Aberrant crypt foci (ACF) are small lesions of the colorectal region which may be markers of colon carcinogenesis. ACF are found in the rectums of current and former tobacco smokers.
Curcumin is a natural chemical derived from the turmeric plant. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. Curcumin prevents the production of two chemicals called eicosanoids, prostaglandin E-2 (PGE2) and 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE) by inhibiting the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Reducing PGE2 and 5-HETE reduces cancer in animal models of colorectal cancer. The authors believed that curcumin had the ability to reduce ARF due to a reduction of PGE2 and 5-HETE.
There is poor absorption of curcumin through the wall of the gastrointestinal tract into the blood. Curcumin should be of great benefit against disease processes in the colorectal tract because of the high concentration of curcumin within the intestinal tract.
The subjects of the study all had ACF. Oral curcumin supplementation was given for 30 days. The endpoints were concentrations of PGE2 and 5-HETE in ACF after 30 day supplementation and the numbers of ACF. One group of people received 2 g of curcumin daily and another group received 4 g of curcumin daily.
The study showed that there was no significant change in ACF for the 2 g curcumin group. There was a marked reduction of ACF for the 4 g curcumin group. This reduction of ACF may indicate reduced risk of carcinogenesis. The side effects of curcumin included diarrhea and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD.)
CONCLUSION: Curcumin for 30 days did not reduce PGE2 or 5-HETE levels. Curcumin did reduce the number of ACF at the 4 g/day dose, significantly, further documenting the anti-carcinogenic property of curcumin.
NOTE: Curcumin is extracted from the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa.) People with hyperacidity problems are not advised to take turmeric. Studies have shown low frequency of prostate disease in populations where curry with turmeric is eaten, traditionally.
Read about the effects of curcumin as a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor.
Eicosanoids are dervived from essential fatty acids, either omega-3 or omeaga-6. The eicosanoids from omega-6 are more inflammatory and those from omega-3 are more anti-inflammatory.
Aberrant crypt foci (ACF) occur before the development of polyps.
Read about the effect of omega-3 on angiogenesis.