get our vegetables, nor should we probably pickle them. While the intake of shallots, garlic, soy foods, and green tea was significantly associated with a reduced risk of multiple myeloma, intake of pickled vegetables three times a week or more was associated with increased risk.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

This is the previous video I mentioned: Meat & Multiple Myeloma. For dietary links to other blood cancers, see EPIC Findings on Lymphoma.

The turmeric story just never seems to end. I recommend a quarter teaspoon a day:

Why might garlic and tea help? See Cancer, Interrupted: Garlic & Flavonoids and Cancer Interrupted, Green Tea.

More on the effects of Nutrasweet in Aspartame and the Brain and acrylamide in Cancer Risk From French Fries.

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

108 responses to “Turmeric Curcumin, MGUS, & Multiple Myeloma

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  1. Am I the only one who are really impressed by curcumin or what!? Fascinating. If curcumin was invented in a lab it would be a blockbuster as a preventive drug.




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    1. Yes and then it would have a multimillion-dollar campaign pushing it and a “healthy” price-tag too. As it is, i can afford to shake a little curry powder or turmeric into any dish at any time and often do.




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      1. And probably works best that way.
        Imagine a cancer preventive drug, that can be patented, for a disease were there are no treatment $$$$$ £££££ €€€€




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        1. The pharmaceutical industry is not interested in prevention or cures. It’s only interested in chronic diseases. If a condition is lethal, find a drug that can make it non-lethal but chronic, and $$$$$$$$$$.




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          1. Exactly. Big Pharma is a billion dollar industry. If they cured disease, they would have no customers, and would be out of business.




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        2. Yeah, but is it safe to consume something such as turmeric and the like everyday, weekly? Does the human body really “want” a drug-like natural substance on a constant basis? It does not seem like a natural substance that our taste buds would gravitate to. As a beneficial natural medicine, sounds good. But it seems to me that our body has its own natural medicine systems in place, and moderation is important as far as what we put in, whether natural or not.




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          1. After 20 years living/working in China in an extremely toxic environment [ food, water and air full of toxic chemicals!], I typically add generous amts of turmeric and a smaller amt of black pepper [to increase bioavailability of turmeric] to both lunch and dinner. Been doing this for abt a year in Calif and I’m quite healthy and active at age 68. I do a lot of other things as well, but turmeric is the most common and most ample spice that I use on a daily basis.




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  2. What about cooked breakfast cereals? Things like raisin bran, corn flakes? Does the type of cooking of these foods effect the risk?




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      1. yes but it has been shown that marinating has a moderating effect on the carcinogenic effect of cooking on meat. Also lower heats that you use for stewing is dramatically less negative effect




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        1. I’ll eat them in moderation for sure. I make my own kraut and “kimchi”. I just won’t binge on them or make them daily habits. Will review the links above that i have yet to see. (typo in your last link JG)




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            1. That’s it/him. Think there is a second or new edition out. I have the first one around here somewhere. That’s how I learned to make my fresh ferments with salted veggies. I already knew the ethyl spirits methods.




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        2. I’ll eat them in moderation for sure. I make my own kraut and “kimchi”. I just won’t binge on them or make them daily habits. Will review the links above that i have yet to see. (typo in your last link JG)




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    1. The findings are kind of inconsistent, and lumping pickles and fermentation together seems confusing. I know this is simplistic, but fermentation happens effortlessly and has been safely preserving our food for thousands of years and probably much longer, is full of beneficial bacteria and is capable of breaking down undesirable elements. I just can’t believe it’s in the same category as preservative, chemical, and salt laden pickles. (Unless of course they are naturally fermented). Since I started making and adding a variety of fermented foods to my diet, I have noticed dramatic improvements, so I am having a big disconnect with this info.




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      1. Yeah, I skimmed through there and am not interested in animal milk products, thought things would “wrap up” in the summary. And they didn’t. Waste of 4 minutes. Moderation will be my focus with anything “non-stellar” plant foods especially when so tasty as kimchi.




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  3. I take a teaspoon to tablespoon of turmeric a day in self filled caps. I primarily do this for muscle and joint health as I’m 62 and run, weight lift etc. Been doing this for over year and it definatly helps me stay limber and injury free.




