Take that blockbuster botanical, turmeric (Curcuma longa), which was the top-selling herbal dietary supplement in the natural channel for the third year in a row in 2015, logging total sales of more than $37 million and sales growth of over 32.2% vis-à-vis the preceding year, per the American Botanical Council’s (ABC; Austin, TX) annual HerbalGram report of top-selling herbal dietary supplements in the U.S. market.
Prized for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of its active component curcumin, turmeric and curcumin have been the subject of research into their potency in relieving everything from rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease to neurodegenerative disorders. Brien Quirk, director of R&D, Draco Natural Products (San Jose, CA), adds that the botanical may also play a role in sports nutrition, “as animal studies have found that curcumin can increase the production of the mitochondrial ‘energy power plants’ of muscle cells.”
Also attracting attention is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), which “is becoming one of the fastest-growing products in the brain health category,” says Deanne Dolnick, science director, TR Nutritionals (Alpharetta, GA), as “early research shows that it may improve brain function and memory.” Ayurvedic practitioners regularly deploy ashwagandha against inflammation, stress, fatigue, and immune issues.
An eight-week randomized controlled trial published in December 2015 found that an ashwagandha root extract increased strength and muscle mass in 57 males undergoing resistance training, notes ABC’s HerbalGram report. Trikha says that Natreon is already conducting new studies on the role its branded ashwagandha ingredient may play in sports nutrition. No wonder ashwagandha had the highest percentage growth in the natural channel—40.9% from 2014 to 2015—according to HerbalGram.
Shaheen Majeed, president, Sabinsa Worldwide (East Windsor, NJ), notes that the seeds of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum [...]
The endothelium is the inner lining of our blood vessels. Laid end-to-end, endothelial cells from a single human would wrap more than four times around the world. And it’s not just an inert layer; it’s highly metabolically active. I’ve talked before about how sensitive our endothelium is to oxidation (The Power of NO) and inflammation (The Leaky Gut Theory). If we don’t take care of it, endothelial dysfunction may set us up for heart disease or a stroke. Are we ready to heed our endothelium’s early warning signal?
If it’s all about oxidation and inflammation, then fruits and vegetables should help. And indeed it appears they do. Each daily serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 6% improvement in endothelial function. These fruit- and vegetable-associated improvements in endothelial function are in contrast to several negative vitamin C pill studies that failed to show a benefit. It can be concluded that the positive findings of the fruit and vegetable study are not just because of any one nutrient in fruits and veggies. Rather than searching for the single magic bullet micronutrient, a more practical approach is likely to consider whole foods. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is likely to have numerous benefits due to synergistic effects of the plethora of wonderful nutrients in plants.
Exercise helps our endothelial cells, too, but what type of exercise helps best? Patients were randomized into four groups: aerobic exercise (cycling for an hour a day), resistance training (using weights and elastic bands), both, or neither. The aerobic group kicked butt. The resistance group kicked butt. The aerobic and resistance group kicked butt, too. The only group who didn’t kick butt was the group who sat on their butts. Our endothelium doesn’t care if we’re on a bike or lifting weights, as long as we’re getting physical activity regularly. If we stop exercising, our endothelial function plummets.
Antioxidant pills don’t help, bu [...]
One of the key things I wanted to point out on Dr. Oz was the link between estrogen and breast cancer, and how estrogen (and certain foods) can fuel breast disease. Turmeric helps decrease estrogen. As little as one teaspoon a day has been shown to reduce tumor growth. Get your daily dose by mixing it into salad dressings, rice or vegetable dishes [...]
The team now has launched efforts to combine curcumin with other natural compounds to discover a new combination with enhanced anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant proper ties. "The absorption rate of curcumin in human body is low. We can ... [...]
Curcumin may be the only natural compound that eases pain, reduces inflammation, stops free radical damage, alleviates depression, and protects cellular processes throughout the body.1,2. Although most curcumin extracts can be difficult for the body to ... [...]
The chemical in turmeric that gives the root its distinctive yellow color and spicy, bitter flavor may also help treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, according to a new study published in Respirology. Tuberculosis (TB) that's resistant to most ... [...]
Acupuncture combined with oral curcumin intake protects the liver from fibrosis. Curcumin is the chief curcuminoid in turmeric (Jiang Huang, Rhizoma Curcumae Longae). Curcumin is bright yellow, hence the name ginger yellow in Chinese. Jiang is ... [...]
Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, a member of the ginger family. Although turmeric is best known as an ingredient in curry, it has been prized for thousands of years within Ayurvedic medicine for treating a variety of conditions ... [...]
Researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have discovered that antioxidants promote the growth of liver cancer cells. Liver cancer patients are hence recommended against taking high doses of antioxidant supplements. [...]