Extraordinary health effects from curry spice

TURMERIC/CURCUMIN OUTPERFORMS STATINS

It’s difficult to refrain from hyperbole when reviewing the natural nutrient curcumin, found in the curry spice turmeric. It may well outperform statins and other arthritis, heart and dementia drugs – all without side effects.

Probably the most prestigious database for health researchers is the US National Library of Medicine, Institutes of Health. This is the conclusion of a meta-survey, published on their site under the heading Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials.

“Extensive clinical trials over the past quarter century have shown the safety and efficacy of this nutraceutical against numerous diseases in humans.

“Promising effects have been observed in patients with various pro-inflammatory diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel disease, gastric ulcer, gastric inflammation, psoriasis, acute coronary syndrome, atherosclerosis, diabetes, renal conditions, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and chronic bacterial prostatitis.”

The meta-survey makes the very important point that almost all drugs are ‘mono-targeted smart drugs’ – that is, they target just one pathway in the development of a disease.

Yet, as the authors further point out, cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological diseases, metabolic diseases, as well as cancer, are caused by abnormalities in multiple pathways.

“Thus, attacking only one of these multiple pathways is highly unlikely to be effective.”

In contrast, a compound that helps prevent multiple pathways from creating the abnormalities that lead to disease is a true wonder nutraceutical – ie. a natural compound that has pharmacological effects. And that’s exactly what curcumin does.

Curcumin fights so many life threatening and diminishing illnesses is because it is an all-rounder.

“It has been shown to exhibit anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer activities.” – MD Anderson Cancer Center

So curcumin fights excess free radicals and inflammation simultaneously – and since these two threats lie at the heart of almost all age-related disease, you can see why it is a vital component of a nutritional supplement that should extend health.

Extraordinary health effects from curry spice NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals ‘Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides’
Journal of Drug Research and Development‘Reduces amyloid plaque in the brain’
Journal of Biological Chemistry

‘Relieves rheumatoid arthritis pain’
Journal of Phytotherapy Research

‘Effective against the onset of Type 2 Diabetes’
Journals of the American Diabetes Association

‘Inhibits the onset of cataracts’
Journal of Investigative Opthalmology and Vision Science

Extraordinary health effects from curry spice NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Anti-inflammation – fighting the underlying causes of ageing and age-related illness

In all, there have been over 5,000 studies on curcumin and its preventative effects. But why does it have such a positive effect on such a wide variety of illnesses?

A key reason is that it fights a problem that probably the majority of people over 50 suffer from.

That problem is chronic, sub-clinical inflammation. ‘Chronic’ means continuous and ‘sub-clinical’ means undetectable – at least without a specific test called a CRP test.

Because you don’t feel or see this type of internal, tissue-damaging inflammation, Time magazine has called it ‘The Silent Killer’. And suggests that,

“Instead of different treatments for heart disease, Alzheimer’s and colon cancer, there might be a single remedy that would prevent all three.”

 Extraordinary health effects from curry spice NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

New Scientist recently confirmed that chronic inflammation is involved in “… muscle wasting and glaucoma, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and arthritis, heart failure and high blood pressure, cancers, and lung, liver, kidney and skin disorders.”

Russell Tracy, Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry, University of Vermont College of Medicine, is clear:  “Inflammatory factors predict virtually all bad outcomes in humans … having heart attacks, having heart failure, becoming diabetic … becoming fragile in old age … cognitive function decline, even cancer to a certain extent.”

If inflammation is the driver of so many age related diseases, then anti-inflammatory compounds and diets are vital to improved health and longevity.

Anti-cancer

Curcumin is possibly the strongest natural anti-inflammatory nutrient ever discovered, switching off a range of inflammatory genes, via a protein complex called the NF-kB pathway.  This is really significant because the MD Anderson Cancer Center has found the NF-kB pathway was active in a great majority of early cancers.

There is a lot of current research on curcumin’s anti-cancer properties. Because there are over 200 different types of cancer, cancer develops via multiple pathways. As we’ve seen, curcumin affects multiple pathways, increasing the activity of some, inhibiting the activity levels of others. And one promising direction is its use in combination with chemotherapy drugs.

Anti-ageing

Curcumin also may have anti-ageing effects. When researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies fed old mice with curcumin they found that their blood vessels were normalised with reduced brain inflammation and lower levels of oxidation.

