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TurmericPennington Biomedical Research Center Pennington Nutrition Series Number 91A b o u t Tu r m e r i c It has creeping tuberous rhizomes that are In this issue: harvested for food. It is distributed throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world, such as Asia, Africa and the Americas. The Turmeric , oxidative 2 rhizomes are harvested and processed before stress and they are ground to yield the yellow powder inflammation known as turmeric. The yellow colored compound of turmeric was isolated in 1842 and Turmeric and 2 was named curcumin. There are several Alzheimer’s disease curcuminoids that have slightly different chemical structures. The curcuminoids are Turmeric and 3 phenols and hence are strong antioxidants. cancer However, turmeric and curcuminoids are non- toxic. Turmeric and 3 Because of its chemical structure, curcumin is a arthritis strong antioxidant and free radical scavenger and can therefore prevent diseases that involve damage caused by free radicals. Turmeric and 3 blood glucose and There are many uses for turmeric in the lipidsTurmeric root traditional Asian and Indian medicine. Turmeric is used in cases of biliary disorders, Turmeric and 4Turmeric, known as Curcuma longa L., belongs intestinal disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic traditional usesto the Zingiberaceae or ginger family. It is a wounds, hepatic disorder, pain, rheumatism andflowering plant, a perennial herb that measures sinusitis, cancer, psoriasis and Alzheimer’sabout 40 inches in height and has white flowers. disease. Special points of interest: Turmeric is a strongC u l i n a r y u s e s o f Tu r m e r i c antioxidant. As a yellow color and flavor to and sauces. Turmeric is used powder, foods. It is rarely used alone, in meat, poultry and fish in Turmeric affects turmeric but is combined with several addition to vegetables dishes. thousands of genes. has been other spices to make It is used for its color and taste Turmeric is used as used as a vegetarian and non-vegetarian in foods, and as a fresh root, it a spice in food, as aspice in vegetable and meat curries, sauces and spice can be added to beverages coloring agent andpreparations in many Asian blends. In prepared foods, such as tea for its medicinal in medicine.countries for centuries. turmeric is used in mustard, effects. Turmeric is non-toxicTurmeric adds a distinctive mayonnaise, chutneys, pickles and can be consumed daily.
PNS No. 91 Turmeric Tu r m e r i c , ox i d a t i v e s t r e s s a n d i n f l a m m a t i o n Inflammation is caused by the for cardiovascular disease, can- rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, release of chemicals in the cer, diabetes, Alzheimers and cancer and asthma, and by ex- cells called inflammatory cyto- alcoholic liver disease. Curcu- ternal stressors. Curcuminoids kines. Oxidative stress is the minoids can also improve the can inhibit NF-kappa B, a fac- build up of free radicals in antioxidant status in the body tor that is involved in stimula- cells. Curcuminoids, due to by increasing the circulation of tion of the immune system their structure that contains antioxidant vitamins C and E, when an individual is subjected benzene rings and hydroxyl and enhancing other enzyme to stresses such as radiation or groups, are strong anti- systems. infection. Curcuminoids stop oxidants and can reduce the the immune system from re- Curcuminoids have been Turmeric is a concentration of free radical sponding by blocking a reac- widely used shown to suppress the produc- compounds such as hydroxyl tion that would lead to a host of spice. tion of a number of inflamma- radicals, superoxide radicals, negative responses. They also tory cytokines including tumor singlet oxygen and nitric oxide decrease the levels of inflam- necrosis factor, interleukin-1, in biological systems. Elimi- matory prostaglandins E(1), E interleukin-8, interleukin-12 nating these reactive oxygen (2), F(2a) and D(2) that cause and chemokines that are re- species can help prevent LDL pain, fever and blood clotting. leased in conditions such as oxidation and reduce the risk Tu r m e r i c a n d A l z h e i m e r ’s D i s e a s e The incidence of neurogenera- curcumin. Each has been forms neurotoxic plaques in the tive diseases is expected to shown to be effective in reduc- brain seen in Alzheimers dis- grow as the population ages. ing inflammation and modulat- ease patients. ABP destroys Many of these, including Alz- ing harmful compounds in normal brain cells but treat- heimer’s disease have been cells. ment with curcumin stops the linked to inflammation and Curcumin, the polyphenol in process. Treatment with curcu- oxidative stress. Not only is turmeric affects many proteins min makes the amyloid ABP Alzheimer’s is a Alzheimers linked to oxidative in the cell and influences a host less stable, at least in cell cul- difficult diagno- stress but currently at least sis for the of cellular pathways. It