Dear Cancer Coach,
I have recently been diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus. I am in my sixties and in decent health. What are my options?
Dear BE Patient-
The good news is 1) Barrett’s esophagus is curable and 2) at this stage, BE is considered to be “pre-malignant” cancer. The bad news is that while your risk is low, Barrett’s esophagus can progress to esophageal cancer. An often deadly type of cancer.
It is in your interest to take the steps necessary to cure your BE.
Your options are many. Possible conventional (FDA approved) therapies span from surgery to diet, from radio frequency ablation to photodynamic therapy (PDT). Non-conventional therapies include diet, supplementation such as omega-3 fatty acids, black raspberries and a spice called curcumin.
“Barrett’s esophagus refers to an abnormal change (metaplasia) in the cells of the lower portion of the esophagus. It is characterized by the replacement of the normal stratified squamous epithelium lining of the esophagus by simple columnar epithelium with goblet cells (which are usually found lower in the gastrointestinal tract). The medical significance of Barrett’s esophagus is its strong association (0.1 per 1 cm Prague C>M> total segment length per patient-year) with esophageal adenocarcinoma, a very often deadly cancer, because of which it is considered to be a premalignant condition…”
“Based on a review of these studies, it is evident that better bioavailability of formulated curcumin (CU) products is mostly attributed to improved solubility, stability, and possibly low first-pass metabolism”
A search of the Pubmed database for the word curcumin yields 601 studies spaning health topics from multiple myeloma and colorectal cancer, to chemotherapies that synergizes with CU, to Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis and more. Based on years of reading studies and personal accounts, I think it is safe to say that CU supplementation is safe and relatively inexpensive.
I have read about myeloma patients taking daily doses of CU from 400 milligrams to 8 grams (1000 milligrams = 1 gram). By almost any measure, CU is a safe, inexpensive wonder drug.
The only challenge is that CU is famously difficult to absorb in the body. In other words, a person has to mix curcumin with some sort of fat (coconut oil, chocolate, etc.) or take a brand of curcumin capsule that is already formulated to be more “bioavailable” in order to derive the full benefit of CU.
The study linked and exerpted below reviews different formulations of CU. The study itself lists the three most bioavailable formulation/brand of CU and I’ve added an excerpt from a further review from Consumerlab.com that lists four additional bioavailable brands of CU.
I consult the independent evaluation service Consumerlab.com frequently. For one low annual payment, I can read about and evaluate all of the nutritional supplement that I take.
“CU is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is sold as an herbal supplement, cosmetics ingredient, food flavoring, and food coloring.“
“Curcumin is a widely studied natural compound which has shown tremendous in vitro therapeutic potential. Despite that, the clinical efficacy of the native CU is weak due to its low bioavailability and high metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract. During the last decade, researchers have come up with different formulations with a focus on improving the bioavailability of curcumin. As a result, a significant number of bioavailable curcumin-based formulations were introduced with the varying range of enhanced bioavailability.
The purpose of this review is to collate the published clinical studies of CU products with improved bioavailability over conventional (unformulated) CU. Based on the literature search, 11 curcumin formulations with available human bioavailability and pharmacokinetics data were included in this review. Further, the data on clinical study design, analytical method, pharmacokinetic parameters and other relevant details of each formulation were extracted.
Based on a review of these studies, it is evident that better bioavailability of formulated curcumin products is mostly attributed to improved solubility, stability, and possibly low first-pass metabolism. The review hopes to provide a quick reference guide for anyone looking information on these bioavailable curcumin formulations.
Based on the published reports,
exhibited over 100-fold higher bioavailability relative to reference unformulated CU. Suggested mechanisms accounting for improved bioavailability of the formulations and details on the bioanalysis methods are also discussed.”
According to Consumerlab.com:
“Novasol has the highest bioavailability (185 x compared to unforumulated CU), followed by Curcuwin (136 x), Longvida (100 x), Meriva (48 x), BCM-95 (27 x), Curcumin C3 Complex + Bioperene (20 x), and then Theracumin (16 x).”