Anti-bacterial

A recent study even showed that turmeric stimulates the production of immune cells called macrophages and in doing so was able to remove a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis – the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.

Yet another study showed it is effective against the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which causes gastritis, peptic ulcers and is implicated in gastric cancer.

Anti-dementia

In another significant study, a group of healthy 40-60 year-olds were given either a placebo or lipated curcumin ie. curcumin in or with oil.

Within 4 weeks the curcumin group saw a reduction in triglyceride levels (heart protective), a reduction in beta amyloid proteins (dementia protective) and a reduction in free radical formation (protection against abnormal cells).

The reduction in beta amyloid proteins is very significant. Research shows that curcumin can cross the blood brain barrier and not only helps inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta-amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, (ie. preventative) but also breaks up existing plaques associated with the disease (ie. may well help improve an existing condition).

People with Alzheimer’s tend to have higher levels of inflammation in their brains, and curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory.

Anti-arthritis

Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the activity of COX2 and 5-LOX enzymes, which are pro-inflammatory. That same protective effect has direct implications for preventing or alleviating osteoarthritis – because COX2 and 5-LOX are drivers of the inflammation behind this condition too.

Even more effective when bio-availability can be improved

Pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, cholesterol reducer, potential cognitive enhancer, even skin improver and immune booster – yet the effects of this wonder nutrient can be further improved.

Curcumin has one drawback – it normally has low bioavailability UNLESS it is consumed at the same time as oil. The best choice for that would be alongside Omega 3 oil, because that not only helps increase bio-availability but adds another level of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect.

Based on the results of many clinical trials, you need to look for a standardised curcumin at a preventative dose of 250 mg per day – higher for an existing condition. (Standardisation means that the active ingredients are concentrated and made up to a consistent level).

To see a combination of curcumin with Omega 3 and other natural nutrients (lycopene, vitamin D3, green tea catechins, polyphenols) that have multiple pathway effects, including positive effects on gene expression, check out the premium supplement NutriShield. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button below.

 


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Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthExtraordinary health effects from curry spice NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients, including ALL those mentioned above. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.

Extraordinary health effects from curry spice NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsDr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from most good bookstores. See the website www.healthdefence.com for excerpts and links to buy direct from the publisher.


REFERENCES

Subash C. GuptaSridevi Patchva, and Bharat B. Aggarwal Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials The AAPS Journal: January 2013, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 195-218

Disilvestro RA, Joseph E, Zhao S, Joshua B. Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lipidated curcumin in healthy middle aged people. Nutr J. 2012;11(1):79. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-79.[PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

Gupta SC, Patchva S, Koh W, Aggarwal BB. Discovery of curcumin, a component of golden spice, and its miraculous biological activities. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012;39(3):283–299. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2011.05648.x. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

Dhillon N, Aggarwal BB, Newman RA, Wolff RA, Kunnumakkara AB, Abbruzzese JL, et al. Phase II trial of curcumin in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2008;14(14):4491–4499. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-0024. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

 

 

What vitamins should I take?

Dr Paul Clayton


Most people consider a vitamin supplement for two reasons. First, to make sure they are not deficient in any important vitamin or mineral. The second reason is to help reduce the risk of long term health problems.

Important research shows that achieving the first (preventing deficiency) does not necessarily achieve the second (reducing the risk of declining health as you get older).

Preventing Deficiency
We still often hear that you can get all the nutrition you need from a well-balanced diet. That might well have been true 50 or 60 years ago, when we were far more physically active, ate more food and consumed fewer empty calories; and if by ‘all the nutrition you need’ you only mean the rather limited range of vitamins and minerals for which there is an RDA (Recommended Daily Amount).

The RDA concept is very much in doubt today. There is good evidence that some of the recommended levels are far too low to sustain good health – vitamin D is a case in point. And to make matters worse, we now know that the A-Z vitamins and minerals are by no means the only nutrients that are critical for health, for example they ignore the critically important omega 3s and a wide range of phytonutrients – nutrients from plants.

Insufficiency is today’s problem
Why the difference between 60 years ago and now? Because today, our low-energy, sedentary, and largely indoor lifestyles mean that most people have had to cut their average daily food intake to about 2,000 – 2,500 calories a day if they are not to put on weight.