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    1. I forgot to mention. I also use black pepper with turmeric. As others have stated in this thread, the black pepper supposedly increases the bioavailability of the turmeric, as well as other spices I consume on a regular basis. Does it really? I don’t know, but the benefits of black pepper come from several sources, so I go with it. With many other all natural foods, I also use Doc Greger’s information about blueberries, cardamom and black pepper for prostate cancer prevention. So far so good, beating the family cancer, thanks Doc!




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      1. Did you know that pumpkin seeds or oil can prevent prostrate cancer. It eliminates a substance called DHT from destroying your testosterone levels. Black pepper can help the body absorb turmeric better. Blueberries are great also for diabetes. Vitamin D supplements can help prevent cancer also.




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  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25040991/?i=6&from=pickled%20vegetables
    This is a study on salt intake and gastric cancer. SAlted meat, pickled vegetable, preserved vegetables, etc. I wonder if it is the high salt in the pickled vegetables that is disease promoting, not the fact that the vegetables are pickled…. They seem like such a good way to get Great probiotics. I just made a salt free sauerkraut that I love, I wonder if it’s okay?




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      1. This is not my recipe, but I cant find out where I got it online… I used mixed leafy greens, like kale, collards, cabbage, and salt free pickling spice for some flavor. Worked well and has kept in the fridge for weeks after done fermenting. Happy experimenting!

        Salt free sauerkraut

        Ingredients 6
        • 3-4 heads of cabbage (I can taste a difference between conventionally grown and organically grown cabbage; the latter typically tastes sweeter meaning it has a higher brick content and, therefore, has more nutrients overall)
        • Approx. 8T of seed mix: celery, dill, caraway
        • Pure water
        • (My addition to this recipe calls for 3-4 organic carrots … to be used in “plugging” the top; more on that below.)

        Directions:

        • Before shredding cabbage, pull off and retain 3-4 of the nicer looking outer leaves; these will be used to “cap off” the top of the jar just before the carrots are used.

        • Chop and pack shredded cabbage in a 1-gallon, glass jar. Chop on a clean cutting board with a stainless steel knife or food processor. Some people like to pound the cabbage and bruise it with some manner of wooden pestle. I pack it tightly, but seldom do the bruising.

        • On top of each 1” layer of cabbage, sprinkle about 1T of whole seeds in between the 1” layers of cabbage. The Balkan recipe Paul Bragg got from the natives there calls for equal amounts of the following seeds: celery, dill, and caraway. Paul taught the seeds could be either ground or left whole. I have tried it both ways and either method works fine. So why do I now leave the seeds whole? Leaving the seeds whole starts the sprouting process in the seeds before they “drown” and die off. (Poor seeds!) But the enzymes which are produced in the sprouting process remain since there is no heat/cooking involved! The sprouting process creates a skyrocketing effect on the level of enzymes in any given seed; this makes an already healthy dish even healthier!

        Continue filling the jar with 1” layers of cabbage topping each layer with about 1T of the seed mixture.

        • Topping off the jar. Most every glass, pickle jar has a small, vertical region which is the same approximate width as the lid. Many will refer to this region as the neck of the jar – this is the part of the jar which juts vertically upward after the jar curves in to go up and meet the lid. This neck is usually about an inch or so tall on most pickle jars. (By the way, I buy pickle jars and toss the pickles just to get the jar for making kraut!) Just where the neck of the jar starts curving outward to the jar’s greatest diameter is where we stop filling with layers of cabbage. It is at this level in the jar (just below the curved lip region) that you should place your whole leaves of cabbage across the top-most layer of shredded cabbage.

        Next, the one or two layers of whole leaves are topped off with carrots (cut carrots in half, lengthwise, and cut off either end so each carrot extends across the top and under the lip on both sides to hold everything down. This usually takes 3-5 carrots, with the one across the middle being the longest. You may have to arch/bend the carrot up in the middle to get it to go under the lip of the jar. This can usually be done without breaking the carrot. The carrots should be about an inch from the very top of the jar; it is important to keep them submerged under water for the duration of your fermenting process!

