Why cancer, heart failure, and other major health challenges spell disaster for your muscles

Volume 6    |    Issue 29

If you have a severe illness, such as heart failure, cancer, or have had serious injury, you know they can completely alter your life. One way they can change your life, though, is one that you might not think about. It’s the fact that serious illnesses can cause your muscles to waste away. When that happens, you can become frail quickly. And your ability to fight your illness or heal an injury begins to disappear. Fortunately, there’s a supplement that can keep your muscles from wasting away. And it might even help heal both your muscles and your illness or injury.

In order to maintain your muscle mass, your body performs a balancing act between protein synthesis and degradation. When this balancing act gets thrown off, muscle wasting can occur. Any major disruption to your system can throw this balance off. Cancer, heart failure, blood poisoning, starvation, or a major injury can slow your body’s ability to build muscle. So it’s vital you do everything you can to put your body back in balance.

Researchers recently conducted a review study, where they looked at the results of studies on curcumin and muscle wasting. They started by looking at sepsis, which is a condition where the body releases chemicals to fight an infection, but the chemicals end up in the blood and damage the blood vessels. It can lead to blood clots and internal bleeding. Like other illnesses, sepsis is a catabolic condition, meaning it breaks down body tissue, including your muscles. In fact, muscle wasting is a major problem in sepsis cases because it throws off the protein balancing act.

In their review, the researchers found several studies that showed curcumin can block the impact sepsis has on protein synthesis. In doing so, the curcumin effectively stops its ability to cause muscle wasting. The effect was so profound, the researchers suggested that it’s highly likely the curcumin could do the same thing in other catabolic conditions.

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The researchers said their study suggests that “curcumin may be a potentially useful drug to prevent loss of muscle mass.” Then they went on to say, “It should be noted that this review is not claiming that the use of curcumin to prevent and treat muscle wasting has been proven, but we believe that early and preliminary observations are promising. If continued experiments further support the use of curcumin in the management of muscle wasting, it may open up the possibility to treat muscle wasting with a drug that is easily accessible, inexpensive, and non-toxic even at high doses.”

Let me get this straight. Curcumin has shown that it can fight inflammation, heal damaged body tissues, stop muscles wasting, and prevent damage to other organs, plus it’s “easily accessible, inexpensive, and non-toxic even at high doses" – yet we need to wait until studies show conclusively that it works before using it? That’s ridiculous, even negligent!

I read a lot of studies on nutrients. I can’t tell you the last time I read a study that claimed it “proved” a nutrient works. Researchers rarely, if ever, make dogmatic claims like that. So I’m not going to wait for them to make such a pronunciation for curcumin.

What really bothered me about this study is that the authors called curcumin a “drug” throughout their report. It’s not a drug! It’s a very safe food that you can use on a daily basis without any fear that it’s going to cause any toxic reaction. And it’s highly likely that it will help your body in many ways. This includes reducing inflammation and stopping muscles from deteriorating.

So if you’ve suffered any major illness or injury, it’s vital you take curcumin daily. You can find it at any health food store and online. My favorite product is Reduloxin. I take it every day. It’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory. But we’re learning that it can do a lot more than that.

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About Steve Kroening, ND


For over 25 years, Editor-In-Chief Steve Kroening has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Frank Shallenberger, Janet Zand, Nan Kathryn Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.

Steve researches breakthrough cures and treatments you won't hear about from mainstream medicine or even other "alternative" writers. He writes in a friendly, easy-to-read style that always gives you the power to guide your own health choices and do more research on your own.