Turmeric can help our immune system fight off infection
Washington, May 26 (ANI): Scientists have discovered that curcumin, a compound found in the cooking spice turmeric, can cause a modest but measurable increase in levels of a protein that's known to be important in the "innate" immune system, helping to prevent infection in humans and other animals.
This cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP, is part of what helps our immune system fight off various bacteria, viruses or fungi even though they hadn't been encountered before.
Prior to this, it was known that CAMP levels were increased by vitamin D.
Discovery of an alternative mechanism to influence or raise CAMP levels is of scientific interest and could open new research avenues in nutrition and pharmacology, scientists said.
The findings were made by researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
"This research points to a new avenue for regulating CAMP gene expression. It's interesting and somewhat surprising that curcumin can do that, and could provide another tool to develop medical therapies," said Adrian Gombart, an associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the Linus Pauling Institute.
The impact of curcumin in this role is not nearly as potent as that of vitamin D, Gombart said, but could nonetheless have physiologic value.
Curcumin has also been studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
In this study, Chunxiao Guo, a graduate student, and Gombart looked at the potential of both curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids to increase expression of the CAMP gene.
They found no particular value with the omega-3 fatty acids for this purpose, but curcumin did have a clear effect. It caused levels of CAMP to almost triple.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. (ANI)
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