Sunday, 11 March 2012

Research: Turmeric and Treatment

Epub: Kanakasabai et al. Differential regulation of CD4(+) T helper cell responses by curcumin in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Nutr Biochem. 2012 Mar 6. 

Nutraceuticals and phytochemicals are important regulators of human health and diseases. Curcumin is a polyphenolic phytochemical isolated from the rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa (turmeric) that has been traditionally used for the treatment of inflammation and wound healing for centuries. Systematic analyses have shown that curcumin exerts its beneficial effects through antioxidant, anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties. We and others have shown earlier that curcumin ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model for multiple sclerosis. In this study, we show that C57BL/6 mice induced to develop EAE express elevated levels of interferon (IFN) γ and interleukin (IL)-17 in the central nervous system (CNS) and lymphoid organs that decreased significantly following in vivo treatment with curcumin. The EAE mice also showed elevated expression of IL-12 and IL-23 that decreased after treatment with curcumin. Ex vivo and in vitro treatment with curcumin resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in the secretion of IFNγ, IL-17, IL-12 and IL-23 in culture. The inhibition of EAE by curcumin was also associated with an up-regulation of IL-10, peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ and CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells in the CNS and lymphoid organs. These findings highlight that curcumin differentially regulates CD4(+) T helper cell responses in EAE.





One of our MS Bloggers had given us a tip about tumeric and MS, and MD2 has been looking into this. So it appears that great minds think alike and other people were on the case and seeing if tumeric could have some influence on neuroinflammatory disease.


This study indicates that it inhibits the generation of the growth factors required for white blood cell development. However, as with all these nutriceutical results it is a question of dose in animals and human appropriate doses because if you give enough brick dust to animals it will stop their MS-like disease. More importantly, as the probem is what do you do with this information? Who is going to fund a study of MS and tumeric?...Swartz.


As there is nothing to be made for such observations, it is unlikely that the drug will get developed. Do people/cultures that use Tumeric get less MS?

29 comments:

  1. Funny,
    I tend to approach dilemas such as these in a totally different manner:

    There is some evidence that Tumeric may help mice with EAE.
    What if I - with RRMS - make myself a fresh ginger garlic tumeric paste to eat daily with toast.
    It may not help but it is dead cheap and will not harme.

    Isn't the question in the above: what are the risk of a 50 g intake of daily fresh tumeric -say on kidney or liver?

    i.e. what is the medical cost (as expressed in risk factors) to continue the regimen state above?


    Lots of variables (funding, patents...) make it such as no trials will be done for 20 years. but why don't we look at risks in these things instead of benefits?

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  2. I'm from an Indian household where Tumeric was used everyday in meals, a lot.

    Still got MS though.

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  3. In my part of India we add turmeric to almost every dish. Not sure why, it doesn't add anything to the taste. We use the dry powdered form (yellow powder) in small quantities. 50 gms would last my family a week.

    There is less MS in India but it doesn't feel that way to me, because the extended family has at least 3 cases (related only by marriage, no common genes).

    Maybe fresh turmeric is more helpful than the dry powder. A neurologist once advised drinking a decoction of fresh turmeric every day. I've been too lazy to make it regularly.
    But I try to keep fresh ginger-garlic-turmeric paste ready for use in cooking. Earlier it used to be just ginger-garlic. Now I add fresh turmeric too.

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  4. Re: " A neurologist once advised drinking a decoction of fresh turmeric every day."

    This is not evidence-based; there are no randomised placebo-controlled trials.

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  5. Again G: where is the harm?

    To the Indian fellows: no one said cur cumin is a vaccine against MS?
    we are talking about marginal help here.

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  6. Marginal help with what? What sort of improvement do you expect?

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  7. Re; "where is the harm?"

    That is the problem; until you do a trial you will not what the harm is. Something that seems harmless may turn out to be the opposite. To say something is harmless requires a placebo-controlled clinical trial. This includes vitamin supplements.

