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What ‘National Lampoon’ Can Teach Us Page 1
Feeling Crafty This Fall? Testimonial Page 2
Physical Therapy for Diabetes Treatment Easy Holiday Party Cheese Fondue Page 3
The Secrets of Turmeric Page 4
THE TRUTH About Turmeric The Secrets of the Yellow Spice For thousands of years, sunny yellow turmeric has been a staple in curries as well as a spice renowned for its ability to treat a vast number of ailments. In recent years, this South Asian native has become a sort of “spice-of-all-trades.” Turmeric’s popularity has surged throughout North America. People are adding it to food and using it to treat everything from arthritis to heartburn. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the spice can treat just about every kind of inflammation, whether it’s joint pain or a headache. Have a stomachache or nausea? Try turmeric. Have a mild rash or burn on your skin? Try turmeric. Current studies are even looking into turmeric’s effectiveness as a treatment for diabetes and dementia. When one substance is purported to have near-magical healing powers, you have to remember to take it with an additional dose of skepticism. Can one spice really cure everything that ails you? Let’s ask science. Researchers have identified over 20 distinct compounds that work similar to NSAIDs (such as aspirin and ibuprofen). Of those compounds, six are COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 is an enzyme that causes inflammation and pain in the body.
In short, these six compounds help block the enzymatic reaction that triggers inflammation. One of these compounds is called curcumin, which is often considered the active ingredient in turmeric. An article published in the medical journal Nutrition and Cancer found that, by weight, pure turmeric powder contains 3.14 percent curcumin. However, clinical trials of curcumin have produced less-than-stellar results. A comprehensive review of 120 studies of curcumin, published in 2017 in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, found no evidence that the compound produced positive results as an anti-inflammatory or antioxidant. In fact, researchers found curcumin to be an, “unstable, reactive, non-bioavailable compound.” So, what does this mean for people who use turmeric for its medicinal properties? If it works for you, continue to use it. If you’ve thought about adding it to your diet, give it a try. It’s safe to use, and studies have shown virtually no toxicity, even in high doses.
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