Graz, Austria—A new study published in the gastroenterology and hepatology journal Gut indicates that curcumin may be a viable option for slowing down liver damage and cirrhosis.
When the liver’s bile ducts swell, scar and become blocked, irreversible and usually fatal cirrhosis and liver damage can develop. Genetic predisposition, disease, excessive alcohol intake or injury can lead to this condition. In the study, curcumin was administered to lab mice for periods of four to eight weeks. These mice were given chemically induced liver injuries, and those with curcumin diets had significantly reduced liver damage. Specifically, it improved the condition known as sclerosing cholangitis, an autoimmune disorder.
Curcumin was thought to have multiple effects, all of which influenced the beneficial results for liver health. One effect was the inhibition of signal pathways necessary for inflammation to occur, slowing the progress of scarring. This led to reduced bile duct blockage and liver cell (hepatocyte) damage. The authors of the study comment that since the standard treatment for liver disease, other than transplantation, involves an acid whose long-term effects are unknown, turmeric presents an exciting alternative in need of further study.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2010