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  8. How does that work G:

    Curcumin is a gastronomical staple for a third of people on this planet.

    Why would you need to run a trial to assess its risk?

    in that logic, does chikita need to run a trial on bananas before selling us any?

    We are not talking about overdose here - just 50gms a day.

    one has to differentiate between theoretical risk and clinical risk...

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  9. (This is Anonymous 6.29 again)
    I use turmeric every day and would call 50 gms an overdose. It is much more than anybody uses as a matter of course.

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  10. Re: "one has to differentiate between theoretical risk and clinical risk..."

    I don't make the rules; you need to ask the EMA and FDA about this issue. The lack or absence of evidence doesn't mean that something is safe.

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    1. Lol! The FDA? If it is up to them , we will never find a cure.

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    2. And those who cannot receive any care in the US. My healthcare was just cancelled, and I am unable to receive MS care.

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  11. Gavin doesn't understand that when you have an incurable degenerative illness it changes the kinds of risks you are prepared to take. If something looks reasonably safe (for example, because millions of people eat it daily) and might really help I'd be more than willing to risk an adverse effect. You have to balance the risks of a new and untried treatment against the risks of doing nothing... Those of us with MS don't have time to wait for clinical trials.

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  12. Thank you "AnonymousSaturday, September 15, 2012 4:38:00 PM"...we who have ms don't have the time to wait for the trials on something like turmeric, pharmaceuticals on the other hand, yes, we need to wait for trials cuz those are truly risky. as far as those who say they eat turmeric and dont have nuthing to show cuz they still got ms, well, yes, that is a bit discouraging, but then again, how about taking turmeric on a regular basis, meaning daily twice or thrice a day, such as a paste, because the pharma meds they give are done in that manner, some daily, some weekly, and so on. i wouldn't suggest to try and replace modern meds with turmeric, but as mentioned before, any kind of marginal help is welcome.

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    1. Our research Dean is into Tumeric but as ever no real evidence base for nutricueticals. Again we need some mechanism to deal with this. It may be great or just another reason to go to H&B or Sainsbury's/Tesco etc.

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  13. So true. My 12/2012 MRI demonstrated this by having a decrease in size of a lesion. And this was without any MS medications. I have been on an organic diet with everything possible.

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  14. I don't want to start a flame war or anything, but I have been taking turmeric ever since I was 4 years old. One teaspoon in the morning and evening. It was given as a remedy for colds (i used to get cold and throat infection constantly - don't have my tonsils out). After I started on it, I never needed to have my tonsils out. Tonsillitis stopped. I am on the same diet, still.

    Just like anything else, Turmeric will interact with what you eat and drink afterwards and before you take it. There is no way around it, your body is a chemistry lab. What you ingest, has to be broken down before it can be used.
    Best advice - When you take it, make sure you do not eat anything before 1 hour and anything after 1 hour of taking turmeric. Water is good and find but nothing else.

    I guess, the only reason I put this out there, is because I wanted people to know that taking it more than few teaspoons, does not hurt it. But then, please also know that too much of anything is bad.

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  15. I have had ms since February 1993. I have gone though the inject able drugs and right now I am on Tysabri. I am doing quite well with it but I can't help thinking that there is something that may help me better. This drug is keeping me from having another "attack" but there are days I feel as if I am on borrowed time. I am so hoping for a mri that says my lesions are shrinking but after being on this for 30 months I have not heard that! This treatment is the best think I have been on yet but with all the super bugs around I am scared to be out in public! I have no immune system. I guess I will stil take it one day at a time!