        • Now fill the jar with water and let it set at about 77 degrees for 7-10 days. The carrots should be anywhere from 1⁄4” to 1” under the surface of the water. Secure a cheesecloth (or washcloth) over the top with a strong rubber band (air needs to get to the mixture to introduce good bacteria). Check in on your fermentation from time to time to make sure the carrots remain under the water (the mixture tends to absorb a lot of water around the fourth/fifth days and you may need to add water once or twice a day during this time). The kraut juice this yields will taste “official” as will your kraut! [Note: for me, eating these seeds with the kraut (once it is done) just ruins the greatly anticipated “kraut taste.” So I rinse the seeds off before eating the kraut. However, the seeds are quite good if used in making sourdough bread!]

        The sky is the limit on this recipe: try carrots, sesame seeds, garlic, onions, broccoli, ginger, lemon juice, dill weed, etc. I have also made it with brown rice, dried corn, wheat berries and rye berries. (The 3 latter grains swell quite a bit and can “push up” the mixture considerably. By the way, in case of overflows, you may wish to set the jar in a flat, glass casserole dish for the duration of the fermentation process!

        Once done, I use the lid which came with the jar and refrigerate the entire gallon. Some people like to pack it into smaller jars before refrigerating. This kraut tastes great on/with salads, brown rice, baked potatoes, and whole wheat toast!

        Variations:

        Many different seeds and seasonings can be placed between layers of cabbage:

        • Seeds: sesame, millet, rye, wheat, brown rice, fennel, corn, spelt, etc.7 My current method is to leave seeds whole so as to begin their sprouting process.

        • Seasoning options: chopped, fresh mint, dill weed, parsley, dandelion greens, and broccoli greens; chopped, fresh onions, ginger, and garlic. Try variations of each one according to your personal favorites! For a twist on the Kraut Recipe give it alemon twist! The juice of one or two lemons will add a nice flavor to the recipe. I am also adding some lemon peel and pulp when organic ones are used.

        • Vegetables for putting between the layers: chopped carrots, beets, and dried, cayenne pepper!




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    1. The American Institute for Cancer Research mentions how salted and smoked fish and picked vegetables contribute to nasopharyngeal and stomach cancer risk. Are kimchi and sauerkraut harmful? Seem a little bit of sauerkraut is okay, and yes I support folks making there own as you are in control of salt. A great review of fermented and picked foods on cancer risk by a dietitian from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, WA., presenting at AICR conference.




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  5. There are a number of items in this presentation that bother me immensely. I HAVE multiple myeloma, so I feel somewhat qualified to comment here.

    1.) What the heck is the initial picture of an individual with hideous marks all over his skin supposed to be? It is most certainly NOT a myeloma patient. Is this just the worst form of sensationalism??

    2.) Due to the development of new treatments over the past decade, the expected survival of people with myeloma has increased dramatically, and due to the hetrogeneity of the disease there is absolutely no way to predict for any individual patient that they “only have four years to live.” I know personally several patients who are 20+ year survivors. These are people who were diagnosed BEFORE the new treatments were available. More sensationalism?

    3.) Most people with MGUS never experience symptoms AND never progress to multiple myloma. Only about 5% over their lifetimes.

    4.) Many doctors are now treating individuals with High Risk Smoldering myeloma before progression to disease.

    5.) NO ONE KNOWS the cause of multiple myeloma. I have been healthy and athletic my whole life. I have had no known exposures to industrial chemicals, pesticides or radiation, and yet I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at 49 (very young for this disease.)

    I do not understand why you would bury the valuable information about curcumin and the value of a vegetarian diet under sensationalist pictures and rhetoric.

    MM Patient Who is Going to LIve WAY Past 4 Years




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    1. Good points and of course you are free to post anything here! Thanks for sharing your story let me see if I can help. The picture is skin legions than may occur with the disease. That is great to hear about survival rates increasing! I am one to believe in positivity and doing everything possible to keep cancer beyond arms reach. The 4 year median life expectancy was quoted in this study. I am not sure the range. I don’t think it’s sensationalism just what we found. Good golly I hope it is much longer and how great your friend is still going strong at 20 years! Points 3-5 are noted and I do not disagree. As a survivor you know way more than most of us and have every right to know about the available research. I don’t think Dr. Greger is burying valuable information, he is just reporting it.




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      1. Skin lesions are NEVER associated with multiple myeloma. NEVER. That is NOT a picture of a myeloma patient. This disease has many many distressing effects on the body but skin lesions are not one of them. EVER. The fact that you flippantly state that “The picture is skin lesions than may occur with the disease,” indicates a level of inaccuracy that I find highly distressing. I will be removing myself from this list and warning all of my fellow patients to stay away.




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        1. You are mistaken. If you would have clicked on the Sources Cited you would have seen that the very first citation is “A case of multiple myeloma presenting as a bullous dermatosis,” which is where the picture is from. You can read the full-text of the article here. As they conclude, “Patients with longstanding, recurrent, unusual bullous eruption should be investigated for the development of multiple myeloma.”




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          1. Still, MM Patient’s main point about the rash stands even though you’re technically correct (and though I appreciate your looking into natural treatments). As a physician myself who accidentally forwarded this page to my father who has MM, I would like an explanation of why you started the video with this scary unusual rash (and ideally would like you to change the image). It would also be nice to have some empathetic response to someone like MM Patient disturbed by your video rather than just saying the person is mistaken about part of their point.

            The full text of the article you refer to itself says “The skin involvement and the development of bullous disease are rarely seen features in multiple myeloma.” You did not include that quote which was from the abstract right near the quote that you took. “Rarely seen.” I sent a still image from your video to physicians I know some of whom are experts in rashes and none of them associated it with MM. If you want to give a visual for people to associate with the illness, you could show the most characteristic findings which would be an xray with lytic bone lesions. When you start a video about a condition with a picture, there’s an assumption that the picture is characteristic of the illness. Why include something that is very rare and scary?

            A colleague who admires your work sent me info on curcumin crediting it as from your website. I excitedly searched MEDLINE for original papers and forwarded the helpful info my colleague sent along with the papers to my father, not knowing the info contained a link to this scary video. How sad I was to realize that I sent him this scary picture soon after he was diagnosed with such a scary disease. An image in someone’s mind can not be taken back.




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    2. I agree great points. Although I have MGUS and appreciated this information I was taken back by the photo and have never heard of any patient with MM that had these lesions. Thanks for your comments.




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  6. A personal account. About 10 years ago my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. It was advanced enough that the University of Utah was offering stem cell transplant therapy. It was declined and my mom went with some conventional therapy. She was told at that time she would have about 5 years to live. I encouraged her to move toward a whole food plant based diet. She did. My mom passed away this last year, 10 years after her multiple myeloma diagnosis, with no lab work or clinical signs of multiple myeloma. She followed up at the Huntsman Cancer facility a couple of years ago and told her physicians what she had done and how she felt. They of course laughed at the thought that diet had any connection and she was in “remission”. I eventually sent a copy of the British Medical Journal article that Dr. Greger referenced in his original presentation of MM. There are two conclusions: We can’t totally appreciate the wonderful effects both known and unknown that plants have on our body. And the medical community continues to deny anything like whole food plant based diet strategy. Hopefully the medical establishment will become more engaged in the future. I love these videos and am thankful for all the many hours of effort that go into them. Thanks to you all.




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    1. Very well said. Thank you so much for sharing. I live near the Huntsman Cancer Center. I hope one day oncologists will explore the power of nutrition and exercise (lifestyle medicine). Already we are seeing Integrative Medicine Programs pop-up at major Cancer Institutes. My hope is this trend continues and we find better ways to treat cancer and of course make better efforts to push prevention.




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      1. Wow, Joseph, I didn’t know that you live in Salt Lake City – UNTIL NOW! (pun intended) I live about six miles from U. of Utah.




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    2. Hi Craig, it’s interesting that you sent a British medical journal article to make your point. Our medical people here in the UK, on the whole, are all members of the Laugh-A-Lot club when it comes to supplementation (like curcumin and berries) as prevention and cure. They are firm believers in drugs, drugs, drugs! Supplementations are for la-la people, somewhere away with the fairies.




