We have already talked in the past of the magic wonders of turmeric, which are mainly due to its high curcumin content. And the more researchers dig into the properties of this compound, the more awesome stuff they found about it.
The newest findings have been made by researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
In this study researchers discovered that curcumin can cause a modest but measurable increase in levels of a protein that’s known to be important in the “innate” immune system, helping to prevent infection in humans.
The protein that helps our immune system fight off bacteria, viruses and fungi is called cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (or CAMP).
Until today, it was known that CAMP was increased by vitamin D. The fact that also curcumin is responsible for increasing CAMP could provide another tool to better health.
However, it has to be noted, that the impact of curcumin in this role is not easily potent as that of Vitamin D but, according to Adrian Gombart (an associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the Linus Pauling Institute), it has nonetheless have physiologic value.
Curcumin has also been studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
"Curcumin, as part of turmeric, is generally consumed in the diet at fairly low levels," Gombart said. "However, it's possible that sustained consumption over time may be healthy and help protect against infection, especially in the stomach and intestinal tract."
In this study, Chunxiao Guo, a graduate student, and Gombart looked at the potential of both curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids to increase expression of the CAMP gene.
They found no particular value with the omega-3 fatty acids for this purpose, but curcumin did have a clear effect. It caused levels of CAMP to almost triple.
The CAMP peptide is the only known antimicrobial peptide of its type in humans, researchers said. It appears to have the ability to kill a broad range of bacteria, including those that cause tuberculosis and protect against the development of sepsis.
This study’s findings are particularly relevant as they show that adding turmeric to your diet can really make a difference.
If you don’t know how to use it, you can look up for recipes on line: palak daal, thai chicken, bangladeshi beef curry are some of my favorites, and are all turmeric based.
I also like to use it in marinades for chicken and fish. It adds a lot of color and some good flavor.
Just remember to make use of it. It’s super cheap and super healthy!
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