Archive for the 'Turmeric' Category

Jan 20 2009

Turmeric Component Protects Against Toxic Compound Consumed in Many Meals

Curcumin, the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow color, may reduce the damaging effects of acrylamide (AA), a potential carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, fried or toasted.

Swedish scientists first reported on acrylamide’s widespread presence in the food supply in 2002, when they found unexpectedly high levels of acrylamide in carbohydrate-rich foods. This was of concern since the toxin causes cancer in laboratory rats. Other scientists have found that acrylamide causes DNA to fragment, increases formation of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) and triggers the death of liver cells. It is also genotoxic, meaning that it damages a cell’s genetic material affecting the cell’s integrity. Genotoxic substances have the potential to be carcinogens and can cause genetic mutations that lead to the development of tumors.

Due to its antioxidant abilities, researchers studied curcumin’s effects on human liver cells exposed to acrylamide. They found that curcumin significantly reduced the production of reactive oxygen species that occurred in acrylamide-treated cells. Curcumin also inhibited the acrylamide-induced DNA fragments and significantly reduced the acrylamide-triggered cell death, indicating curcumin could ameliorate acrylamide’s known genotoxicity.

The researchers believe that curcumin’s effects are likely due to its antioxidant abilities. They concluded, “Consumption of curcumin may be a plausible way to prevent AA-mediated genotoxicity.”

Reference:

Cao J, Liu Y, Jia L, Jiang LP, Geng CY, Yao XF, Kong Y, Jiang BN, Zhong LF. Curcumin Attenuates Acrylamide-Induced Cytotoxicity and Genotoxicity in HepG2 Cells by ROS Scavenging. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Nov 14. Published Online Ahead of Print.

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May 08 2008

Turmeric Component Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels in Animal Study

Published by under Turmeric

Curcumin, the compound in turmeric responsible for its yellowish color, improved insulin resistance and glucose tolerance in diabetic mice, according to the results of a new study.

The study authors investigated the effect of curcumin on insulin resistance and glucose tolerance in male diabetic mice and age-matched lean non-diabetic controls. Insulin resistance occurs when the body, after exposure to a constant onslaught of high blood sugar, needs to produce more and more insulin in order to feel insulin’s blood sugar stabilizing effects.

Both non-diabetic and diabetic mice were fed with or without curcumin for six weeks. At the study’s conclusion, there were a number of beneficial effects in the animals given the turmeric component. Curcumin significantly lowered blood glucose and levels of glycosylated haemoglobin HbA(1c), which researchers use as an indicator of blood glucose regulation. Curcumin also suppressed body weight loss in diabetic mice and reduced insulin resistance.

Furthermore, the researchers noted beneficial effects on the liver in the diabetic animals given curcumin. Activity of an enzyme that is important to the conversion of glucose into glycogen, which serves as the body”s main carbohydrate store, was higher in the diabetic mice given curcumin compared to the diabetic mice that did not receive the compound. The higher activity of the enzyme seen in the diabetic animals given curcumin is thought to inhibit the post-meal rise in glucose.

The turmeric-derived component also significantly lowered cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations and significantly reduced lipid peroxidation by virtue of its ability to raise antioxidant levels in the liver. In mice without diabetes, curcumin had no effect on blood glucose, plasma insulin, and glucose regulating enzyme activities.

The study authors wrote, “These results suggest that curcumin seemed to be a potential glucose-lowering agent and antioxidant in type 2 diabetic mice, but had no effect in non-diabetic mice.”

Reference:

Seo KI, Choi MS, Jung UJ, Kim HJ, Yeo J, Jeon SM, Lee MK. Effect of curcumin supplementation on blood glucose, plasma insulin, and glucose homeostasis related enzyme activities in diabetic db/db mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Apr 8. Published online ahead of print.

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