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      1. I actually think that your “medical people” are not so unique sadly. I have had numerous experiences with the medical community and their blindness to lifestyle. I was at one time voted a “Health Hero” in my community for all I had done for our South Central Health District. I was asked to speak to a group of diabetics. When I gave them my intent to discuss Dr. Neal Barnard’s book on reversing diabetes with a whole food plant based diet they suddenly had to do construction on their building. After having spent many years involved with our health district, I am now considered off limits. I actually try to be diplomatic with people but the message is a challenge. I might add that I am in an area strong in cattlemen and dairy. Maybe one day the medical community in the UK and USA will get it. As one last comment, my son is going through his last year of medical residency in internal medicine. I have asked him if he has ever had education with regards to nutrition involving whole foods plant based diet. Not at Ohio State University. Change will come but I am certain that it will come from a select group of physicians.




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    1. I think they can mean the same thing when regarding sauerkraut, pickles or kimchi. Probiotics and fermented foods like yogurt, tempeh and miso are not salted/pickled. Yes, some fermented foods can be beneficial, but boosting good bacteria can be done by just eating fiber.




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    1. Hi Joseph, our Indian friends tell us that Turmeric and black pepper must be fried together in a little clarified butter to activate the health giving compounds? Most of our friends are vegetarian though and not vegan but they insist that this step must be done. Do you know anything about this please?




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  7. To all who use turmeric straight as a spice. Some research suggests that it has low bioavailability [absorption]. I remember seeing an article that indicated BLACK PEPPER increases the bioavailability by several orders of magnitude [100x? or 1,000x]. So my wife and I add a smaller amt of black pepper to our food when we add turmeric. I do it in an approximate ratio of 4 or 5 to 1.




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  8. The pickle problem seems rather suspicious.
    1) The correlation is not consistent. With non-pickle eaters set at baseline risk, 1-3 pickle dishes per month decreases risk, 1-2 per week cuts risk in half!, 3+ per week suddenly more than doubles risk. They do not report the statistical significance of the adjusted odds ratio data.
    2) The confidence interval is very wide, suggesting the issue is more complicated than they could see from their investigation (probably why they refused to list statistical significance)
    3) They dont specify just what brined vegetables people were eating, I remember one study where mouth and throat or stomach cancer rates increased with pickle consumption in japan. The people were eating extremely salty brined fiddlehead ferns, which contain a known carcinogen. The intense salt damaged the flesh letting the carcinogen in. The chinese also eat unwise things like fiddleheads and heavily salted meats. Moreover, more people are eating pickles from stores which contain cancer causing preservatives and can even be dipped in bleach.

    Hopefully investigators will soon look more closely to see why pickles are inconsistently linked to cancer throughout asia.




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  9. I have MGUS and have been taking Curcumin for the past 3 years. I take Doctors Best 1000 MG and so far thank God I have not a trace of MM. If anyone else has MGUS or can add to what I am taking please respond or contact me.




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  10. I’m getting dizzy trying to sort out the differences between turmeric, curcumin. turmeric curcumin, and curry. I get that curry is made from turmeric and/ or curcumin (are they the same thing?), but other than on this site, it seems rare that people use turmeric or curcumin as a spice. More likely a supplement. Is this perception accurate?

    The more I research this the greater my confusion. Like Alice, I am finding this curiouser and curiouser. I’d be grateful if someone would explain this Indian spice family.




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    1. Turmeric is a spice that is a primary ingredient in curry. Curcumin is a particular chemical compound found in turmeric and is responsible for the intense yellow color of turmeric. Curcumin is believed to be the active element of turmeric that is responsible (or at least primarily responsible) for the pharmacological effects of turmeric. I, however, am skeptical that curcumin is the only active ingredient. As we have seen so many times with other foods, the whole is usually greater than the sum of its parts and certainly much greater than a single ingredient. So I would include turmeric in my diet and skip the isolated curcumin that is available in pill form (for of course a tremendous mark up in price)

      You can get a lot more curcumin in a pill than you could probably get just by eating foods containing turmeric. But like so much else it isn’t always the case that if some is good, more is better. So unless you are trying to get a specific high therapeutic dosage of curcumin targeted at a specific condition or disease with the guidance of your doctor or at least based on clinical trials published in the peer reviewed literature that says curcumin at a specific dosage is effective for the condition you are trying to treat, I would steer clear of high levels of curcumin. It is true that populations have been consuming curcumin for millennia, but only as a part of the whole spice turmeric and only at relatively low dosage levels.

