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Curcumin May Help Improve Vascular Health in Mature Adults

Curcumin is the pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow color.  A recent study suggests that taking curcumin supplements may improve endothelial-dependent dilation of blood vessels in mature adults.

Participants in the study included 29 people between the ages of 45 and 74 who were given either a 2,000 mg curcumin supplement or a placebo for 12 weeks. The researchers found that the curcumin group had a 34% increase in brachial artery flow-mediated dilation.

Flow-mediated dilation measures the ability of an artery to contract as blood flows through it and the higher your flow-mediated dilation, the better. Previous research suggests that every 1% reduction in flow-mediated dilation is associated with a 12% increased risk in developing cardiovascular problems.

Additionally, the researchers noted a 44% increase in brachial artery infusions of acetylcholine in the curcumin group. Acetylcholine relaxes blood vessels and release nitric oxide from the endothelium or lining of the blood vessels. The curcumin group also had an increase in nitric oxide bioavailability when compared with the placebo, which is good because nitric oxide is known to be a vasodilatory and vascular protective molecule.

Researchers from the University of Colorado conducted the study. It was presented at the 68th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America held the week of November 18, 2015.

Curcumin has been used in folk remedies for years to ease menstrual cramping, help heal wounds, and to improve the appearance of skin. Recent studies have suggested that it may also protect against prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and arthritis. All of these benefits are attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.

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