has tures. In addition, curcumin four genes have been linked to person and been shown to be effective in treatment reduces ABP produc- the prevalence of Alzheimers. their family. reducing Alzheimer’s disease tion by inhibiting an enzyme Several natural compounds in pathologies. As Alzheimers that is essential for its produc- plants look promising as treat- progresses, there is a formation tion, as well as causing other ments for diseases such as Alz- of amyloid beta-protein (ABP) cellular changes that interfere heimer’s disease. Many plant plaques in the brain. There are with ABP maturation. In addi- compounds have been found to two different types of ABP’s in tion, curcumin influences ABP be strong antioxidants that the brain. Studies show that at the genetic level by decreas- reduce oxidative stress in cells curcumin significantly reduces ing its production. including resveratrol, epigallo- the more harmful type that catechin gallate, genistein and
PNS No. 91 Turmeric Tu r m e r i c a n d c a n c e r Both epidemiological evidence reduce new blood vessel for- ney, pancreatic and prostate can- and clinical trials have shown that mation, and increase the proteins cers, leukemia, melanoma, and diet high in turmeric is protective in a cell that are responsible for its osteosarcoma. Turmeric is a member of the against certain types of cancers. own demise. Because of these A study in cell culture revealed ginger family. Research findings indicate that the properties, it can be used to treat that turmeric was in fact a highly compounds in turmeric are very cancer. In particular, curcumin potent agent against osteosarcoma effective in combatting cancer in seems to be involved in regulating cells by eliminating all cells after many ways. They inhibit the for- the expression of genes implicated treatment with an extract. mation of chemicals in the cell in cell growth, cell transformation, that allow cancerous changes and chemotherapy resistance, and in In addition to curcumin itself being increase chemicals that inhibit the formation and development of able to kill cancer cells, it also them. Curcumin, a polyphenol in new blood vessels. Curcumin enhances the action of convention- turmeric, increases components in seems to be effective in many al drugs used to treat cancer by cells that hasten irregular cell types of malignancies including making the cells more sensitive to death, stop abnormal cell growth, brain, breast, cervical, colon, kid- the drugs. Tu r m e r i c a n d a r t h r i t i s Arthritis is inflammation of one or an anti-inflammatory agent and to 100% in treated animals. Curcu- more joints. A joint is the area can therefore relieve symptoms in minoids and essential oils are more where two bones meet. There are conditions that are due to inflam- effective if the treatment starts over 100 different types of arthri- mation. Both the curcuminoids and before the joint is inflamed. In tis. The inflammation in the joints essential oils of turmeric have been addition, curcuminoids also pre- causes breakdown of the cartilage, found to be useful in reducing vent bone destruction by suppress- stiffness and swelling. There are arthritic symptoms. Curcuminoids ing genes that are involved in bone many types of conventional medi- reduce the synthesis of inflamma- turnover. Curcuminoids also help cations as well as dietary supple- tory molecules in the body that to maintain bone mineral content, ments used to treat arthritis. One cause arthritis. In animal studies, leading to reduced incidence of of those is turmeric. Turmeric is joint inflammation was reduced up osteoporosis. Turmeric can reduceTu r m e r i c a n d b l o o d g l u c o s e a n d l i p i d s inflammation. The metabolic syndrome is a clus- fed to diabetic mice in controlled feeding phase. The control animals tering of several factors such as feeding studies led to decreased had an increase in blood glucose obesity, diabetes, hypertension and blood glucose levels in mice re- throughout the study. When the its hallmarks are central obesity, ceiving various levels of turmeric animals were assessed for changes high blood lipids, glucose and for four weeks compared to the in gene expression, over 1100 insulin levels. Metabolic syn- control group. In another study, genes were found to be affected. drome can lead to diabetes without despite food intake being the same, There were several genes in glu- treatment. There are several drugs the animals fed turmeric at various cose metabolism, fatty acid synthe- that are used to treat blood lipids concentrations vs control diets, sis, and fat and cholesterol metab- and insulin levels. Turmeric has gained less weight and had smaller olism that were influenced by tur- the potential to be used as a natu- abdominal fat stores. They were meric feeding. Turmeric feeding ral compound to stabilize blood also able to maintain their blood had a positive effect on glucose lipids and glucose levels. Turmeric glucose levels normal during the and lipid levels in mice.
