Here is the second part of Danny Parker’s timely and important two part series about the anti-myeloma super supplement, curcumin:
The Spice: Curcumin and Myeloma (Part Two)
In previous columns, I have emphasized the need to carefully consider any supplements you might take with myeloma and conventional treatments–and for good reason. As I hope I’ve communicated, I don’t consider any of this lightly. The drugs we take to treat our disease are powerful, and we often walk a tightrope with our compromised immune system and various side effects from disease and treatment.
That said, I do believe that considering taking a curcumin supplement might be one of the few cases where I can really advocate taking it now.
However, any such addition must be considered with your doctor and, if tried, must be done in a careful fashion, carefully monitoring one’s CBCs and other standard tests.
How can dosage of curcumin influence its availability in the body? Clinical trials in humans indicate that the systemic bio-availability of orally administered curcumin is low and that mostly metabolites of curcumin, instead of curcumin itself, are detected in plasma or serum following oral consumption.
However, curcumin metabolites may not have the same biological activity as the source compound. In a clinical trial conducted in Taiwan, serum curcumin concentrations peaked 1-2 hours after an oral dose; peak serum concentrations of curcumin were 0.5, 0.6, and 1.8 micromoles/liter following doses of 4, 6, and 8 g of curcumin, respectively. Curcumin could not be detected in serum at lower doses than 4 g/day.
More recently, a clinical trial conducted in Great Britain found that plasma concentrations of curcumin, curcumin sulfate, and curcumin glucuronide were in the range of 10 nanomoles/liter one hour after a 3.6 g oral dose of curcumin.
Now, to some practical questions relative to curcumin. Given the information we have on low bio-availability, what might be an “optimal dose” of curcumin? That’s a difficult question.
In the original curcumin-myeloma trials at MD Anderson, they conducted arms with 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 grams of the supplement divided into two daily doses. I split the difference and chose the center dose and have taken this for the last year:
The Australian curcumin study used 4 grams a day:
Margaret Graziano takes 8 grams a day:
On the other hand, the current Revlimid + curcumin maintenance clinical trial protocol at MD Anderson is 1 gram with Revlimid.
So, at least one gram per day, and not more than eight.
Next, what Brands to consider?
Drs. Best curcumin is a good choice according to Margaret Graziano’s evaluations. I use that too:
For myself, I currently use six grams a day, divided into three doses (3 grams in the morning, (one at noon and two at night with the nightly dose taken directly with the Revlimid as it can enhance its action.
I split mine into separate doses only because it is physically hard to swallow six grams of curcumin at once (a dozen 500g capsules) And before anyone asks, I do not have any rational to this scheme. Others take all of their daily dose all at once.
You should also know that there are some curcumin products which are designed to increase their bio-availability so such large doses don’t have to be taken to obtain potential benefits. Research on using these improved curcumin preparations:
One of these is Meriva and the other is Theracumin.
Meriva claims the bioavailability of its product is 29 times as great as conventional curcumin:
Doctor’s Best also has a Curcumin Phytosome with the Meriva preparation.
Although I do not have any experience with Theracumin, I have been using the Meriva product for the last two months without adverse results. I am substituting these for the nighttime dose of conventional Dr. Best’s curcumin.
While I don’t advocate using curcumin instead of our conventional anti-myeloma drugs, the information here suggests that it is may be able to play a role in helping to treat our condition along with conventional treatments. And for those with MGUS or in remission, perhaps such influences have the potential to keep us in a stable condition for much longer–a longer and more healthy live.
Again, however, I recommend that you approach such supplements with caution, carefully and always in consultation with your doctor.
Good wishes for good health to us all.
Thanks, Danny! Yes, we get it–check with your doctor first. But best that I can tell, curcumin doesn’t negatively effect the performance of any of the primary anti-myeloma drugs. It also doesn’t block the performance of blood thinners like coumedin and warfarin.
I like the idea of taking the supplement like Danny does throughout the day, not all at once. Why not keep it circulating through your blood stream longer?
I only take 2 mg a day. Two capsules in the am and two at night.
Even if it can’t stop the progress of myeloma on its own, curcumin most likely enhances the performance of myeloma therapies, sort of like dexamethasone does. Plus, it is an excellent anti-inflammatory. I take it in place of glucosamine, which is contraindicated for multiple myeloma patients.
I write a lot about cancer nutrition and using supplements at HelpWithCancer.org and on a number of other sites. In a world where supplements are under attack and oft proven to be ineffective–or sometimes even harmful–curcumin is the one supplement that I can recommend without reservation.
But that doesn’t mean one should go overboard and use so much that your skin starts to turn orange! Danny’s recommendation to use between 1 mg and 8 mg a day seems to be reasonable.
By the way, local outlets like GNC carry curcumin. And it can be quite affordable there if you stock-up when it’s on sale and/or use the store’s discount membership card program.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat