Turmeric or Curcumin: Plants vs. Pills

Turmeric or Curcumin: Plants vs. Pills
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Curcumin-free turmeric, from which the so-called active ingredient has been removed, may be as effective or even more potent.

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Supplement manufacturers often fall into the same reductionist trap as the drug companies. Herbs are assumed to have only one main active ingredient; and so, if you can isolate it and purify it into a pill, the thinking goes, you can boost the effects. Curcumin is described as the active ingredient in turmeric, but is it the active ingredient or just an active ingredient? It’s just one of many different components of the whole food spice.

Only limited studies have compared the potential of turmeric with curcumin, but some suggest turmeric, the whole food, may work even better, and not just against colon cancer cells. This group of researchers at the Anderson Cancer Center in Texas pitted curcumin against seven different types of human cancer cells. And also, turmeric.

Curcumin kicks butt against breast cancer cells, but turmeric, the whole food, kicks even more butt. Curcumin against pancreatic cancer; turmeric against pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, myelogenous leukemia, and more colorectal cancer. They found that turmeric was more potent compared to curcumin, suggesting that components other than curcumin can also contribute to anti-cancer activities.

Most clinical studies treating diseases in people have used curcumin supplements, as opposed to turmeric. But none have tried using turmeric components other than curcumin. But see, even curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities.

Although curcumin is believed to account for most activities of turmeric, research over the past decade has indicated that curcumin-free turmeric—turmeric with the so-called active ingredient removed—is as effective as, or even more effective than, curcumin-containing turmeric. There are turmerones, for example, in turmeric, but processed out of curcumin supplements, which may exhibit both anticancer activities as well as anti-inflammatory activities. So, I assumed this review would conclude, let’s give people turmeric; but instead, they were like, let’s make all sorts of different turmeric-derived supplements!

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.

Image thanks to melpomen via 123rf

Supplement manufacturers often fall into the same reductionist trap as the drug companies. Herbs are assumed to have only one main active ingredient; and so, if you can isolate it and purify it into a pill, the thinking goes, you can boost the effects. Curcumin is described as the active ingredient in turmeric, but is it the active ingredient or just an active ingredient? It’s just one of many different components of the whole food spice.

Only limited studies have compared the potential of turmeric with curcumin, but some suggest turmeric, the whole food, may work even better, and not just against colon cancer cells. This group of researchers at the Anderson Cancer Center in Texas pitted curcumin against seven different types of human cancer cells. And also, turmeric.

Curcumin kicks butt against breast cancer cells, but turmeric, the whole food, kicks even more butt. Curcumin against pancreatic cancer; turmeric against pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, myelogenous leukemia, and more colorectal cancer. They found that turmeric was more potent compared to curcumin, suggesting that components other than curcumin can also contribute to anti-cancer activities.

Most clinical studies treating diseases in people have used curcumin supplements, as opposed to turmeric. But none have tried using turmeric components other than curcumin. But see, even curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities.

Although curcumin is believed to account for most activities of turmeric, research over the past decade has indicated that curcumin-free turmeric—turmeric with the so-called active ingredient removed—is as effective as, or even more effective than, curcumin-containing turmeric. There are turmerones, for example, in turmeric, but processed out of curcumin supplements, which may exhibit both anticancer activities as well as anti-inflammatory activities. So, I assumed this review would conclude, let’s give people turmeric; but instead, they were like, let’s make all sorts of different turmeric-derived supplements!

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.

Image thanks to melpomen via 123rf

Doctor's Note

That’s quite a rebut to reductionism. For more on this flawed nutritional philosophy, see my video Reductionism and the Deficiency Mentality.

Similar videos in this vein include:

Interested in learning more about turmeric and cancer? See:

And for more on turmeric and everything else:

For all our videos on the latest research on turmeric, visit our Turmeric topic page.

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

UPDATE: Note the study at 1:03 has been retracted . Thanks to numerous commenters below for noting that!

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