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  16. My 35 year old son was diagnosed with MS. As I read the different opinions on whether to use a spice as a possible help, I am dumbfounded that anyone would argue the point. The FDA allows Copaxone, with possible horrific side effects...Campeth, with more possible hoffific side effects....Numerous Antidepressants, with possible horrific side effects....plus in the U.S.A. It is LEGAL to smoke and drink alcohol, which both can destroy the human body. And yet, there we argue over a spice that might help MS symptoms and give a person a little better quality in life! I have also witnessed doctors in different fields that are so biased and closed-minded to different treatments that it is mind-boggling. Example.....having CCSVI procedure is considered voodoo my most neurologists, even when it helps the patient! Do I believe in medical guidelines? Yes....but there is far too much arrogance...unwillingness to think out of box....Big Pharma Lobbying....and Insurance Lobbying going on in our country. If all of the doctors and all of the CEOs and Board Members of the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies and all of the members of the FDA developed Multiple Sclerosis, we would see a totally different way of carryying on the business at hand, concerning this disease.

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    1. We argue over a spice because we ask where is the evidence? For the drugs with the so called horrific side effects (I am sure the manufacturers would argue that they are not horrific) there is an evidence-base.

      Having the CCSVI procedure is not voodoo, but at present there is no class I evidence to say that it is worthwhile..non to say it is not either...but at present if you take a step back and look at the evidence accumulating then the there is a question mark over this whole area.

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    2. "For the drugs with the so called horrific side effects".... Have you ever used any of the drugs typically prescribed for MS? I have and YES..the side effects can and should be classified as horrific. Of course the drug companies won't say they are! Been there, done that and for anyone who hasn't had to inject them in to their bodies and deal with the side effects to make such a statement only shows your ignorance on the topic.

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    3. I love your comment!!... 4 years ago I thought I was having a stroke, after a few days in hospital, was diagnosed with MS- left me paralysed on one side! I take Copaxone, and recently started taking Tumeric. I also take bee pollen (pure form) and of course Vitamin D (5000ui daily!)
      Most doctors will try to put you on anti depressants, and all kinds of drugs for this pain, or that sleep disorder, etc, etc!
      I can say the more natural approaches have been proving me better results...WITH NO SIDE EFFECTS!
      Sometimes going back in history to see what worked back then....does work!
      Happy to say that with doing this research, I may be in better health today, then BEFORE I was diagnosed-(still some numbness & tingling at times, but no paralysis!
      If it worked for your granny, and they lived to be darn near 90+, then why shouldn't it work for you?....and I'm 37 yrs old!

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  17. Mouse Doctor....in my opinion that is a very narrow-minded answer for such a disease that causes such human suffering.

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    1. All I am saying is the evidence to support these treatment options is not as good as it needs to be.

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  18. Two days ago I bought some Turmeric capsuls for myself based on Michael Cains recomendation for alziemers (I'm 71)I also gave them to my wife who has secondary Progresive MS, not realising that they might help the MS as well. Obviously it's very early days but last night when I normally have to help her to go to the loo she had the energy to go herself and actually stood up on her own for the first time in over a year.

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    1. what is the name of the capsules and where did you buy them and how did you determine the dose to take?

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  19. Well..I'm going to try it for my daughter, 26. She had no insurance now and has been dealing with numbness in the legs which has never happened in the past. I'll provide an update in a few days PB from IL

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  20. I enjoy reading all your comments on the possible benefits of turmeric used in treatment of ms. I have just started taking 1/2 tsp a day and plan to increase or look into the pills. I was on Tysabri for 6 monthes and had to go off it due to JCV virus. I have been injecting myself with Avonex for about 3 monthes. Not enjoying the side effects such as extreme joint and muscle pain, not to mention it does not help any symptoms, yes, I will try any option that may help me. It has been less than a year since my diagnosis. My symptoms started two days after a routine flu shot.

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  21. I was diagnosed 12 years ago & had a severe reaction to Methyl Predlisone, Completely paralysed on the left side for 3 months. Never went near conventional MS treatments since.I was lucky (blessed) to find out that genuine Traditional Chinese Acupuncture & herbal medicine combined with a strict diet has taken me back to walking, with only 3 flare ups since. Acupuncture is highly undervalued by western medicine & the so called experts.

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