Turmeric and Cystic Fibrosis

Tumeric and Curcumin Information


General Turmeric

Using Turmeric as a Spice

Turmeric and Alzheimers

Turmeric as an Anti-Inflammatory

Turmeric and Arthritis

Turmeric and Atherosclerosis

Turmeric and Cancer

Turmeric and Cataracts

Turmeric and Cholesterol

Turmeric and Crohns Disease

Turmeric and Cystic Fibrosis

Turmeric and Liver Disease

Turmeric and Psoriasis

Research Updates

Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is an inherited disease that originates in the mucus and sweat glands, but which affects the entire body, leading to progressive disability and early death. It is the most common fatal genetic disease in people of European descent, affecting some 30,000 people in the U.S. and 70,000 worldwide. Moreover, approximately 1,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and more than 70% of these cases involve patients under the age of two.

Symptoms of cystic fibrosis include salty-tasting skin, frequent lung infections, and bowel difficulties. The organs which are most at risk from the disease are the lungs, liver, intestines, pancreas, sinuses, and the sex organs. Normal mucus is watery, and serves to moisten the linings of the body’s organs. In patients with CF, however, an abnormal gene causes mucus to thicken and become sticky. The sticky mucus builds up in the lungs and blocks air flow, which enables bacteria to flourish, thus causing infection. These infections eventually cause serious damage to the lungs. Indeed, respiratory infections account for the majority of cystic fibrosis deaths.

Cystic fibrosis can also lead to mucus blocking the ducts in the pancreas. Because of this, the digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas cannot reach the small intestine and assist in breaking down food. When this happens, the intestines are unable to absorb fats and proteins, leading to malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies.

The severity of symptoms can vary greatly, with some sufferers enduring a great deal of pain from an early age and others experiencing milder symptoms, which may not manifest until adolescence or young adulthood. Although there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, treatments have steadily improved over the past few decades. Prior to the 1980s, most CF deaths occurred in children and teenagers; today, however, most patients with cystic fibrosis survive into adulthood, with many living past the age of 35.

One possible weapon in the fight against cystic fibrosis, currently being explored by scientists and medical researchers, is turmeric. At present, researchers at both the University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University are beginning to conduct preliminary human trials involving curcumin as a possible agent in CF therapy. In this study, a group of cystic fibrosis patients will receive doses of curcumin for two weeks; the purpose of the study will be to determine if curcumin treatments are both safe and effective. Researchers will monitor progress by testing the amounts of chloride found in the sweat of the CF patients. Because cystic fibrosis is characterized by excessively salty sweat, a reduction in the salt levels would thus prove that the treatment is working to correct the disease. Previous studies involving mice reported that doses of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, were successful in correcting a genetic defect that caused a cystic fibrosis-like condition.

While this research is only in the early stages, it nevertheless has the potential to provide insight into the nature of the disease itself and to suggest new avenues for treatment, which will hopefully lead to a cure.

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