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Turmeric, two very recent studies shed light on important beneficial properties

July 01, 2023
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Turmeric, two very recent studies shed light on important beneficial properties

Turmeric is a precious spice for our health, more and more scientific studies prove it. And today we are talking about the results of two very recent researches, published a few days ago and that demonstrate that turmeric protects the muscles from the risk of sarcopenia and fights cancer, especially that of the colon. So let's take a closer look at these two studies.

How turmeric counteracts the growth and proliferation of tumors

The first research was published in the journal Cell Death & Differentiation of the prestigious Nature group by a team of German scientists from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Liu et al, Cell Death & Differentiation, 2023). The study dealt with understanding a possible protective action of curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, against colon cancer. This cellular degeneration has a characteristic and that is that in more than half of the cases a mutation occurs at the level of the cells, which inactivates an important defense mechanism given by the p53 protein. This protein, when functioning, is able to recognize any alterations in the DNA and, through the release of another molecule, miR-34, blocks the life cycle of the cell and induces apoptosis. As we have mentioned, however, some cellular degeneration manages to inactivate this mechanism. Well, German scientists have demonstrated, through laboratory experiments, that curcumin is able to activate miR-34 through alternative mechanisms, thus re-establishing the body's natural protection against tumors. What happens is incredible. Curcumin shows a double action, antioxidant when it comes to healthy cells while it is capable of stimulating free radicals when it comes to diseased cells. Hence, curcumin induces an increased release of free radicals in cancer cells. This increase in free radicals activates a mechanism that leads to the release of miR-34, which is thus able to arrest cell growth and induce apoptosis, which is cell death, and subsequent elimination. Not only that, another effect of curcumin is to suppress any proliferation and migration of diseased cells. However, what has been observed should not lead us to believe that turmeric is an alternative to medicine. The anticancer action of turmeric is noteworthy but should be considered as part of a lifestyle aimed at preventing cellular degeneration and strengthening the body, not as a cure. Perhaps, however, this research can open up important future scenarios in which curcumin can be used as an adjuvant in some therapies.

Turmeric against muscle loss

The second research was published in the journal Nutrients (Gany et al, Nutrients, 2023). This is a review that analyzed and compared results of previous studies regarding the action of turmeric on muscles. Sarcopenia is a condition characterized by a progressive loss of muscle mass, strength and function as we age. At the basis of the development of sarcopenia we find an increase in the levels of inflammation and free radicals. Turmeric, since it is characterized by an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, is beneficial for muscle health. Not only that, turmeric has been shown to counter muscle degenerations by upregulating genes related to protein synthesis while suppressing genes related to muscle breakdown.

In addition to this, turmeric protects the mitochondria, which are organelles responsible for the production of energy, of muscle cells.

Conclusions

The studies are clearly noteworthy and show once again the importance of including turmeric in one's diet, to counteract inflammation, free radicals, loss of muscle mass and cellular degeneration. Turmeric should always be associated with a fat, such as extra virgin olive oil, and with pepper to increase the absorption of curcumin, which would otherwise be very limited, failing to overcome the stomach barrier. Here you can mix, in a small bowl, a teaspoon of turmeric, a grind of black pepper and extra virgin olive oil, in this way you have an excellent dressing for salads, very healthy.

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