First of its kind review supports curcumin’s vascular benefits

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

 © Getty Images / frank600
© Getty Images / frank600

Related tags Turmeric Curcumin Dietary supplements Heart health

Supplements of curcumin from turmeric may improve endothelial function, according to a systematic review and meta‐analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials.

Data published in Phytotherapy Research​ indicated that curcumin supplements were associated with significant increases in flow-mediated dilation (FMD), a measure of a blood vessel's healthy ability to relax.

However, no benefits were observed for other measures of cardiovascular health, such as pulse wave velocity, the augmentation index, endothelin‐1 (a potent vasoconstrictor), and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule‐1 (sICAM‐1 – a marker of inflammation).

“To the extent of our knowledge, this is the first meta‐analysis to evaluate the effect of curcumin supplementation on endothelial function,”​ wrote scientists from Maraghe University of Medical Science in Iran.

Curcumin and turmeric

The study adds to the ever-growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.

The ingredient is experiencing blockbuster growth in some markets, most notably the US. Turmeric/ curcumin supplements were the top selling herbal supplement in the US natural channel from 2013-2017, but lost the crown last year as sales of CBD supplements surged in that channel, according to the 2018 Herb Market Report published by the American Botanical Council.

Despite dropping to number two, turmeric supplements still accounted for $51 million in sales in 2018, and $93 million in sales in the Mass Channel (HerbalGram​ 123).

Review details

The researchers analyzed the scientific literature and identified 10 studies that fit their inclusion criteria. This provided data from 765 participants: 396 in intervention groups and 369 in control/ placebo groups.

Results showed that curcumin supplementation was associated with a significant increase in FMD, compared to the control groups, but no effects were observed for the other measures studies.

Commenting on the potential mechanism of action, the researchers proposed that this may due to the compound’s antioxidative and anti‐inflammatory actions.

“Curcumin exerts anti‐inflammatory and antioxidative effects by inhibiting production of inflammatory markers, such as tumor necrosis factor‐alpha, suggesting that its effect on endothelial function may be mediated by suppressing inflammation and/or oxidative damage via downregulation of tumor necrosis factor‐alpha,” ​they wrote.

Source: Phytotherapy Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ptr.6477
“The effects of curcumin supplementation on endothelial function: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials”
Authors: J. Hallajzadeh et al.

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