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Effects of Curcumin intake on CVD risk factors and Exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy volunteers; an exploratory study
* 1, 2 , 3
2  Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queen's Medical Research Institute University of Edinburgh, 47 Little France Crescent Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, Scotland, UK
3  Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Allied Medical Sciences, Al-Ahliyya Amman University, Amman, Jordan. Post code: 19328.
Academic Editor: Torsten Bohn


Background: Evidence suggests that turmeric or curcumin intake can improve antioxidant defense, blood pressure, ageing and gut microbiota. The effects of turmeric concentrate (curcumin) intake on cardiovascular risk factors and exercise induced oxidative stress were investigated. Methods: A randomized placebo-controlled study was performed to assess the effects of turmeric extract in healthy volunteers before and after a 30 min exercise bout. Participants (n=22) were given either 500mg turmeric concentrate (Curcumin C3, Jarrow Formulas, Los Angeles, CA, USA) or placebo supplements. Anthropometry, blood pressure, pulse wave velocity (PWV), biomarkers of oxidative stress, perceived exertion and lipid peroxidation were assessed. Results: There were no significant differences in all baseline parameters between the placebo and the curcumin groups (p>0.05). In the curcumin group, blood pressure response to exercise following curcumin intake was blunted and the increase was not significant compared to basal values. In the last run, there was a significant difference (before-after) between curcumin and placebo groups (Δ in SBP: 7.3±6.8 vs 13.8±6.3 mmHg, p= 0.007, and Δ in DBP: 2.3±6.9 vs 8.0±6.8 mmHg, p=0.012). Final PWV scores were reduced significantly in the curcumin group (7.2±0.97 to 6.7±0.77 m/s, p=0.033) and this reduction was significant compared to the control (Δ of 0.56 vs 0.21 m/s, p=0.04). A significant increase was observed in urinary antioxidant power (p=0.031) and total polyphenol levels (p=0.022) post curcumin intervention, and those on the placebo did not show significant changes. The increase in exercise-induced MDA levels was blunted only in the curcumin group and before-after difference was significant compared to control (Δ of -0.81 vs +0.205 µmole/day, p=0.032). The distance ran by the participants taking curcumin was significantly longer (p=0.005) and compared to placebo before-after difference was significant (Δ of -0.69 vs +0.28 km, p=0.014). Conclusion: Our study suggests that turmeric concentrate intake can reduce blood pressure and improve antioxidant, anti-inflammatory status, and arterial compliance. Curcumin may improve exercise performance and ameliorates oxidative stress. Larger studies are warranted to validate these findings and test other cardiovascular risk factors.

Keywords: Turmeric concentrate; curcumin; antioxidants, blood pressure; cardiovascular disease; oxidative stress