Research suggests combining DHA and Curcumin for a Highly Effective Natural Cancer Treatment
Researchers at the Methodist Research Institute in Indiana have shown a potential new natural cancer treatment for breast cancers: curcumin combined with DHA.
We have previously reported the beneficial effects of curcumin on cancer, as well as the benefits of fish oil for both treating and preventing cancer. Now, researchers have gone one step further to show that the effects of curcumin (a compound found in the popular curry spice turmeric) and DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil), have synergistic effects when used together.
Researchers used five different breast cancer cell lines to study the effects of DHA and curcumin on the multiplication of cancer cells.
The diagnosis of breast cancer can be used for any number of cancer cell types that have gone rogue within breast tissue. The genetic identity of those cancer cells can vary widely. Therefore, it is common for scientists to study several forms of breast cancer in order to better understand which effects can be generalized to all breast cancers, and which are specific to a particular cancer subtype.
In this study, DHA alone, and curcumin alone slowed the growth of all breast cancer cell types.
When DHA and curcumin were applied in combination to breast cancer cells, four of the cell types multiplied at a rate that would be expected based on the results from DHA and curcumin alone.
However, the proliferation of one breast cancer subtype was dramatically decreased to an even greater extent when curcumin and DHA were applied together.
The effects of curcumin and DHA seemed to be mediated by an increase in programmed cell death in cancer cells (otherwise known as apoptosis). DHA also increased the amount of curcumin that was transported into the more susceptible cells.
Researchers looked at the genetic activity of the cancer cells in response to curcimin and DHA and found that a unique set of genes were activated in that one particular cell line when it was treated with the two compounds together. In contrast, those genes were not activated by either compound alone, or in cell lines that did not show the synergistic response.
Breast cancer cell proliferation was cut by half with concentrations of curcumin and DHA that are physiologically feasible through nutritional supplements.
More studies in animals and in a clinical setting will be required to establish the effectiveness of curcumin with DHA as a natural cancer treatment, and the appropriate dosage.
This study highlights the importance of developing molecular and/or genetic profiling of cancer cells in order to individualize and maximize treatments.
This study also highlights the potential for natural cancer treatment. Nutritional supplements offer the benefits of being inexpensive and highly accessible, and they come with few negative side-effects.
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