Turmeric has legendary status as a disease-fighting agent, but did you know that when administered in low doses to already healthy adults it significantly improves their wellness?
Over the years, there has been plenty of research performed on the value of natural substances in treating human diseases, but very little has been conducted on the effects of commonly used supplements and/or food components such as spices in already healthy people to improve their well-being.
All the more reason why a study published in 2012 in the Nutrition Journal titled, "Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lapidated curcumin in healthy middle aged people,' holds great interest among those on the fence about using dietary supplements to improve the quality and perhaps length of their lives, but for which clinical proof is lacking.
The study was conducted in healthy middle aged people (40–60 years old) with a low dose of curcumin (80 mg/day) in a fat soluble (lipidated) form. Curcumin is the primary polyphenol found in turmeric (3% concentration by dry weight), which gives the root its bright saffron color. Two groups of 19 subjects were given either curcumin or placebo for 4 weeks. Blood and saliva samples were taken before and after the 4 weeks and analyzed for the following blood and saliva measures relevant to health promotion:
Blood plasma levels of triglycerides and cholesterol concentrations (mg/dl).
Blood plasma concentrations of nitric oxide and soluble intracellular adhesion molecule (sICAM).
Blood plasma concentrations of myeloperoxidase (ng/ml) and C-reactive protein (mg/L x10).
Saliva activities of amylase (U/L) and antioxidant status (uM of copper reducing equivalents).
Blood plasma activities of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (U/L) and beta amyloid protein (pmoles/L).
The positive results were reported as follows:
Curcumin lowered triglycerides, but not cholesterol (note: lowering cholesterol may harm human health).
Curcumin increased plasma contents of nitric oxide, a molecule that can work against high blood pressure, as well as lowering plasma concentrations of sICAM, a molecule linked to atherosclerosis.
Curcumin raised plasma myeloperoxidase concentrations, without raising C-reactive protein and ceruloplasmin values – a sign of normal and inflammation-related neutrophil function.
Curcumin reduced salivary amylase activities, which are an indicator of sympathetic nervous system stress.
Curcumin raised salivary radical scavenging capacities, an indicator of reduced oxidative stress.·
Curcumin reduced plasma contents of beta amyloid protein, a marker for brain aging and Alzheimer's disease.
Curcumin reduced ALT liver enzyme activities, a marker for liver injury.