Turmeric: Tasty in Curry, Questionable as Medicine « Science-Based Medicine

Turmeric: Tasty in Curry, Questionable as Medicine « Science-Based Medicine:


The “14 drugs” website recommends that everyone:
use certified organic (non-irradiated) turmeric in lower culinary doses on a daily basis so that heroic doses won’t be necessary later in life after a serious disease sets in.
There is no evidence to support any part of that recommendation. And the scientific evidence for turmeric is insufficient to incorporate it into medical practice. As with so many supplements, the hype has gone way beyond the actual evidence. There are some promising hints that it may be useful, but there are plenty of promising hints that lots of other things “may” be useful too. Since I have no rational basis for choosing one over another, I see no reason to jump on the turmeric bandwagon. On the other hand, I see no compelling reason to advise people not to use it, as long as they understand the state of the evidence well enough to provide informed consent and know that they are essentially guinea pigs in an uncontrolled experiment that makes no attempt to collect data. I will keep an open mind and stay tuned for further evidence in the form of well-designed clinical studies in humans.

Turmeric: Tasty in Curry, Questionable as Medicine

turmericA correspondent asked me to look into the science behind the health claims for turmeric. He had encountered medical professionals “trying to pass turmeric as some sort of magical herb to cure us from the ‘post-industrial chemical apocalypse.’” It is recommended by the usual promoters of CAM: Oz, Weil, Mercola, and the Health Ranger (who conveniently sells his own superior product,Turmeric Gold liquid extract for $17 an ounce).
Turmeric (Cucurma longa) is a plant in the ginger family that is native to southeast India. It is also known as curcumin. The rhizomes are ground into an orange-yellow powder that is used as a spice in Indian cuisine. It has traditionally been used in folk medicine for various indications; and it has now become popular in alternative medicine circles, where it is claimed to be effective in treating a broad spectrum of diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and diabetes. One website claims science has proven it to be as effective as 14 drugs, including statins like Lipitor, corticosteroids, antidepressants like Prozac, anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen, the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin, and the diabetes drug metformin. I wish those claims were true, because turmeric is far less expensive and probably much safer than prescription drugs. It clearly has some interesting properties, but the claims go far beyond the actual evidence.
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database has reviewed all the available scientific studies and has concluded that it is “Likely Safe,” “Possibly Effective” for dyspepsia and osteoarthritis, and “Insufficient Reliable Evidence” to rate effectiveness for other indications, such as Alzheimer’s, anterior uveitis, colorectal cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and skin cancer.

Mechanism of action

The “14 drugs” website says turmeric is one of the most thoroughly researched plants ever, with 5,600 peer-reviewed studies, 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects, and 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications. They provide a database of 1,585 hyperlinks to turmeric abstracts. Naturally I can’t read all of them, but a sampling indicates that they are almost entirely animal and in vitro studies. The NMCD has conveniently provided a list of the most pertinent studies.
The pertinent preclinical studies, in animal models and in vitro, indicate that curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties; can induce apoptosis in cancer cells and may inhibit angiogenesis; has antithrombotic effects; can decrease the amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer’s; has some activity against bacteria, Leishmania, HIV; etc. These effects sound promising, but animal studies and in vitro studies may not be applicable to humans. As Rose Shapiro pointed out in her book Suckers, you can kill cancer cells in a Petri dish with a flame thrower or bleach. Preclinical studies must always be followed by clinical studies in humans before we can make any recommendations to patients.

Preliminary clinical research

There are preliminary pilot studies in humans suggesting that:
Clinical research on turmeric is being funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), but the NCCAM website is not very encouraging. Under the section What the Science Says, it reads:
  • There is little reliable evidence to support the use of turmeric for any health condition because few clinical trials have been conducted.
  • Preliminary findings from animal and other laboratory studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric—called curcumin—may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties, but these findings have not been confirmed in people.
  • NCCAM-funded investigators have studied the active chemicals in turmeric and their effects—particularly anti-inflammatory effects—in human cells to better understand how turmeric might be used for health purposes. NCCAM is also funding basic research studies on the potential role of turmeric in preventing acute respiratory distress syndrome, liver cancer, and post-menopausal osteoporosis.

Side effects

Turmeric is generally considered safe, but high doses have caused indigestion, nausea, vomiting, reflux, diarrhea, liver problems, and worsening of gallbladder disease. TheNMCD warns that it may interact with anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs to increase the risk of bleeding, that it should be used with caution in patients with gallstones or gallbladder disease and in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, and that it should be discontinued at least 2 weeks before elective surgery. Purchasers of supplements are not given that information.