      Dr. Greger has many videos here on turmeric. I highly suggest you check them out.




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      1. Thanks for your very clear explanation. I have watched a number of Dr. Greger’s videos on this trio (curcumin, turmeric & curry). Those videos are largely what motivated me to pose the question.

        I enjoy curry frequently, though certainly not daily, and am hoping that my body gets some benefits from that spice.




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        1. JCarol: If you eat rice a lot and use a rice cooker to cook it, a simple way to increase the turmeric consumption is to add a half a teaspoonful to the rice before cooking. A soon as the rice cooker turns itself off, stir the rice very well because during cooking the turmeric settles to the bottom. (Where I come from there’s a rice dish called yellow rice, which requires other ingredients as well.)




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    2. Turmeric is mildly bitter and rounds out the other not-sharp spices in curry powder: cumin coriander and fenugreek. Add in the spicy-spices to taste of clove cinnamon ginger cardamon chilies mustard-seed to individual heat-comfort level. Many other herbs/seeds/fruits are ingredients to various curries powders.

      For western dishes, anything I add paprika to can also get a shake of turmeric. Many saffron dishes are actually… you got it.




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    3. To add to Jim’s excellent reply, here’s the “in a nutshell” version. Curry is a spice blend, consisting of turmeric and other spices. Tumeric can be purchased dry (in spice department) or fresh (in produce department). It’s a root that looks like tiny fresh ginger. Curcumin is one of the active ingredients in turmeric that is getting loads of attention in the medical literature.

      Turmeric is used widely in Indian cooking, but turmeric supplements are available. Curcumin supplements are also available.




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      1. Hmmm…. I think I’ll dip my toe into the turmeric spice water to see how I like it.

        Supplements don’t generally interest me (with the exception of D3 & B12). It doesn’t seem the case for curcumin supplements is all that compelling, particularly if curry is already part of one’s diet.




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  11. My lovely wife came up with a great way to get some turmeric everyday. She puts about 1/4 tsp of turmeric in a glass with shake or two of cardamom, nutmeg, ground cloves and black pepper, with a little cinnamon sometimes and whisks it with 4-5 oz of vanilla flavored plant milk. The best part is that I think it actually tastes really good. The results somehow remind me of eggnog, and it isn’t just the nutmeg.




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    1. I do something similar with my coffee. Since I won’t give it up that one morning ritual, I figure might as well make it good for me in some respect! I’ve been doing this so long that “normal” coffee tastes boring! I made up a powder with turmeric and my favorite spices, with the inclusion of pepper for it’s kick and to potentiate the turmeric, and add a spoonful to my coffee before adding soy or almond milk. It does leave a weird sludge at the bottom of the cup. so I’ve thought of straining it, but what the heck, I just mix and slug it and utilize the whole “medicinal” effect!




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    1. Genetics predisposes some groups to a higher incidence.
      It was mentioned that african americans are more prone to it, they mostly got to america from tropical africa- the area on that map thats bad.
      A similar genetic predisposition may be found in iraqis.




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  12. Among the thousands of studies cited on Pub Med, including those referenced in this video, a curcumin extract, not whole turmeric, was virtually always used. In the study cited by Dr. Greger they used Curcumin C3, an extract patented and produced by Sabinsa. Feel free to sprinkle a bit of turmeric and pepper on your veggies. As for me, i would rather, to paraphrase Dr. G., “do what the science says,” and ingest a product with proven efficacy and safety. I take CurQfen, curcumin combined with Fenugreek fiber to form a controlled released, highly bioavailable “fancy pill.”




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  13. My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Myleoma. She was in terrible pain 24/7. No pain medication that her doctors prescribed could touch that pain. She died a long, drawn out, agonizing death.
    She was not a vegetarian, she ate chicken, beef, pork, fish. She also ate vegetables, spinach, carrots, beets,
    brussel sprouts, broccoli. She juiced fruits and vegetables and did that everyday.
    But the Multiple Myleoma was a nightmare, she suffered a great deal.
    Doctors did everything they could to help, but nothing they did alleviated that pain.




