Saturday, August 3, 2013
Turmeric Matches Prozac and is also a Liver Tonic
Essentially the benefit is the same while lacking the nasty side effect. Turmeric needs to be in the diet of everyone. It never was a significant flavor enhancer but it is certainly clear why it was added to the spice blend as a matter of course. It is why curries are yellow.
The other item establishes pretty clearly that it is also a powerful liver tonic. This needs to be used more plentifully by chronic drinkers. In fact, someone needs to create an appropriate bar food using enough. The story line is great.
Otherwise sauté with onions and use as a garnish with carrots. That should work well and carrots need a little extra. It may also go well in kimchi.
Groundbreaking Study Finds Turmeric Extract Superior to Prozac for Depression
24th July 2013
By Sayer Ji
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
A new study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research has confirmed for the first time in a randomized, controlled clinical trial that the primary polyphenol in turmeric – known as curcumin – is both safe and effective in treating serious states of depression.
The research was performed at the Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India, and involved patients already diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). The objective of the trial was to compare the efficacy and safety of curcumin with fluoxetine (Prozac) in 60 patients diagnosed with MDD. Subjects were randomized to receive either a six week treatment with fluoxetine (20 mg) and curcumin (1000 mg), individually or in combination.
Success of the treatment was evaluated using the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17). The results were reported as follows:
“We observed that curcumin was well tolerated by all the patients. The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D17 scale was higher in the combination group (77.8%) than in the fluoxetine [Prozac] (64.7%) and the curcumin (62.5%) groups; however, these data were not statistically significant (P = 0.58).
“Interestingly, the mean change in HAM-D17 score at the end of six weeks was comparable in all three groups (P = 0.77). This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.”
If the results of this relatively small trial are applicable to a wider population, this is truly groundbreaking news. There was already a rather sizable body of preclinical research indicating that curcumin is an effective antidepressant in the animal model, but this was not enough to sway most physicians who practice so-called “evidence based medicine” into actually suggesting it to patients as a Prozac or antidepressant alternative.
And this is understandable, as the lack of solid human clinical evidence supporting the use of a natural substance is no small matter from a legal-regulatory perspective. Unless a substance has passed through the approximately 800 million dollar financial gauntlet of phase I, II, and III clinical trials required to apply for FDA drug approval, and has actually received that approval, there is scant legal protection for those who use natural medicines to prevent or treat disease, and who might face a lawsuit (frivolous or genuine) as a result of a claim of injury.
Curcumin, of course, is extremely safe, with a 2010 phase I safety study finding that oral doses as high as 8 grams a day were well tolerated. Fluoxetine, on the other hand, is highly controversial due to its well-known toxicity, and its laundry list of side effects, which include suicidal ideation (not a good side effect for someone already depressed!).
Also, even though it would appear the study found that curcumin and Prozac were equivalent in effectiveness, the fact that curcumin comes “… without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders,” clearly proves its superiority over Prozac. There are also a wide range of additional side benefits that come with using curcumin, including its powerful neuroprotective properties. You will find no less than 109 studies on GreenMedInfo’s database documenting curcumin’s ability to protect, and in some cases restore brain function. [see research here: curcumin's neuroprotective properties]
Studies like this are greatly encouraging as they confirm the timeless wisdom of plant, mineral and nutrient-based medical interventions which were once the norm before pharmaceutical medicine, only recently, attempted to dominate the spectrum of alternatives available to the public.
Some final details that may be of assistance are: (1) curcumin is approximately 3-4% of the whole root powder by weight. (2) curcumin is poorly bioavailable, as it is alcohol and not water or fat soluble, so must be taken in higher quantities, or in combination with either carrier molecules such as the phospholipid phosphatidyl choline or bioavailability enhancers such as black pepper, or the primary compound responsible for increased absorption in black pepper: piperine.
