CURCUMIN – The Wonder Drug

Extensive research over the past five decades has indicated that curcumin reduces blood cholesterol levels; prevents low-density lipoprotein oxidation; inhibits platelet aggregation; suppresses thrombosis and myocardial infraction; suppresses symptoms associated with type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer disease; inhibits HIV replication; suppresses tumor formation; enhances wound healing; protects against liver injury; increases bile secretion; protects against cataract formation; and protects against pulmonary toxicity and fibrosis.

These divergent effects of curcumin seem to depend on its pleiotropic molecular effects, including the regulation of signal transduction pathways, and direct modulation of several enzymatic activities. Most of these signaling cascades lead to the activation of transcription factors.

Interest in the effects of dietary compounds such as resveratrol which activate class III HDACs (sirtuins) is growing rapidly because of their demonstrable role in extending lifespan and in reducing, or delaying, age-related diseases including cancers….

Resveratrol, a natural compound found in the skin of red grapes and a constituent of red wine, is believed to play a significant role in the reduction of cardiovascular events. Multiple studies have shown that resveratrol can activate sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), a histone deacetylase, and inhibit p300. Sirtuins, the class III HDACs, are widely distributed and have been shown to regulate a variety of physiopathologic processes, such as inflammation, cellular senescence and aging, cellular apoptosis and proliferation, differentiation, metabolism, stem cell pluri-potency, and cell cycle regulation.

Experimental evidence accumulated in the recent years clearly supports the idea that dietary nutraceuticals such as curcumin have great potential as epigenetic agents.

These researchers go on to cite all of the human safety and efficacy trials with curcumin, resveratrol and many other natural substances.

The above is not dietary supplement companies extolling the virtues of these powerful nutrients. These are mainstream drug development researchers, stunned by the ability of nutrients to regulate epigenetics to support health and at the same time combat diseases that plague large numbers of people. The inherent capacity of these nutrients outshines that of any drug.

There should be no question in anyone’s mind as to why the pharmaceutical industry wants to claim these powerful nutrients as patent-protected drug assets. The question is more about how they plan to pull off this major scheme, this heist, from the dietary supplement industry.

Curcumin (tumeric) has been around for thousands of years and is consumed in very large amounts in Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures. This means the basic spice is protected by DSHEA. Unfortunately, curcumin has relatively poor bioavailability and raw material companies have sought to produce purified extracts with advanced production technology and combine curcumin with other nutrients such as piperine, which can elevate the biological activity up to 2,000 percent. Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center have conducted cancer research specifically with one such curcumin product, made by Sabinsa, and found it very promising.

Under the proposed FDA guidelines for NDIs, such curcumin extracts would retroactively become NDIs as they were not available prior to 1994. The immediate impact would be the removal of curcumin from the dietary supplement market while submitting an NDI application. Sabinsa, however, has already been granted several investigational new drug applications for their curcumin complex as they work with researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Under the new FDA guidelines the net result would be eliminating all high grade curcumin extracts from the dietary supplement market, as no NDI will be granted for any ingredient that is under investigation as a new drug. Sabinsa, a dietary supplement raw material supplier, will be able to sell its rights to its curcumin compound to the highest pharmaceutical bidder while all other competing curcumin extracts, including Sabinsa’s product, will be forced off the dietary supplement market.

It is a similar story for resveratrol, which is also under investigation as a new drug. In fact, numerous highly-effective and therapeutic extracts will be targeted in this way by the pharmaceutical industry. The FDA has a glaring conflict of interest and can easily approve investigational new drug applications for any nutrient of interest to the pharmaceutical cartel, automatically blocking them from entry or existence in a competitive dietary supplement marketplace. Dietary supplement companies could spend millions trying to get the FDA to pass a NDI application. The FDA just sits on the NDI application, to ultimately approve the nutrient as an investigational new drug and deny the dietary supplement company’s NDI application.

Consumer options for therapeutic nutrition will rapidly dwindle. What is left on the market will be far more expensive and many nutrients will no longer be available without prescription. Once the pharmaceutical industry gains control of the nutrient, the new price will be ten to fifty times what consumers pay now.

Be well

Dr Sundardas D Annamalay

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