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    1. Wow. What a story. You’re poor mother :( so unfortunate she experienced so much pain. Thanks for sharing, Gadae. Hopefully the more the medical communities know about diet and lifestyle the better they can help those with MM, or better yet, prevent it in the first place.




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      1. My mother felt back pain and she went to her HIP doctor.
        He insisted that the pain was due to bone thinning/osteoporosis and prescribed extra strength tylenol. My mother was a retired city worker,
        had been a supervisor for 20 plus years and knew how to express herself. But she couldn’t get past this HIP doctor. I went with her to the next appointment, because she was in pain and he wasn’t helping. He had a pissed off look on his face and repeated the same thing. to take extra strength tylenol. We went to McDonald’s and she could not get up from the chair, without a lot of pain. So I asked the manager to call an ambulance , she was taken to Bellevue Hospital in NYC, she could not walk the 5 blocks. Bellevue hospital did a test, where they put a needle in her bone, I think and extracted some material. It was NYC Bellevue Hospital that found the Multiple Myleoma. That was May of 1990. She died December of 1992. Every second was in terrible pain, there was nothing to combat this pain, nothing that the NYC Beth Israel doctors prescribed, ever dealt with this horrible pain. She died in agony, couldn’t stand for me to comb her hair, or give her a sponge bath, anything caused pain. Her temperature fluctuated from hot to cold, so in the middle of winter, I sometimes had to be on the air conditioner. The doctors in NYC Bellevue hospital and Beth Israel Hospice did try very hard to help my mother, but nothing could touch that pain. It was horrible.




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      2. It’s a true story, and yes she did suffer a great deal.
        My mother would get up in the early am and go to the Farmer’s Market, I would go with her. She bought vegetables and fruits and juiced them.
        She was into Indian spices, sprinkled Tumeric on everything. There was a guy Gary Null that had a radio show on nutrition, she listen to him. Dumped the sugar, salt and White rice. And broiled everything,
        she did eat meat. But did stop frying.
        My grandmother, her mother was into white rice,
        beans, fried everything, pork chops, chicken, steak, etc. I never saw my grandmother eat or serve spinach, celery, carrots, etc. She did make a salad
        of avocado, tomato, lettuces, but that was it. My mother was completely different, to the point that my grandmother and my aunts didn’t like to eat dinner in my mom’s home, because she did not use sugar, salt, or fry anything.It became an issue. My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Myleoma in 5/1990 and died 12/1992. She lasted a year longer than the doctors gave her.




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        1. Gadea: The inadequacies of current medical knowledge we must live with, but the wilful ignorance and lack of respect and attention of some medical practitioners is a great affront and that grievous wound persists, does it not? I am reminded. I am sorry for your mother’s pain and your grief.




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          1. She didn’t go to quacks, she went to medical doctors in hospitals such as NYC Bellevue, that first diagnosed Multiple Myeloma. After that she was treated at NYC Beth Israel for it.
            My supervisor’s wife, age 44 came down with the same disease and died in months. She couldn’t stand the pain.
            My mother did change her diet drastically, way before she was diagnosed with MM. She juiced Spinach, broccoli, Dandelion Root,
            Swiss Chard, watercress, beets, ginger, lemon, apples and put that in glass mason jars. The pulp, she didn’t throw it out, she added the pulp.
            She ate that everyday and gave it to us as well.
            I mean, it caused a rift in our family, because she refused to cook pernil, which is roasted pork butt, she just refused. She threw out all the sugar, salt and read labels. None of that helped her, she died in agony, every single day was extremely painful. Nothing helped, nothing. Thank you for your kind words.




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      3. I truly hope you can really help people with MM at least blunt some of the terrible symptoms of MM, especially that excruiating pain, alleviate their suffering.




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  14. We take curcumin as a supplement in capsule form with added black pepper compounds. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere on this site that that would be safe? Is it Joseph?




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    1. According to the studies featured it appears safe and effective. There are some folks who need to consider taking it. Dr. Greger’s video on Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric covers this nicely. I am not sure what supplement is best. I suggest in general using black pepper and turmeric in dishes and as a spice rather than taking supplements.




