Saturday December 15, 2018

Here’s How Turmeric Helps Heart Failure Patients

The results showed that the expression of Nrf2 increased and levels of antioxidant enzymes improved in the animals with heart failure that were given curcumin

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer
How turmeric helps heart failure patients? Find it out here. Pixabay
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Curcumin — the active compound in turmeric — may repair exercise intolerance faced by patients with heart failure, suggests a new research.

People with heart failure have a reduced function of the left ventricle — the chamber of the heart that pumps blood out to the rest of the body — called reduced ejection fraction. This is linked to decreased ability to exercise.

The findings showed that curcumin treatment improved muscle function, exercise capacity in mice with heart failure and healthy controls.

Curcumin, a chemical that comes from the turmeric plant, has been used as a traditional Asian medicine for centuries, primarily to treat gastrointestinal ailments and skin wounds.

Researchers from the University of Nebraska in the US, theorised that a reduction in the normal signalling of a protein Nrf2 may play a role in the impaired expression of antioxidant enzymes.

 

Healthy Indian foods
Turmeric (Wikimedia)

The antioxidant enzymes both prevent and repair damage from oxidative stress as well as improve exercise performance.

For the study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the team gave one group of mice with heart failure daily doses of curcumin — which is known to promote activation of Nrf2 — for 12 weeks, while another group did not receive treatment.

The results showed that the expression of Nrf2 increased and levels of antioxidant enzymes improved in the animals with heart failure that were given curcumin.

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In addition, both groups that received curcumin — even the animals without heart failure — had improved exercise capacity when compared with the untreated groups, suggesting the effects of curcumin on skeletal muscle is not exclusive to heart failure.

“These data suggest that activation of Nrf2 in skeletal muscle may represent a novel therapeutic strategy to improve … quality of life” in people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, the researchers noted. (IANS)

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)