Thanks to the food industry, many of us eat far more processed foods, and far more empty calories. And in any case, even if you choose and mix your foods scrupulously, you cannot get a full range of nutrients at today’s calorie intakes.

The data confirm this. The Journal of Nutrition (August 2011) reported on a three-year study surveying the dietary habits of over 16,000 Americans. It found that a significant portion of the population consistently fails to meet even the minimal intakes recommended in the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for many key nutrients. UK data shows the same trend.

In the USA, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006 reviewed the average intake of 19 micronutrients in 16,110 people. They found that:

  • 25% do not get enough Vitamin C
  • 34% do not get enough Vitamin A
  • 38% do not get enough Calcium
  • 45% do not get enough Magnesium
  • 60% do not get enough Vitamin E and
  • 70% do not get enough Vitamin D
  •  

RDA is not the amount needed for optimum health
The minimum daily requirement for a nutrient is normally defined as the lowest amount that can be taken in order to not develop a “deficiency” and its associated disease or health condition.

Vitamin C
For example, the RDA for Vitamin C is 60mg in the UK and 90 mg in USA. Less than this amount over an extended period and you will develop scurvy. But although taking 60/90 mg will prevent scurvy (which is not exactly a major health problem!), it is not the amount needed for optimal health.

Indeed the US National Institutes of Health confirmed that “scientific evidence indicates that an increased intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cataract, probably through antioxidant mechanisms. It is likely that the amount of vitamin C required to prevent scurvy is not sufficient to optimally protect against these diseases.”

Vitamin D
Another example: Up to 70% of people in northern countries are deficient in vitamin D. Yet every cell in your body needs vitamin D to function at its best, and deficiencies are responsible for high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, and impaired immune function.

As a result, low vitamin D is also associated with loss of bone density, increased risk of cancer, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

What of nutrients with no RDAs?
But these are just nutrients for which there ARE RDAs. We now know that some of the most important nutrients for long term health have not yet had RDAs established for them; such as the omega 3 fatty acids and the polyphenols, two classes of nutrient that have critically important anti-inflammatory properties.

Omega 3
There is overwhelming evidence that Omega 3 fish oil is heart-protective, helps to protect brain function and has a role to play in reducing the risk of cancer. But few people have sufficient Omega 3 in their normal diet. You would need to eat 3-4 portions of oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines or wild salmon (not farmed) a week.

Polyphenols
There is equally good evidence to support the importance of polyphenols (a group of phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables) to our long-term health, so much so that the American Cancer Society and many other authorities now recommend 9 portions of fruit and vegetables a day!

Anti-inflammatory nutrients are key
Why do we need these anti-inflammatory nutrients? Because they protect us against so-called ‘chronic sub-clinical inflammation’, an insidious and invisible process that develops in our tissues and which is now known to drive all the degenerative diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer’s to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and osteoporosis; not to mention sexual dysfunction, ageing of the skin, and indeed the bulk of the ageing process.

Preventing deficiency is not enough
It now becomes much clearer why you should consider a supplement – and why that supplement needs to go beyond a simple vitamin and mineral pill.

Up to the age of about 50, the aim of a well-designed supplement should be to ensure you have a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, plus adequate Omega 3 fish oil, plus polyphenols including flavonoids.

To recap, Omega 3’s and polyphenols are important because they are anti-inflammatory nutrients which protect us from the silent danger of chronic sub-clinical inflammation; the trigger for the health problems we formerly assumed would inevitably increase with age. As Scientific American confirmed in a major review:

“Inflammation is an underlying contributor to virtually every chronic disease … rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, diabetes and depression, along with major killers such as heart disease and stroke. The connection between inflammation and cancer has now moved to center stage in the research arena.”

Reduce pro-inflammatory factors and increase anti-inflammatory vitamins
These dangers can be lessened by taking two simple steps. Firstly, we must reduce pro-inflammatory factors in our lifestyle, like high temperature cooking and fast foods; and secondly, we should increase the level of anti-inflammatory nutrients in our diet. That’s why increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables and oily fish in your diet – which provide the key anti-inflammatory nutrients – is so important.

And that’s why I also recommend Omega 3 and polyphenol supplements – such as from curcumin, green tea and grapeseed extract. They are powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients.

