These 5 foods are claimed to improve our healt... - CLL Support

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These 5 foods are claimed to improve our health. But the amount we’d need to consume to benefit is… a lot


'Food gives us the nutrients we need to survive, and we know a balanced diet contributes to good health.

Beyond this, many people seek out different foods as “medicines”, hoping eating certain things might prevent or treat particular conditions.

It’s true many foods contain “bioactive compounds” – chemicals that act in the body in ways that might promote good health. These are being studied in the prevention of cancer, heart disease and other conditions.

But the idea of food as medicine, although attractive, is easily oversold in the headlines. Stories tend to be based on studies done in the lab, testing concentrated extracts from foods. The effect seen in real people eating the actual food is going to be different to the effects in a petri dish."

Want to know how much cinnamon, red wine, blueberries, chocolate or turmeric to consume to achieve an active dose? Emma Beckett, Postdoctoral Fellow (Human Molecular Nutrition), School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle and Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, PhD Student/Epidemiologist, Hunter New England Local Health District do the calculations:

Of relevance to CLL, resveratrol in red wine and curcuminoids in turmeric have shown promise, with turmeric getting the most attention. As the article points out, "Importantly, curcumin in turmeric is not very bioavailable. This means we only absorb about 25% of what we eat, so you might actually have to eat well over 100g of turmeric, every day, to get a reasonable dose of curcumin. That’s a lot of curry." There are a number of turmeric supplements on the market which have been formulated to dramatically increase bioavailability, reducing the daily intake required to a much more reasonable amount of several grams per day. This Australian study showing the lymphocyte changes in 21 CLL patients taking one such formulation can be found here:

What to eat then?

We all want food to heal us, but focusing on single foods and eating mounds of them is not the answer. Instead, a balanced and diverse diet can provide foods each with a range of different nutrients and bioactive compounds. Don’t get distracted by quick fixes; focus instead on enjoying a variety of foods."


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9 Replies

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in reply to MsLockYourPosts

Berries on a lily plant discovered on a recent walk in a volcanic crater.

Neil, your fellow countrymen from down under is big on red wine. Dr. Keating. Last I heard. Due to his back surgery, he is not doing clinic but still is involved in research. I am sure wine is still in daily routine. Great doctor and even a Greater Human Being. He is missed in clinic. STAY STRONG JR. 😊😊

Turmeric contains piperine that is on the Cyp3A4 inhibition list. So if your taking Ibrutinib you would need to check with your doctor and pharmacist if you can have it and if so how much time between Ibrutinib doses you can have it.

in reply to doggers805

Some preparations of turmeric include black pepper because piperine, the alkaloid that provides black pepper's pungency, increases the bioavailability of the curcuminoids in turmeric:

There are other turmeric preparations that include something 'fatty', like lecithin or soy for the same reason - to increase bioavailability. You'll pay quite a bit more for such turmeric supplements than what you pay for the turmeric powder.

Read starsafta's interesting research in her reply.


I recently had a long discussion about turmeric and Ibrutinib with one of the pharmacists at Onco360, which dispenses my Ibrutinib. I shared with him two studies that reference turmeric's CYP3A4 path. He explained that the one suggesting limiting Ibrutinib with drugs that use this path showed that interaction was in the mild category, which would allow turmeric in moderation. The other study concluded that turmeric appeared to be processed more in the intestine than in the liver; thus limiting any interaction. The pharmacist then referenced their sophisticated database of interactions with Ibrutiunib. Turmeric was not in the "not sufficient evidence" category; it was in the "no known interaction" category. He said there seemed to be no reason not to make tea from turmeric root, starting with a small amount of root and one cup a day, and staying alert for any changes (other than the freedom from joint pain and stiffness that turmeric has brought me in the past.). This is what I was hoping to do anyway, combining it with burdock and ginger root and some black pepper. Delicious and healthy combination.

Shortly after our conversation, I had an appointment with my oncologist. While she agreed with the pharmacist's interpretation, she reminded me that turmeric can increase bleeding risk, something that I already experience from the Ibrutinib. Bummer! The deck seems stacked. If it isn't one thing, it's another.

I am unlikely to take supplements anyway, as I feel that eating whole food allows for the full complement of nutrients, which can not be replicated in a supplement. It is the synergistic reaction of all elements in the food that promotes the benefits. Thus, perhaps not as much is needed as in a supplement. Also, in order to acquire the full benefit of turmeric, one must add black pepper (piperine) in order to activate the turmeric. In my case, it is probably a good thing that less turmeric is being processed from the root than from a supplement.

in reply to starsafta

I thought that there were several Turmeric supplements on the market now that make Turmeric more available than black Pepper? I take a Jarrow version using Meriva in the formulation.

in reply to BluMts

There are indeed lots of different turmeric formulations claiming massive improvements in bioavailability. I think turmeric may have helped me with arthritis in my hands, but while there were promising indications from in vitro testing that it could help with CLL, this trial using the Meriva formulation was less than convincing to me:

Perhaps alternating a turmeric formulation with high dose green tea might show a greater effect, but if you look at the average ALC increase in the four patients selected out as responding to the Meriva turmeric formulation , they still showed progression in their lymphocyte blood counts :( .

Yes, many turmeric supplements include piperine to get the full effect. When using the root, one must add black pepper.

I should add that the Onco360 pharmacist and I both came to the conclusion that, when I make my tea, I should do so at the opposite time of day from when I take Ibrutinib. Since I take Ibrutinib at around 9:30-10 pm, the time to make the tea (or to take a supplement) is 9-10 in the morning.

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