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 [...]
The health benefits of turmeric have been known for centuries. Considered to be a spice that cleanses the whole body, especially the liver, it is used to support digestion and to treat fever, infection and inflammation. It's been hailed to prevent ... [...]
I detailed turmeric's health benefits in last week's post and shared how to eat it in order to draw out its goodness. I also promised you more therapeutic recipes using this wondrous, golden root. Here they are! Note: turmeric will stain most things ... [...]
Dried, ground turmeric has long been added to curries, mustards and rice dishes. But it can also be used to bolster the colour and flavour of such things as salad dressings, scrambled eggs, vegetable dishes, quinoa pilaf, fish stews, soups, sweets and ... [...]
Nearly 70 percent of workers surveyed have seen their health care costs increase over the past two years, according to the 2016 Workplace Benefits Report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. .... The ginger and turmeric my wife adds it to the legumes. [...]
Over the last few decades, more than 3,000 publications have reported on turmeric's health benefits to include boosting immunity. These have been identified through a variety of clinical trials testing curcumin's effects on chronic diseases associated ... [...]
The journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology" published a study that found that turmeric's active compound, curcumin prevented spikes in blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity. They concluded that the benefits of turmeric might be due in part to ... [...]
An ancient cousin root of the ginger family has gained popularity in recent years because of its health benefits. Turmeric, which has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries, may help fight drug-resistant Tuberculosis (TB), a new ... [...]