You need these elements even in your 30s and 40s because over time, inflammation causes slowly progressive damage in the tissues. The symptoms of heart disease or osteoporosis, for example, may only become overt in your 60s or 70s – but the damage leading up to the emergence of clinical symptoms had been gradually accumulating for decades.

Over 50s need even more vitamins and nutrients
Over the age of 50, when the powers of healing and regeneration are no longer as effective as they were in youth, there are further protective supplement steps you can take. For example, the evidence for the carotenoid supplements such as beta carotene, lutein and lycopene is persuasive. Lutein appears to have a protective effect for eyes and the laboratory research for the anti-cancer effect of lycopene is increasingly convincing.

I would also add Co-enzyme Q10 and Betaine. CoQ10 helps the transfer of energy from food, and the little-known quasi B vitamin Betaine in combination with certain B vitamins helps lower homocysteine levels, which are linked to lower heart disease risk.

Soy isoflavones are one of the dietary elements that contribute to the generally better health and life expectancy of the Japanese. If you don’t eat much soy, then supplementation is worthwhile.

Reproducing the world’s healthiest diets
All these nutrients occur in high levels in the diets of those societies that have a long life expectancy and HEALTH expectancy. It’s a combination designed to reproduce the elements in an ideal diet.

It’s also a combination that I recommend if you have already been diagnosed with a health issue like diabetes or angina. Because although food and supplements cannot treat or cure age-related disease, they can create a climate in the body where disease is less likely to develop or worsen, and where the body’s own ability to heal itself is supported.

So which vitamins to take?
Don’t bother with vitamin and mineral supplements labelled as being especially for women or men. These are marketing gimmicks. We’re all human and we all need almost the same vitamins and minerals.

The only exception is iron. Iron in men and post-menopausal women can potentially accumulate to the point where it becomes pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidative, so I would not include it in an all-purpose supplement. But pre-menopausal women should include it. Some women may also benefit from extra calcium, although if you have regular dairy products and leafy green vegetables, you should have adequate calcium.

Don’t bother with specialist supplements either – for eyes or heart or for the brain. Why try to protect one vital organ and leave others undefended? Especially when the secret of long-term brain, eye, heart and indeed sexual health, lies in reducing the tissue damage inflicted by chronic inflammation.

You should also take your chosen supplement with a meal. This will help absorption.

My final point. You’ll have read attacks in the press on vitamin supplements. However, a careful reading of the reports behind the headlines reveals that the criticisms are largely based on the conclusion that one-a-day vitamin and mineral supplements have little effect on reducing age-related diseases. You can now see why this is true, as most of these rather threadbare supplements are only designed to avoid deficiency diseases. They have little or no anti-inflammatory effect and cannot combat the key driver of age-related health decline, namely chronic inflammation. Only a comprehensive nutrient support programme can do that.


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8. Royer MC, Lemaire-Ewing S, Desrumaux C, Monier S, Pais de Barros JP, Athias A, Néel D, Lagrost L. 7-ketocholesterol incorporation into sphingolipid/cholesterol-enriched (lipid raft) domains is impaired by vitamin E: a specific role for alpha-tocopherol with consequences on cell death. J Biol Chem. 2009 Jun 5;284(23):15826-34
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10. Ren Z, Pae M, Dao MC, Smith D, Meydani SN, Wu D. Dietary supplementation with tocotrienols enhances immune function in C57BL/6 mice. J Nutr. 2010 Jul;140(7):1335-41
11. Sen CK, Khanna S, Roy S. Tocotrienols in health and disease: the other half of the natural vitamin E family. Mol Aspects Med. 2007 Oct-Dec;28(5-6):692-728. Epub 2007 Mar 27. Review.
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13. Pierpaoli E, Viola V, Pilolli F, Piroddi M, Galli F, Provinciali M. Gamma- and delta-tocotrienols exert a more potent anticancer effect than alpha-tocopheryl succinate on breast cancer cell lines irrespective of HER-2/neu expression. Life Sci. 2010 Apr 24;86(17-18):668-75
14. Grant WB, Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ, Whiting SJ. An estimate of the economic burden and premature deaths due to vitamin D deficiency in Canada. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2010 March 29th.Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200900420
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