How a wild lifestyle or poor diet in your 20s could damage your unborn child's health DECADES later | Mail Online

How a wild lifestyle or poor diet in your 20s could damage your unborn child's health DECADES later | Mail Online

  • Drinking, smoking or eating badly could put a baby’s health at risk
  • There is now 'overwhelming evidence' that poor health can be recorded in a father’s sperm or a mother’s eggs, say Australian researchers
  • Parenting starts before conception', they warn 
Drinking, smoking or eating badly could put a baby's health at risk - years before it is conceived
Drinking, smoking or eating badly could put your baby’s health at risk - years before it is conceived.

latest research suggests that a wild lifestyle in your teens or 20s
could come back to haunt you if you become a parent later.

Scientists say there is now ‘overwhelming evidence’ that poor health can be recorded in a father’s sperm or a mother’s eggs.

or other problems caused by lifestyle can then be passed on to the next
generation - making a baby ‘pre-programmed’ for a life of poor health,
researchers say.

Australian scientists, building on a decade of research into the way
health can be passed between generations, said there is a clear message
for prospective mothers and fathers: ‘Parenting starts before

Sarah Robertson of the University of Adelaide said: ‘People used to
think that lifestyle didn’t matter, because a child represented a new
beginning, with a fresh start.

reality is we can now say with great certainty that the child doesn’t
quite start from scratch – they already carry over a legacy of factors
from their parents’ experiences that can shape development in the foetus
and after birth.

‘Depending on the situation, we can give our children a burden before they’ve even started life.’

research, published in the journal Science, suggests that babies whose
parents had poor lifestyles before conception were more likely to have
health problems such as diabetes, heart issues and immune disorders.

Robertson said: ‘Many things we do in the lead up to conceiving is
having an impact on the future development of the child – from the age
of the parents, to poor diet, obesity, smoking and many other factors,
all of which influence environmental signals transmitted into the

The biggest impact for both men and
women is caused by their behaviour in the final three months before
conception, when sperm and eggs both undergo final developments.

But lifestyle and events that take place many years before could also have a dramatic impact, the scientists think.

recently, scientific thinking relied on the Darwinian evolutionary
theory that a baby’s fate is set in stone many years before the child is

The sequence of
two parents’ DNA, itself set by their own parents, effectively
predetermined every aspect of a baby’s nature and make-up, the old
thinking held.

But the latest research has led to a more
subtle understanding of genetics, which accepts that tiny changes are
made to an individual’s genes by smoking, diet and other environmental
factors that we come across in everyday life.

Scientists say there is now 'overwhelming evidence' that poor health can be recorded in a father's sperm or a mother's eggs

Scientists say there is now 'overwhelming evidence' that poor health can be recorded in a father's sperm or a mother's eggs

Those ‘epigenetic’ changes can be passed on to the next generation via the egg or sperm.

think the ability to pass those epigenetic factors to a baby lies in
the evolutionary need to adapt to changing environment.

means, for example, that if a man or woman experience a period of
famine, their genes are altered by the ‘memory’ of that hard time so
their baby is able to cope with less food.

if that baby goes on to eat normal amounts, their body cannot cope with
the abundance and they can develop metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

if a parent overeats in life, the baby adapts to expect lots of food.
When they do not get it health problems are the result.

Professor Robertson said it is not all bad news for would-be parents.

few lifestyle changes by potential parents and improvements in the
right direction, especially in the months leading up to conception,
could have a lasting, positive benefit for the future of their child,’
she said.


What is “relative risk” (RR)? The case of alcohol frequency and its impact on mortality from stroke - Health Correlator

Health Correlator: What is “relative risk” (RR)? The case of alcohol frequency and its impact on mortality from stroke

"This post is not really about the study by Rantak├Âmi and colleagues. It is about the following question, which is in the title of this post:  

What is “relative risk” (RR)? "

Chris D said...
Amazes me that scientist are still using RR as opposed to taking the (small) extra step to perform a bayesian analysis. It also amazes me that "Statistical Significance" is valued over "Practical Significance". Statistical significance is important, and always will be. However, presenting results that have no practical significance is just bad science. Show that you are smarter than the analytic software that spits out statistical significance. Show that you can interpret results and apply those results to the real world...


