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Curcumin Reduces Inflammation Caused by Brain Injury
The results of a study examining the effect of turmeric extract in combination with black pepper extract on patients with traumatic brain injury showed a reduction in an important inflammatory cytokine in the subjects.
Turmeric extract is combined with black pepper extract which improves the absorption of curcuminoids and other difficult to absorb natural compounds in a very low dose.
Turmeric (the raw material from which curcuminoids are extracted) and the combination of black pepper have a long history of use, as they form the two basic ingredients in the delicious palette of Indian curry spice.
The researchers included 62 patients aged 18 to 65 who were being treated for traumatic brain injury. Subjects were assigned to take 500 mg of turmeric extract and 5 mg of black pepper or placebo extract for seven days, and were also subjected to standard care during treatment for traumatic brain injury and enteral nutrition.
The levels of the hormones adipocytokine leptin and adiponectin were measured in the blood of the subjects. Leptin is often called the "hunger hormone" and is involved in the satiety signaling mechanism that controls food intake. However, leptin is increasingly associated with the emergence of systemic inflammatory processes.
Adiponectin is a hormone involved in a number of functions, including glucose metabolism and fatty acid oxidation, and has been linked to beneficial, anti-inflammatory function.
Managing the inflammatory process in cases of traumatic brain injury is increasingly considered an important goal of treatment, and early intervention is associated with better long-term outcomes. Scientists state that traumatic brain injury is not just an acute event, but a chronic disease.
Among the many mechanisms involved in secondary injury after traumatic brain injury, emerging preclinical studies indicate that prolonged and progressive posttraumatic nerve cell inflammation is associated with neurodegeneration that can be treated long after initial brain injury.
The researchers found a significant reduction in leptin levels in the group that took turmeric and black pepper extract. An increasing trend in adiponectin levels was noted, but it was not statistically significant.
Furthermore, the authors of the study found that turmeric extract is safe and well tolerated. Other studies examining this extract have shown its ability to limit leptin levels while increasing adiponectin.
Scientists claim that the failure in this case could be attributed to the very short duration of the study. Current results may be a promising indicator for considering the use of curcuminoids by qualified physicians as adjunctive therapy in cases of traumatic brain injury. In this process, the safety of curcuminoids is also a crucial criterion, conclude the authors of the study.