For additional information on the topics covered here read: 600 Reasons Turmeric May Be The World’s Most Important Herb
 Jayesh Sanmukhani, Vimal Satodia, Jaladhi Trivedi, Tejas Patel, Deepak Tiwari, Bharat Panchal, Ajay Goel, Chandra Bhanu Tripathi. Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytother Res. 2013 Jul 6. Epub 2013 Jul 6. PMID: 23832433
 GreenMedInfo.com, Animal Research on Curcumin’s Anti-Depressive Properties
 Masashi Kanai, Kenichi Yoshimura, Masanori Asada, Atsushi Imaizumi, Chihiro Suzuki, Shigemi Matsumoto, Takafumi Nishimura, Yukiko Mori, Toshihiko Masui, Yoshiya Kawaguchi, Kazuhiro Yanagihara, Shujiro Yazumi, Tsutomu Chiba, Sushovan Guha, Bharat B Aggarwal. A phase I/II study of gemcitabine-based chemotherapy plus curcumin for patients with gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2010 Sep 22. Epub 2010 Sep 22. PMID:20859741
July 13, 2013
You know turmeric has health benefits, most notably reducing inflammation, but did you know it may also protect and heal the damaged and diseased liver?
A new clinical trial published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine is shedding light on turmeric’s remarkable liver protective and regenerative properties.
South Korean researchers at the Clinical Trial Center for Functional Foods, Chonbuk National University Hospital, tested their hypothesis that turmeric may improve liver function by administering a fermented form to subjects, 20 years old and above, who were diagnosed mild to moderate elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, a maker for liver damage and/or dysfunction.
Sixty subjects were randomized to receive 3.0 g per fermented turmeric powder (FTP) or placebo 3.0 g per day for 12 weeks. The treatment group received two capsules of FTP three times a day after meals, for 12 weeks.
What were the results?
Not only did FTP significantly reduce ALT levels in subjects but also reduced serum aspartate transaminase (AST) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), two additional enzymes which when elevated are commonly associated with liver damage. The effects were maintained as long as the subjects remained on the treatment. Also, FTP was well tolerated and without significant adverse effects.
This study adds additional weight to a rather vast body of preclinical research that has accumulated over the past two decades confirming turmeric and its primary polyphenol curcumin’s liver protecting properties. The GreenMedInfo.com database now contains 86 studies demonstrating the ability of turmeric (and curcumin) to protect the liver against a wide range of chemical and drug exposures.We recently featured a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand which revealed the potential of turmeric to protect and regenerate the diabetic liver.
Turmeric May Also Kill Liver Cancer
What may be even more remarkable is the accumulating research on the anti-liver cancer properties of turmeric (and curcumin). The GreenMedInfo.com has 26 preclinical studies showing it kills liver cancer cells and tumors, including one case study involving a 6-month old infant with a life-threatening liver vascular tumor (hemangioendothelioma) who was reported treated successfully with a dietary supplement of curcumin, with 6-year follow-up.
One of the most remarkable facts about turmeric as a potential drug and chemotherapy alternative is its exceptionally high margin of safety. A 2001 study in cancer patients reported that quantities of curcumin up to 8 g, administered per day for three months, were not toxic and resulted in significant anti-cancer properties in a number of those treated. Considering that turmeric is only 3-4% curcumin by weight, this implies that a larger quantity of turmeric can be consumed safely, as well.
Of course, while these results are promising, the real solution to elevated liver enzymes is to identify the underlying causes, e.g. infection, NSAID use, chemical exposures, dietary intolerances, etc., and remove them. Failing that, those within the integrative medical field who are looking for evidence-based ways to address the sometimes inevitable hepatotoxicity of standard drug-based treatments may find a role for turmeric (curcumin) in their practices. Other folks, simply looking for ways to improve their health and to prevent liver problems may wish to consume smaller doses through incorporating the spice (which must be organic to avoid the dangers of irradiation) into traditional recipes at culinary doses. [see our EATomology project for guidance on this]
For more information on Turmeric’s amazing healing properties read our article: 600 Reasons Why Turmeric May Be the World’s Most Important Spice.
About the Author
Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation.
He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.
 Sang-Wook Kim, Ki-Chan Ha, Eun-Kyung Choi, Su-Young Jung, Min-Gul Kim, Dae-Young Kwon, Hye-Jung Yang, Min-Jung Kim, Hee-Joo Kang, Hyang-Im Back, Sun-Young Kim, Soo-Hyun Park, Hum-Young Baek, Yong-Jae Kim, Joon-Yeol Lee, Soo-Wan Chae. The effectiveness of fermented turmeric powder in subjects with elevated alanine transaminase levels: a randomised controlled study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 ;13:58. Epub 2013 Mar 8. PMID: 23497020
 GreenMedInfo.com, Professional Feature: Focus Turmeric’s Hepatoprotective PropertiesArticles (86 abstracts)
 GreenMedInfo.com, Turmeric May Repair and Regenerative the Diabetic Liver