Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Curcumin-Turmeric: A Test of View on Science

The current issue of the National Geographic magazine (March 2015) has an article by Mr. Achenbach, a Washington Post staff writer. He opines that any questioning of “established scientific facts” demonstrates ignorance, denial, and even conspiratorial beliefs. He cites opposition to vaccination, fluoridation and GMOs as examples, issues we have covered in this newsletter. It is not the intention of this blog to prove or disprove those controversial issues, but, to point out some scientific principles Mr. Achenbach did not cover. It is up to you to examine the scientific literature on both sides.

One, science is a never ending quest for truth. It should include a high dose of humility to allow for the fact that each new discovery simply opens another veil yet to be the subject of further search. Closing our minds to further developments in science has been catastrophic. History is littered with such examples.

Two, a true scientist is indeed by definition a skeptic. This does not mean one is to reject opposing points of view, but that we need to be open to consider the evidence regardless of preconceived notions. Does Galileo ring a bell?

Three, we must question the sources from which we get information. Often, money is behind categorical statements that attack, or ridicule the opposition. “The Manufacturing of Consent” ought to ring another bell: google that. For instance, you should study my background. I am happy to report I do not get involved in marketing or selling of any products. As for Mr. Achenbach, he is edited by his newspaper, which is heavily influenced by its advertisers (Monsanto, Big Pharma, etc.)

What does Curcumin have to do with this issue?

Ask about it when you are attempting to gauge someone’s attitudes about non pharmaceutical treatments. If they categorically tell you there is no scientific evidence for the use of curcumin you will know where they are coming from.

Curcumin, as often reported herein is soon to be marketed as an adjuvant, or synergistic agent for cancer chemotherapy. It is also an excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory herb, much like aspirin, but no side effects. As such it compares well with Ibuprofen. It thins the blood a bit, so, it is helpful in diseases that promote clotting. Curcumin also lowers insulin resistance and blood pressure. All these salutary actions must have a common denominator. Indeed, it is a good antioxidant, anti inflammatory herb/spice that improves our metabolism. [1]

[1] “Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcuminoid-piperine combination in subjects with metabolic syndrome: A randomized controlled trial and an updated meta-analysis,” J. Clinical Nutrition Published Online: January 07, 2015


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