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  15. My mother in law died in great pain from multiple myeloma. Her mother used to boast that as a small baby she used watered down condensed milk to feed her instead of breast or formula. I’ve always wondered if there could be a link. I’d be interested in any pointers to evidence linking childhood diets.




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    1. Thanks for sharing, Jo. I have not heard about childhood diet and MM risk. I looked up a few studies and nothing was available. I think it’s important to consider how our eating patterns as children translate to disease risk as adults. Especially once we start having kids, as research in epigenetics suggests that what our grandparents ate can impact their kids, and even grandkids.




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    1. Well, keep in mind the studies lumped together all pickled veggies. I wouldn’t ditch the homemade picked beets just yet :) Please see my comment below.




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  16. I’ve been making big batches of green fruity smoothies in my high speed blender to savor all week. Today I used 1 cup fresh mixed fruit (melon, pineapple, strawberries), 2 cups red seedless grapes, a frozen banana, large “thumb” fresh ginger, juice of one lime, 2 cups power greens (baby kale, spinach and chard), generous spoon of turmeric, couple good shakes of cayenne, 1/2 cup tart cherry juice, and water, plus about 8 ice cubes. Amazing! It’s naturally concentrated so I pour about a cup into a glass and add cold water for a refreshing and healthy breakfast!




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  17. The end of this video
    states that eating pickled vegetables increases
    risk of multiple myeloma, but the gut microbe folks say we should eat brined pickled vegetables like kim-chee, etc. I
    am so confused. HELP!!!!




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  18. Does you think the pickling find is due to the fact of that sugar is added to the pickling juice? Because I thought the vinegar was healthy for us..




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  19. I am giving it to my kitty cat who may or may not have pancreatic cancer. He is doing amazingly well! My Vets had written him off. I put it on his food and add fish oil. So pleased!




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  20. Is fresh turmeric as effective as dried? I eat fresh in my stir fry along with fresh garlic and ginger practically every day. How much fresh turmeric is needed to be effective?




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  21. I can give up meat, dairy and eggs but not pickles! Anything but my Lebanese super-salty pickles! What will I put with tahini, mint and tomato if not them?




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  22. I read at Green Med Info (i think) about all the thousands of studies on turmeric and started my family on UKON organic turmeric. We’ve been taking it for about 5 years now. Seems like the one thing you should be taking if you aren’t taking anything else for sure.




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  23. In the video Dr Greger states that brined vegetables increased the risk of Multiple Myeloma. I have recently been fermitting vegetables at home thinking this has good health benefits. Are fermitted vegetables something to avoid?




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  24. Regarding diagnosis of MGUS and MM, can serum free light chains fluctuate in and out of normal range? I was tested recently and my Kappa/Lambda free light chain ratio was slightly out of the high end of the range (1.87, normal range is 0.26 to 1.65) and my doctor was quick to diagnose MGUS. No monoclonal proteins were found in blood or urine.

    Regardless, I am a vegan who is going to start taking curcumin and pepper.




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  25. Would this supplement be okhttps://www.amazon.it/Doctors-Best-Curcumin-BioPerine-Capsules/dp/B000BD0RQS/ref=sr_1_2?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1479463791&sr=1-2&keywords=curcumina+c3+complex#immersive-view_1480794619250 to take for someone who has MGUS? How many pills daily though?




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    1. Hi Bat – Unfortunately, I can’t speak to the safety or effectiveness of this supplement. I would recommend sticking to turmeric root or turmeric powder. Dr. Greger recommends ¼ teaspoon of dried turmeric daily as part of his Daily Dozen. This amount is equivalent to about a quarter inch of fresh turmeric root.




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  26. Sorry, I’m unable to read through every post, my level of anxiety is preventing me at the present. Is there anyone out the that can help me with regard to the “dosage” recommended for curcumin with regard to battling myeloma?




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  27. I have read Dr. Greger’s book and am confused whether my brother should take turmeric or curcumin for smoldering multiple myeloma.
    Is there enough curcumin in 1/4 tsp turmeric to reap the benefits ?
    He also has sarcoidosis. Any thoughts on this appreciated.




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