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The effects of curcumin in healthy people
Supplementation with curcumin, the active substance in turmeric, may delay the speed with which hair turns grey. One effect that it definitely has is to cause a dramatic rise in the concentration of NO, which widens blood vessels. And there are more effects, according to research published by nutritional scientists from Ohio State University in Nutrition Journal. This is one of the first studies of the effects of curcumin supplementation on healthy people.
Optimized Curcumin contains not only curcumin but also a proprietary blend of soya-lecithin and vitamin C, and the gelling agents stearic acid dextrin and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose. According to the manufacturer, this mixture enhances the body’s uptake of the curcumin.
The researchers gave curcumin or a placebo to two groups of 19 subjects, aged 40-60, daily for a period of four weeks.
To start with the triglyceride concentration went down by 10 percent. Nothing happened to the subjects' cholesterol levels.
The NO concentration in the blood rose considerably. That suggests that curcumin can reduce blood pressure and keep blood vessel walls supple. But NO is also interesting for athletes, because some studies suggest that more NO boosts stamina and possibly muscle growth too.
The concentration of the soluble intercellular adhesion molecule [sICAM] went down, which may mean that curcumin inhibits hardening of the arteries.
In the subjects' saliva the amylase activity declined. Amylase is an enzyme that splits starchy substances up into glucose molecules. The total antioxidant activity rose.
And in the blood the activity of the endogenous antioxidant enzyme catalase rose too. Catalase converts hydrogen peroxide into water. Hair turns grey when the catalase activity decreases in the cells that make the hairs. Whether that means that you can delay the moment at which your hair starts to turn grey, the researchers don't say.
Lastly, the activity of the beta-amyloid protein decreased in the blood of the subjects. The effect was not large, but it is possible that high doses of curcumin may protect brain cells from diseases such as Alzheimer's.