Category Archives: heart problems

Two more reasons to take turmeric: It protects your heart, fights autoimmune disease


by David Gutierrez, staff writer 

(NaturalNews) You may already have heard that turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer food, but did you know that it can also help protect your heart and fight autoimmune diseases?

In a study published in the journal Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin in 2011, researchers from Niigata University of Pharmacy and Applied Life Sciences in Japan found that three weeks of supplementation with the turmeric compound curcumin significantly improved cardiac health in male rats who had been given an injection to induce an autoimmune disease of the heart (autoimmune myocarditis). The rats supplemented with curcumin also showed a reduction in the area of the heart covered by inflammatory lesions and a reduction in the heart’s weight-to-body-weight ratio.

“Our results indicate that curcumin has the potential to protect against cardiac inflammation through suppression of IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, GATA-4 and NF-kB expresses, and may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for autoimmune myocarditis,” the researchers wrote.

Turmeric has the distinction of being both one of the most widely used culinary spices and traditional medicines in the world. Its benefits have been well studied by Western scientists, who attribute much of its disease-fighting prowess to a trio of naturally occurring yellow-orange chemicals called the curcuminoids (and sometimes known simply by the name of the most famous of them, curcumin).

As good for your heart as exercise

Turmeric is not just good for the hearts of people with autoimmune myocarditis; in fact, several studies conducted by researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan suggest that it may be as beneficial for your heart as aerobic exercise!

In a pair of studies published in the journals Artery Research and Nutrition Research in September and October 2012, respectively, the researchers found that women who took a curcumin supplement showed as much improvement in two measures of heart health (vascular endothelial function and arterial compliance) as women assigned to a moderate aerobic exercise training program. An even greater benefit was seen, of course, in those who took the supplements and engaged in the exercise program as well.

In another study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension in June 2012, the researchers found that a combined exercise and curcumin program significantly slowed age-related degeneration in the heart.

Turmeric battles hard-to-treat autoimmune conditions

Because turmeric is such a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, numerous studies have been conducted to see whether it could be effective in reducing the severity of inflammation-based autoimmune diseases.

In autoimmune diseases, the body is attacked by its own immune system. These diseases are still poorly understood, and most of them have no known cause or cure. Common autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, myocarditis, thyroiditis, uveitis, systemic lupus erythromatosis and myasthenia. An estimated 5 percent of the world’s population suffers from an autoimmune disease.

According to a research review published in the journal Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology in 2007, curcumin has been shown to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis in humans or animals. As expected, symptomatic relief comes, at least in part, from the regulation of inflammation pathways.

It should be noted that the body absorbs curcumin most effectively from turmeric root, rather than from supplements. In addition, the maximum benefit to nutraceuticals typically comes when they are consumed at low doses over a long period of time. Nevertheless, at least one trial suggests that daily curcumin doses of up to 8 g might be safe for up to four months or longer.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/39835

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.jointmints.com

http://www.naturalnews.com/040330_turmeric_heart_health_curcumin.html

BBC News – Being an optimist ‘may protect against heart problems’

Woman's smile

Being cheerful may protect against heart problems, say US experts.
Happy, optimistic people have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, a Harvard School of Public Health review of more than 200 studies – reported in Psychological Bulletin – suggests.
While such people may be generally healthier, scientists think a sense of well-being may lower risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Stress and depression have already been linked to heart disease.
The researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health trawled medical trial databases to find studies that had recorded psychological well-being and cardiovascular health.
This revealed that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness appeared to be linked associated with a reduced risk of heart and circulatory diseases, regardless of a person’s age, socio-economic status, smoking status or body weight.
Disease risk was 50% lower among the most optimistic individuals.

‘Not proof’

Dr Julia Boehm and colleagues stress that their work only suggests a link and is not proof that well-being buffers against heart disease.
And not only is it difficult to objectively measure well-being, other heart risk factors like cholesterol and diabetes are more important when it comes to reducing disease.
The people in the study who were more optimistic also engaged in healthier behaviours such as getting more exercising and eating a balanced diet, which will have some influence.
But even when they controlled for these factors and others, like sleep quality, the link between optimism and better heart health remained.
Although they looked at 200 studies, the researchers say this number is still not enough to draw firm conclusions and recommend more research.
Much of the past work on mood and heart disease has looked at stress and anxiety rather than happiness.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The association between heart disease and mental health is very complex and still not fully understood.
“Although this study didn’t look at the effects of stress, it does confirm what we already know which is psychological well-being is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, just like staying active and eating healthily.
“It also highlights the need for healthcare professionals to provide a holistic approach to care, taking into account the state of someone’s mental health and monitoring its effect on their physical health.”

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