Monday, January 28, 2013


Turmeric has a unique dietary role under the Indian cooking system and there is practically no curry preparation without the presence of this ubiquitous natural condiment. With almost all artificial colors being weeded out of human diet because of the health risks associated with them, Turmeric emerged as a rich source of natural yellow color which is available to day across the world for food industry to use in hundreds of processed food products. More than the color, Turmeric is recognized as a food component with medicinal effects. Besides its antibacterial credentials, the Curcumin that is present in it is considered as an anti inflammatory substance possessing properties to combat a number of human diseases linked to inflammation. Here is the latest findings on Curcumin which seem to be opening new avenues for its effective use in counteracting human diseases among population across the world.. 

"Turmeric has been used widely in Indian cooking for thousands of years, and, in the past two decades, hundreds of studies have determined curcumin helps fight arthritic inflammation, reduces cancer risk and slows the onset of diabetes, said Sukumar, co-director of the breast cancer programme at Johns Hopkins. Curcumin is a potent inhibitor of inflammation, which can exacerbate rheumatoid arthritis and spur cancerous growths, according to Sukumar. The compound inhibits a molecule called NF-kB that plays a key role in initiating inflammation. "What curcumin does is blunt this pathway. That's how it is able to mediate its effect," Sukumar said. Consuming curcumin also has been shown to repair skin damage caused by radiation therapy for cancer, she said. Maitra, Sukumar's colleague, began working a few years ago on a water-soluble form of curcumin that can be taken in pill form. That formulation is still in the experimental stages. The body doesn't readily absorb curcumin so a person has to consume several grams of curcumin a day to get the health benefits, Sukumar said. Pills containing unaltered curcumin are on the market. "The other way, the preferable way, is to add (turmeric) to everything you cook," Sukumar said. To get the full benefits, dissolve turmeric in warm oil and add it to foods, she said".

It is true that Curcumin is not water soluble and most of it, consumed through oral route, does not get absorbed across the intestine having only limited effect on flora associated with the gut. The attempt to increase absorption through its solubilization and creating ready to take preparations like tablets or pills is a welcome effort. Since Indian culinary preparations contain high levels of Turmeric even the limited solubility does help getting adequate quantity into the blood stream to derive the benefits attributed to this food adjunct. It is for those population which do not like the typical flavor of Turmeric in the food, camouflaged preparations are necessary to deliver sufficient dosage to confer the benefit. 

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