Flashback Friday: Heart of Gold -Turmeric vs. Exercise

Flashback Friday: Heart of Gold -Turmeric vs. Exercise

August 19, 2019 53 By William Morgan


“Heart of Gold: Turmeric vs. Exercise” The endothelium is the inner
lining of our blood vessels. Laid end-to-end the endothelial
cells from a single human would wrap more than four
times around the world. And it’s not just like an inert layer;
it’s highly metabolically active. I’ve talked about how sensitive
our endothelium is to oxidation and inflammation. And if we don’t take care of it
endothelial dysfunction may set us up for heart disease or a stroke. Are we ready to heed our endothelium’s
early warning signal? Well, if it’s all about oxidation
and inflammation, then fruits and vegetables should
help. And indeed they do. Each daily serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 6% improvement
in endothelial function. Now these fruit and vegetable-associated
improvements in endothelial function are in contrast with several
negative vitamin C pill studies that failed to show a benefit. It can be concluded that the positive
findings of the fruit and vegetable study is not just because of any one
nutrient in fruits and veggies. Rather than searching for the
single magic bullet micronutrient, a more practical approach is
likely to consider whole foods. Thus, increasing fruit and
vegetable consumption is likely to have numerous
beneficial effects due to synergistic effects of all
the wonderful things in plants. Exercise helps too, but what
type of exercise helps best? Patients were randomized
into four groups: aerobic exercise (cycling
for an hour a day), resistance training (using weights
and elastic bands), both, or neither. The aerobic group kicked butt.
The resistance group kicked butt. And the aerobic and resistance
group kicked butt as well, compared to those who
sat on their butts. Note that your endothelium doesn’t care
if you’re on a bike or lifting weights, as long as you’re getting
physical activity. And getting regular activity. If you stop exercising, your
endothelial function plummets. Antioxidant pills didn’t work.
What about anti-inflammatory pills? Drug companies aren’t going
to give up that easy. After all, there’s only so much
you can make selling salad. For those who prefer plants to pills,
one of the most anti-inflammatory foods is the spice turmeric. Researchers in Japan recently compared
the endothelial benefits of exercise to that of curcumin, the yellow pigment
in turmeric and curry powder. About a teaspoon a day’s worth
of turmeric for eight weeks compared to 30 to 60 minutes
of aerobic exercise a day. Which group improved their
endothelial function more? The group that did neither
experienced no benefit, but the exercise group significantly
boosted their endothelial function, and so did the curcumin group. The magnitude of the improvement
achieved by curcumin treatment was comparable to that
obtained with exercise. Therefore, regular
ingestion of curcumin could be a preventive measure against cardiovascular disease
in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, their results suggest
that curcumin may be a potential alternative treatment
for patients who are unable to exercise, but ideally we’d do both. In this study they looked at
central arterial hemodynamics. Basically, if our endothelium is
impaired, our arteries stiffen, making it harder for
our heart to pump. But compared to
placebo, we can drop that pressure down with
turmeric curcumin or exercise, but if you combine both, then
you really start rocking and rolling. They conclude that these findings suggest
that regular endurance exercise combined with daily curcumin ingestion may reduce the pressure against
which your heart has to fight to a greater extent than
one or the other. So healthy eating and exertion
for our endothelium.