Newly published review explains how Curcumin works and the many illnesses that Curcumin improves

April 10, 2008

Researchers at the Department of Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital in London have just finished a major review of published studies regarding the benefits of Turmeric, also known as Curcumin. Curcumin is a natural polyphenol – a powerful protective ingredient from plants, used in ancient Asian medicine. Since the first article referring to the use of Curcumin to treat human disease was published in The Lancet in 1937, over 2,600 research studies using Curcumin have been published in English language journals. This article provides an overview of the extensive published literature on the use of Curcumin as a therapy for malignant and inflammatory diseases and its potential use in the treatment of degenerative neurological diseases, cystic fibrosis, and cardiovascular diseases. Despite the breadth of the coverage, particular emphasis is placed on the prevention and treatment of human cancers.
The many ways that Curcumin inhibits the formation of tumors are diverse and involve a combination of inhibiting inflammation, working as a potent and protective antioxidant, modifying-controlling and improving the function of the immune system, causing the unnatural cells to die, and decreasing their viability by disrupting their supply of blood and oxygen. Curcumin also favorably influences genes in multiple ways to inhibit the cancer process. Research also shows that when Curcumin is combined with other plant-polyphenols and various chemotherapeutic drugs there is a synergistic effect on cancer cells. This major review of published research appears in the March 2008 issue of the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling.

Mom's fish intake may boost child's brain power

Preschoolers whose mothers regularly ate low-mercury fish during pregnancy may have sharper minds than their peers. The researchers from Harvard found that among 341 3-year-olds, those whose mothers ate more than two servings of fish per week during pregnancy generally performed better on tests of verbal, visual and motor development (hand eye coordination). On the other hand, tests scores were lower among preschoolers whose mothers had relatively high mercury levels in their blood during pregnancy.
The children whose mothers had mercury levels in the top 10 percent of the study scored more poorly than those whose mothers had lower mercury levels. Only 2 percent of mothers who never ate fish during pregnancy had blood mercury levels that high, versus 23 percent of those who ate fish more than twice weekly. In other words mothers who regularly ate fish during pregnancy were more likely to have such mercury levels than non-fish-eaters.
Oily fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are important in fetal and child brain development. The problem is that fatty fish are more likely to be contaminated with mercury, a metal that is toxic to brain cells, particularly in fetuses and young children. "Recommendations for fish consumption during pregnancy should take into account the nutritional benefits of fish as well as the potential harms from mercury exposure," write the researchers, led by Dr. Emily Oken of Harvard Medical School. Although fish oils are very important for the pregnant mother and the development of the baby U.S. health officials currently recommend that pregnant women eat no more than 12 ounces, or roughly two servings, of fish per week. The researchers report their findings in the April 2008 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.