An excerpt from “Turmeric – The Ayurvedic Spice of Life”, written by Prashanti de Jager M.S.
The curcuminoids as an anti-oxidant compound are:
- 5-8x stronger than vitamin E
- 3x more powerful than Grape seed or Pine bark extract.
- More powerful antioxidants than Vitamin C, eugenol (from cloves), capsiacin (from cayanne) and BHT, a standard food preservative.
- Especially potent at scavenging the hydroxlyl radical, the most reactive of all oxidants.
This means Turmeric is good at:
- Keeping you feeling and looking young
- Protecting you from mutating cells, tumors, cancer.
- Preventing and removing oxidized cholesterol thereby preventing heart attacks.
- Reducing acute (injuries) and chronic inflammations (arthritis)
- Reducing pain associated with inflammation
- Preserving food.
Anti – Aging
Everybody knows that oxygen is essential to life as we know it, but it can give rise to several reactive oxygen species (ROS) in normal metabolism. Normally the body can deal with these ROS but if there is an overload of them due to pollution, etc. or if there is an inability to deal with them due to genetics or weakness, then they can rapidly cause decay, breakdown, disease, rapid aging and death. Oxidation by free radicals can damage cells and DNA and thus is the major player in aging and a part to some extent of every chronic disease known. As rust is oxidized steel so aging is oxidized cells. Just as you wash the dirt and salt off your car to keep it from rusting, you surround your cells with anti-oxidants to wash away the oxidizing species of molecules. Proteins, lipids, and DNA are the parts of the cell most susceptible to damage by oxidation.
Of course, oxygen isn’t bad, it is the most needed nutrient to us, but reactive oxidizing molecules get out of hand. Actually one of the ways that our immune system destroys pathogens is to blast them with an oxidizer like Hydrogen Peroxide which rusts their little bodies within seconds. Most of the oxidants that we need protection from these days are a result of our modern day society: cigarettes, food additives, smog and pollution. Stopping oxidation stops a part of the aging process. Again, turmeric is considered to be the strongest antioxidant against the hydroxyl molecule, which is the most reactive of the oxidants. The phenolic nature of the Curcumins lend to Turmeric’s anti-oxidant activity.
Curcuminoids scavenge and neutralize free radicals and what is more amazing, they can prevent them from happening. One way that they do this is by blocking the oxidizing capabilities of metals. They protect the cells and chromosomes from cell damage.
Do you a chronic disease or know someone who does? Oxidation by free radicals is linked with virtually every major chronic disease as well as with aging in general. There are many diseases directly associated with ROS production.
There are three ways to remove ROS. One is with anti-oxidants like Vitamin C and E and Curcumin. A second way is with certain enzymes which engage with the ROS and destroy its ability to react. Turmeric, a great anti-oxidant, has been shown to increase the number and activity of ROS destroying enzymes. The activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase in the liver are increased by turmeric. These studies indicate that dietary Turmeric lowers lipid peroxidation by enhancing the activities of antioxidant enzymes.
Turmeric preserves food 3 times better than the common synthetic preservative BHT. This has been known for thousands of years in India, where refrigeration is only getting somewhat common in the cities since the early 1990’s.
Daily use of Turmeric is required to maximize its antioxidant properties. Experiments to study the mechanism of action and curcumin indicated that the presence of curcumin was essential for the inhibitory effect, as removal of curcumin resulted in restoration of cytochrome P450 activity and the levels of [3H] – B(a)P-DNA adducts to control values. For protection against anti-oxidants, it has to be there daily.
Not just the Curcumins
The curcuminoids. which are oil based, or lipophilic, and not dissolvable in water, are not the only anti-oxidants in Turmeric. This is evident since the water extract of Turmeric is also a strong anti-oxidant. Turmerin: a water-soluble antioxidant peptide from turmeric is found to be an efficient antioxidant, DNA-protectant, and antimutagen. Turmeric at 182 nM offers 80% protection to membranes and DNA against oxidative injury. ROS-induced arachidonate release and the mutagenic activity of t-butyl hydroperoxide are substantially inhibited by Turmerin. Tumerin is not toxic.
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