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
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
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