What is turmeric?
- According to the NIH, “Turmeric, a plant related to ginger, is grown throughout India, other parts of Asia, and Central America.”
- Turmeric is a common spice and a major ingredient in curry powder.
- Turmeric is also used to color food and cosmetics.
- Turmeric gives curry its yellow color.
- According to the NIH, “
What is curcumin?
- Turmeric contains compounds such as curcumin.
Preliminary studies found that curcuminoids may reduce,
- heart attack
- knee pain
- skin irritation
- These are preliminary studies, more research is needed.
Is turmeric beneficial for certain medical conditions?
According to the NIH, “Claims that curcuminoids found in turmeric help to reduce inflammation aren’t supported by strong studies.”
These findings were also supported by an article released January 11th, 2017 in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
- “Curcumin is a constituent (up to ∼5%) of the traditional medicine known as turmeric.”
- “Curcumin has recently been classified as both a PAINS (pan-assay interference compounds) and an IMPS (invalid metabolic panaceas) candidate.”
- The likely false activity of curcumin in vitro and in vivo has resulted in >120 clinical trials of curcuminoids against several diseases. No double-blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial of curcumin has been successful.
- This manuscript reviews the essential medicinal chemistry of curcumin and provides evidence that curcumin is an unstable, reactive, nonbioavailable compound and, therefore, a highly improbable lead.”
What is a pan assay interference compound?
According to Oxford University Chem Bio Hub, ”
Pan-Assay Interference Compounds (PAINS) are defined by their ability to show activity across a range of assay platforms and against a range of proteins. The most common causes of PAINS activity are metal chelation, chemical aggregation, redox activity, compound fluorescence, cysteine oxidation or promiscuous binding. Many PAINS have multiple functionalities, causing different types of interference and resulting in in-vitro and in vivo activity.”
In summary, the results may not be what they appear to be.
Scientific American summarized the article
- According to the article, “Curcumin has been proposed to treat such disorders as erectile dysfunction, hirsutism, baldness, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, says Guido Pauli, a natural-product researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a co-author of the review. But it’s never yielded a proven treatment. “
- At least 15 articles on curcumin have been retracted since 2009 and dozens more corrected.
- “Curcumin is a cautionary tale,” says Michael Walters, a medicinal chemist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and lead author of the review (K. M. Nelson et al. J. Med. Chem.http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00975; 2017), published on 11 January.