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Turmeric for a Healthy Heart

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Turmeric (Cucuma longa) is in the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes ginger (Zingiber oficinalis) and cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Humans tend to use the roots of members in this family as spices and for their health benefits.

Turmeric supports healthy inflammation balance by modulating chemicals in the body that create inflammation. Turmeric suppresses an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) that creates pro-inflammatory signals in the body. It also inhibits a gene, called nuclear factor kappa beta (NFκB) that produces molecules associated with inflammation.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Free radical damage to cholesterol creates oxidized cholesterol, which can damage cells and arteries. The antioxidants in turmeric protect cholesterol from free radical damage. The ability of the antioxidants in turmeric to decrease free radicals is similar to vitamins C and E. Additionally, the antioxidant activities of turmeric are not degraded by heat, so using the spice to cook may also provide benefits. 

Curcumin is the principal active compound in turmric root. Curcumin been studied for its ability to promote healthy cholesterol levels. Rats were fed a high cholesterol diet with or without turmeric, for eight weeks. Cholesterol was 12% lower in the rats fed turmeric. Additionally, triglycerides, another fat that circulates in the blood, was 53% lower in the rats fed curcumin.  

In another mouse study, animals were fed a Standard American Diet (SAD). This diet is rich in refined carbohydrates and saturated fat, and low in fiber. Some of the mice, however, received this diet plus turmeric mixed in with their food. After four months on these diets, the mice that consumed the turmeric with their food had 20% less blockage of the arteries than the mice fed the diet without the turmeric.

In another study, specially-bred rats that accumulate cholesterol in their arteries were fed turmeric plus a diet designed to cause cholesterol buildiup. Cholesterol, triglycerides and free radical damage decreased in the rats that consumed turmeric. 

Herb-Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions. However, turmeric theoretically might interfere with antiplatelet medications. If you are taking any medications, before taking dietary supplements consult a licensed healthcare professional who is knowledgeable in botanicals and pharmacology. 

How to Take Turmeric

Turmeric is available in different forms, including whole root, powdered root, and standardized to the amount of curcumin, one of the medicinal compounds in the root. If you take turmeric as a dietary supplement, look for a product that provides turmeric root extract standardized to 95% curcuminoids, which is what many of the studies used. Turmeric root added to food provides a subtle taste and nice texture along with its health benefits. I use it in my morning smoothie, whcih is a great way to supercharge your day with healthy nutrients. 

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References

Cronin JR. Curcumin: Old Spice Is a New Medicine. Alternative & Complementary Therapies. 2003;9(1):34-38. [Article]

Kulkarni AP, Ghebremariam YT, Kotwal GJ. Curcumin Inhibits the Classical and the Alternate Pathways of Complement Activation. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2005;1056(1):100-112. [Article]

Olszanecki R, Jawien J, Gajda M, et al. Effect of curcumin on atherosclerosis in apoE/LDLR-double knockout mice. J Physiol Pharmacol. Dec 2005;56(4):627-635. [Article]

Rakel DP, Rindfleisch A. Inflammation: nutritional, botanical, and mind-body influences. South Med J. Mar 2005;98(3):303-310. [Article]

Ramirez-Tortosa MC, Mesa MD, Aguilera MC, et al. Oral administration of a turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis. Dec 1999;147(2):371-378. [Article]

Selvam R, Subramanian L, Gayathri R, Angayarkanni N. The anti-oxidant activity of turmeric (Curcuma longa). J Ethnopharmacol. 1995;47(2):59-67. [Article]

Shishidia S, Sethi G, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin: Getting Back to the Roots. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2005;1056(1):206-217. [Article]

Singh S, Aggarwal BB. Activation of Transcription Factor NF-kappaB Is Suppressed by Curcumin (Diferuloylmethane). J. Biol. Chem. 1995;270(42):24995-25000. [Article]

Snow JM. Herbal Monograph: Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae). Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine. Autumn 1995:43-46. [Article]

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Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations:

NBI: About Us  | Our Quality  |  Contact Us  | Products| Loyalty Program
Support:  Return & Exchange Policy  | Shipping Policy  |  Privacy Policy  | Terms & Conditions  | Site Map
Connect with Us on Social: Facebook | LinkedIn | YouTube | Twitter

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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