There is more new research supporting the use of spices as a key way to prevent excessive free radical generation and oxidative stress. Studies have long noted that oxidative stress has been implicated in cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Decades of research has shown antioxidants hinder the oxidative processes and thereby delay or suppress oxidative stress and disease. The research on turmeric – that is on curcumin a molecule found in turmeric root -could not be more exciting.
Turmeric as antioxidant
The antioxidant activities associated with turmeric were the main focus of a new study. Antibacterial activity was explored against bacteria isolated from dental plaques and dental unit water lines exhibiting resistance against antibiotics and biocides respectively. On the basis of their results, these scientists suggested that “turmeric may confidently be recommended as natural antibiofilm (the collection of bacterias that make a “film.” and antioxidant agent.” 1 July 2016
Turmeric reduces systemic inflammation
Researchers suggested a significant effect of curcumin in lowering circulating IL-6 concentrations. This effect appears to be more evident in patients with higher degrees of systemic inflammation. 2 July 2016
Turmeric wakes up neural stem cells
In new research from February 2016 doctors found that curcumin treatment preserves neuronal viability against inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis associated with ischemia-reperfusion injury.1
What does this mean? Curcumin stimulates the neurorepair process in patients where blood supply was suppressed as in stroke victims.
This agrees with recent reports suggesting that bioactive compounds isolated from the rhizome (roots) of the turmeric family (Curcuma longa) of plants can address two key aspects of brain injury following stroke that must be dealt with for functional recovery to occur: the moderation of neuroinflammation, and the mobilization of endogenous stem cells resident in the nervous system. Emerging evidence may point an association with neural stem cell proliferation and survival.2
Turmeric for osteoarthritis
In new research forty patients with mild-to-moderate primary knee osteoarthritis were given curcuminoid capsules (1500 mg/day in 3 divided doses) for a period of 6 weeks. Curcuminoids were co-administered with piperine (15 mg/day) in order to improve the bioavailability. The doctors found short-term supplementation with curcuminoids attenuates systemic oxidative stress in patients with osteoarthritis and the antioxidant effects may account for the reported therapeutic effects of curcuminoids in relieving osteoarthritis symptoms.3
Turmeric, Peppers, and other Spice Antioxidants
Appearing in the medical journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, this new study notes that: “A host of spice compounds that act as antioxidants and their beneficial role in preventing or ameliorating oxidative-stress-mediated diseases, from atherosclerosis to diabetes to cataract to cancer are turmeric/curcumin, clove/eugenol, red pepper/capsaicin, black pepper/piperine, ginger/gingerol, garlic, onion, and fenugreek, which have been extensively studied and evidenced as potential antioxidants.” 4
New research confirms ancient wisdom
Herbs and spices have been used since ancient times to not only improve the flavor of edible food but also to prevent and treat chronic health maladies. While the scientific evidence for the use of such common herbs and medicinal plants then had been scarce or lacking, the beneficial effects observed from such use were generally encouraging. It is, therefore, not surprising that the tradition of using such herbs, perhaps even after the advent of modern medicine, has continued. More recently, due to an increased interest in understanding the nutritional effects of herbs/spices more comprehensively, several studies have examined the cellular and molecular modes of action of the active chemical components in herbs and their biological properties. Beneficial actions of herbs/spices include anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-hypertensive, gluco-regulatory, and anti-thrombotic effects. 4
1 Hayat S, Sabri AN. Screening for antibiofilm and antioxidant potential of turmeric (Curcuma longa) extracts. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2016 Jul;29(4):1163-70.
2 Derosa G, Maffioli P, Simental-Mendía LE, Bo S, Sahebkar A. EFFECT OF CURCUMIN ON CIRCULATING INTERLEUKIN-6 CONCENTRATIONS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS OF RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS.
Pharmacol Res. 2016 Jul 5. pii: S1043-6618(16)30392-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2016.07.004. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
1. Poser SW, Androutsellis-Theotokis A. Spicing up endogenous neural stem cells: aromatic-turmerone offers new possibilities for tackling neurodegeneration. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2014 Nov 17;5(6):127. doi: 10.1186/scrt517.
2. Gokce EC, Kahveci R, Gokce A, Sargon MF, Kisa U, Aksoy N, Cemil B, Erdogan B. Damage Induced by Spinal Cord Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in Rats. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2016 Feb 26. pii: S1052-3057(16)00021-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2016.01.008. [Epub ahead of print]
3. S, Sahebkar A. Mitigation of Systemic Oxidative Stress by Curcuminoids in Osteoarthritis: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Diet Suppl. 2015 Feb 17. [Epub ahead of print]
4. Srinivasan K. Antioxidant potential of spices and their active constituents. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(3):352-72. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.585525.