Tu r m e r i c a n d t r a d i t i o n a l u s e s Turmeric has been grown in India and the to the skin for the prevention and cure of skin other far eastern nations for over 4000 years conditions and ingested for clearing hepatic and it has been used as a culinary stable in conditions, ulcers and digestive disorders. It many cultures. It also has a place in many has also been used in the treatment of religious ceremonies. In Hinduism it is intestinal parasites and as a remedy for important particularly at weddings where a poisoning, snakebites, and various other necklace of turmeric is used in place of a complaints. Current traditional Asian wedding ring. It is used as a dye for holy medicine uses it against biliary disorders, robes and as a paste to decorate the skin for anorexia, coryza, cough, diabetic wounds, religious events. hepatic disorder, rheumatism and sinusitis. Turmeric has been used in Ayur Vedic Turmeric is also used for skincare. It is used Turmeric is used as coloring for the medicine and traditional Asian and African to brighten the skin, clean and exfoliate and turban. systems of medicine to treat a wide variety reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It is also used of ailments including arthritis, ulcers, for acne and to reduce oiliness. jaundice, wounds, fever, trauma as well as skin diseases such as psoriasis. It is appliedPennington Biomedical Research Center Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/VISION Aggarwal, S et al. Int. J. Cancer (2004) 111, 679-692.Our vision is to lead the world in eliminating chronic diseases. Funk, JL et al. J. Agric. Food chem. (2010) 58, 842-849.MISSION Funk, JL et al. J. Nat. Prod. (2006) 69, 351-355.Our mission is to discover the triggers of chronic diseases through innovative research that Hatchera, H et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 65 (2008) 1631 – 1652improves human health across the lifespan. We are helping people live Well Beyond the Negi, PS et al. J Agric. Food Chem. (1999) 47, 4297-4300.Expected. Wright, LE et al. J Agric. Food Chem. (2010) 58, 9498-9504.The Pennington Center has several research areas, including: Xiong, Z et al. Pharmacological Reports (2011) 63, 1101-1108. Ye, M-X, et al. Int. J. Mol. Sci. (2012) 13, 3959-3978. Clinical Obesity Research Zhang, C et al. J. Biol. Chem. (2010) 285, 28472-28480. Experimental Obesity Zhou H et al. Curr. Drug Targets (2012) 12(3), 332-337. Functional Foods Honda, S et al. J Agric. Food Chem. (2006) 54,9055-9062. Health and Performance Enhancement Nishiyama,T et al. J Agric. Food Chem. (2005) 53, 959-963. Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Nutrition and the Brain Dementia, Alzheimer’s and healthy aging Pennington Nutrition Series No 91 Diet, exercise, weight loss and weight loss maintenanceThe research fostered in these areas can have a profound impact on healthy living and on the Authorprevention of common chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertensionand osteoporosis. Heli J. Roy, PhD, MBA, RD Division of Education The Division of Education provides education and information to the scientific communityand the public about research findings, training programs and research areas, and coordinates Pennington Biomedical Research Centereducational events for the public on various health issues. We invite people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the exciting research studies Reviewed by Dr. Sita Aggarwalbeing conducted at the Pennington Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you would like totake part, visit the clinical trials web page at www.pbrc.edu or call (225) 763-3000. 6/12