The dark side of curcumin

Alzheimer's, cardiovascular, and other chronic diseases; biomarkers, lifestyle, supplements, drugs, and health care.
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Julie G
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:36 pm

Re: The dark side of curcumin

Postby Julie G » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:07 pm

LOL :D I'll play devil's advocate and share my anecdotal tale (N=1) of curcumin.

Several years ago, I was very ill with mast cell activation (MCA.) Cognitive decline was a part of my presentation. Others in the mast cell community were touting the amazing benefits of curcumin. Apparently, it greatly improved symptoms and provided relief from pain, fatigue, and cognitive decline. I gave it a whirl (had a few setbacks/allergic reactions with various brands) but eventually experienced PROFOUND relief from my symptoms. Widespread pain evaporated, fatigue lifted, my cognition cleared. I had no sense of being depressed before, but in retrospect I felt as if I were taking a powerful antidepressant. MCA is basically a non-IgE mediated systemic "allergic" response- INFLAMMATION plays a huge role. Curcumin targets inflammation. I would go so far as to say that no other supplement (before or since) has had as profound an impact on my symptoms than curcumin.

I carry a homozygous MAO-A mutation in my methylation. I'm very hesitant to blindly trust methylation advice, even provided by "experts." I'm also supposed to avoid sulphur containing foods. My diet is rich in many healthful colorful, sulfurous vegetables like broccoli, green & red cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, etc. and I feel great. Our understanding of tampering with methylation is still very new and unproven. N=1 trumps everything for me.

Here's some information regarding safety:
Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials.

Here's some advice specifically for E4 carriers that I follow daily. I take my DHA and bio-available curcumin (750mg) on an empty stomach prior to exercise. The combination of all 3 boosts BDNF.

Mary S. Easton UCLA Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Should I take DHA and curcumin together if I know I have the ApoE4 allele, making me at risk for Alzheimers? What form of DHA and how much?

Again clinical studies are necessary. Data suggest that subjects with E4 do not respond to DHA, which may be due to oxidation. It is possible that Curcumin or other antioxidants may enable ApoE4 to respond to DHA. A combination of pure DHA with fish oil would achieve a higher DHA to EPA ratio to avoid EPA competing for DHA incorporation into neuron membranes. The rationale for combining fish oil and DHA is that fish oil contains EPA, which may reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.

600-900 mg of DHA is recommended. Higher doses were used in the trial but there is saturation at 900 mg/day. One gram of fish oil has about 200 mg of DHA, so one could take 3-5 capules of fish oil. Or 2 capsules of Fish oil and 1 capsule of pure "algae" DHA. Fish oil impacts platelets, so watch for bruising and if on plavix, warfarin or related blood thinners, make sure to check clotting and adjust blood thinner appropriately.

None of this is proven by randomized controlled trials and has been subject to peer-review. I hope it gets that far because it seems to work for me ;)

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Re: The dark side of curcumin

Postby circular » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:07 am

I think this article raises some very important points that apply to the use of many supplements.

"For a drug to be safe, it must also be devoid of long-term toxicity". I don't see how this can be debated?

Even if not absorbed well, it could still have long-term affects on the gut and/or its biome. I'm not saying it does, but conceptually it's possible.

Also the point about different genotypes possibly having different reactions to it is good. It's not unlike the recent article retracting the LFHC advice and suggesting that eating saturated fat is fine ... we all said, "wait a minute here, E4s not so much!" So I think with any supplement we should be mindful of not having a double standard and assuming there are no genotypic differences in how the supplement affects the body and/or mind long term. Green tea could be another example, interacting with COMT genotypes. There must be countless.

There is also the good point in this article that many supplement studies look for the good effects and not the bad. They may not anything bad they're testing for, but that doesn't capture all the possibilities.

I think we can expect many in the medical community to criticize Dr. Bredesen's work, even if it is shown to improve cognition, because they will say we don't have LT safety studies on each and every supplement used. I'd take a working protocol myself over speculation of negative affects that aren't yet in the literature, but I don't think the cautions in this article should be dismissed. I think we need to stay hypercognizant of these caveats.

I guess I am basically a whole, healthy foods kind of a gal, but I do take my supplements ... Paradox rules! :lol:
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.

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