As for the issue of alcohol consumption frequency and mortality, I leave you with the results of a 2008 study by Breslow and Graubard, with more citations and published in a more targeted journal (4):
“Average volume obscured effects of quantity alone and frequency alone, particularly for cardiovascular disease in men where quantity and frequency trended in opposite directions.”
In other words, alcohol consumption in terms of volume (quantity
multiplied by frequency) appears to matter much more than quantity or
frequency alone. We can state this even more simply: drinking two
bottles of whiskey in one sitting, but only once every two weeks, is not
going to be good for you.

In the end, providing more information to readers so that they can place
the results in context is a matter of scientific honesty.


Fiber & resistant starch are KETOGENIC for people who have healthy colon bacteria | Free The Animal

Why I'm All Over Jimmy Moore's Ass | Free The Animal:

What may bring this topic full circle is the apparent fact that resistant starch is ketogenic. From:  http://physrev.physiology.org/content/81/3/1031.full:
Human colonic bacteria ferment RS and nonstarch polysaccharides (NSP; major components of dietary fiber) to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), mainly acetate, propionate, and butyrate. SCFA stimulate colonic blood flow and fluid and electrolyte uptake. Butyrate is a preferred substrate for colonocytes and appears to promote a normal phenotype in these cells. Fermentation of some RS types favors butyrate production. Measurement of colonic fermentation in humans is difficult, and indirect measures (e.g., fecal samples) or animal models have been used. Of the latter, rodents appear to be of limited value, and pigs or dogs are preferable. RS is less effective than NSP in stool bulking, but epidemiological data suggest that it is more protective against colorectal cancer, possibly via butyrate.
In layman’s terms, fiber and resistant starch are ketogenic for people who have healthy colon bacteria. The bacteria ferment fiber and resistant starch into short-chain fatty acids, which the body preferentially breaks down into ketone bodies.
Furthermore, it’s these short-chain fatty acids (or the ketone bodies produced therefrom) that are thought to prevent colon cancer.

Dr. Joanne Slavin talks about "the good carbohydrate"

Total darkness at night key to success of breast cancer therapy, study shows -- ScienceDaily

Total darkness at night key to success of breast cancer therapy, study shows -- ScienceDaily

July 25, 2014
Tulane University
Exposure to light at night, which shuts off nighttime production of the hormone melatonin, renders breast cancer completely resistant to tamoxifen, a widely used breast cancer drug, says a new study. Melatonin by itself delayed the formation of tumors and significantly slowed their growth, researchers report, but tamoxifen caused a dramatic regression of tumors in animals with either high nighttime levels of melatonin during complete darkness or those receiving melatonin supplementation during dim light at night exposure.


Muscle tissue = endocrine, fat tissue = ...CICO? OKAY, MAKES SENSE RIGHT - *The Scribble Pad*

*The Scribble Pad*: Muscle tissue = endocrine, fat tissue = ...CICO? OKAY, MAKES SENSE RIGHT.:

lui marco channel 

You know, I must say I have been a fan of this lui marco channel  on youtube for many months. I have like NO interest in body building what so ever, but Lui provides lulz and general good advice. He also mocks fitness frauds which I can appreciate from my perspective being woo, as fitness frauds whether bodybuilders or weight loss gurus are fucking annoying. With so many freaks / cretins advocating injecting GH and testosterone and various horrific drugs for no reason, I also appreciate a person into body building from a healthy perspective educating young guys there are consequences to it all.  Always good entertains on the luimarco channel!

Anyway, the video above is about some UFC fighter who was clearly abusing steroids. This guy gained like 60 pounds of lean mass in a few minutes, claimed to be following a healthy diet, and was roundly mocked for this obvious lie/deception. Eventually he was caught with having a testosterone level like 14000, so he had to quit his gear. Within like 2 seconds he collapsed into a 200 pound pile of mushy soft dough relative to his former condition and is now a terrible fighter. The end.

We see this story all the time in the fitness world. Guy injects GH/androgen/takes millions of drugs becomes a beast like caricature of a human. They grow muscle and relatedly/independently of this athletic performance enhances; androgens and the like are also called performance enhancing drugs. Ultimately though it all hangs on the balance of the endocrine system. Consider this; two athletes may have the same training regimen, the same genetics, the same lifestyle, the same food habits. The athlete taking 14x normal androgen is going to grow to a UFC champion fighter. The athlete not taking anything will be a 205 lb soft failure in the ring. That's the fact. It's the endocrine that rules muscle, training behavior and calories are only factors which are slaves under THE ENDOCRINE status. This is why every single bodybuilder you see and many fitness gurus as well are all one one or more endocrine modifying hormones or stimulants. They are almost never honest about that fact because of the shame/stigma attached to using drugs...that is unless they are too autistic/psychopathic to know better (like the guy I argued with a few weeks ago, danger and playing in traffic or something like that).

In the fitness world this is simply not even a question. It's just not even a DEBATE. Huge muscles, rapid muscle gain? He has taken drugs to modify his endocrine system. Done and done. There is no doubt, there is no question. It's just accepted muscle behavior and the function of the human body is under neuroendocrine control. Testosterone, GH, insulin (novolog 4hr quick acting insulin after training to stimulate IGF1), clenbuterol, I mean, the notion that adjusting calories or doing more exercise works as well would be laughed out of the room.

Now, please careen your attentions away from the world of athletics and body building, this way over to the world of dieting and body fat control. There are a lot more women, and a lot less men.  Perhaps relatedly there is a lot more hilarious irrational bullshit with no relevance what so ever to biological physiological reality, such as the notion feelings/sadness can cause fat gain. Or, perhaps the belief being a conscientious agreeable good dieter and accounting for every calorie will magically transform you into a slim butterfly; nothing more sciency involved to this but eating calories in and calories out.

This is obviously untrue. It is an obvious FACT the endocrine system has 100% control over the growth of adipose, calories and exercise only modify that just as is the case with athleticism and fitness. Calories and training modify performance and muscle growth but ultimately this is only so under direction/facilitation of whatever endocrine status you might have. The adipocytes are no different from myocytes; they are subjected to the laws and regulation of physiology, their growth and function is not some random anarchic chaos which exists separate from the whole of the body. The adipocyte is not this bank account that just accepts deposits endlessly until you take "control" and exert "willpower" to stop the hording. These emotional ridiculously unscientific ideas have been thoroughly debunked in the scientific literature. The adipocytes are connective tissue, but more importantly, the adipose is an endocrine site, part of the endocrine system. Ironically, the adipose exerts a greater homeostatic pressure over itself than does the muscle tissue; the adipose is actively regulating itself  via leptin and many other cytokines virtually preventing growth or shrinkage long term. If either tissue can be said to be passive, the muscle tissue meets that qualification much more so than the adipose. In spite of this, it is much more accepted as a truth that the muscle growth is an endocrine proposition, meanwhile the fat growth is a mental/emotional problem.

In scientific reality there is no *question* the muscle, and DEFINITELY not fat, are passive blank slate like tissues just waiting for you to mold them into shape. This is not a legitimate point of view respected by science. Get real. 

The adipose is regulated tightly, and an attempt to reduce adiposity is doomed to fail with like 95+% certainty for this reason.

Muscle = Controlled by endocrine system; man exhibits massive change in muscle function/size we know he has taken endocrine modifying substances. Done and done. No one says the UFC fighter ate less calories and did less exercise. We know he collapses because his endocrine status is typical/kaput. There is not one tard in the crowd who would hilariously suggest he could regain his former glory by eating differently or exercising differently. We know this is not true. WE know the calories he eats and the exercises he does are USELESS without the testosterone of 14000 to put them in proper place.

Adipose = gluttony, sloth, indolence, mental illness/emotional problems, "eating your feelings", in denial of CICO.  Woman gains 60 pounds after progesterone& cortisol assault of pregnancy = she just is under stress/mentally ill/depression/get a grip/count calories. Woman gains 20 pounds at age 37 in perimenopause with declining estrogen = go on a diet, get your grove back. Stop eating junkfood you lazy slob (says an even more out of shape man).

It's really hilarious isn't it?

I hear Gary Taubes is going to "debate" iq 110 fitness entrepreneur / gym owner / paleo heckler Teh Alan Aragon re: CICO.  Can't wait for this riveting battle of wits. Maybe Alan will use his patented facebook method of mocking the "insulin fairies" for causing weight gain as if it were anything but self evident that fat gain was caused by moral failure and greed at the dinner table.

Why are we having debates in 2014 of this nature? Why is this even a question?

Anyone who denies that obesity is a disease and fat tissue is regulated by the endocrine system ought to be dismissed with a hand wave like an obnoxious opinionated child. These people are too ignorant to have insight into their own ignorance. As well, contrary to what unpaxiled anoretics would lead you to believe, the scientific consensus is quite clear that body fat is under neuroendocrine control. Obesity is NOT caused by eating more calories than you burn, even if it is true the obese maybe eat more calories. Calories are to fat gain in a moribidly obese person as calories are to muscle gain in a testosterone abusing UFC fighter. Required, but not causative.