Introducing L-A Max – Bioavailable Turmeric
Professor Jo-Anne Murray
PhD, MSc, PgDip, BSc (Hons), BHSII, RNutr, PFHEA University of Glasgow Veterinary School
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant that belongs to the ginger family and is grown primarily in India and Indonesia. The roots of the turmeric are used as a spice that is commonly used in cooking and is a major ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric is a vivid yellow-orange colour and is often used as a food colouring for that reason.
Turmeric has also been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years, particularly in Chinese and Indian medicine. In fact, Indian medicine has considered turmeric effective for treating various conditions ranging from respiratory problems to hepatic disease. Recently, turmeric has received a lot of attention from horse owners looking to exploit these proposed benefits to enhance the health and performance of their horses.
Health and performance
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which can be extracted from the spice. It is the curcumin that gives turmeric it’s bright yellow colour. Curcumin has been reported in thousands of research citations to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-bacterial activities. There have also been over 100 human clinical studies carried out on the use of curcumin. Extensive research conducted over the past 30 years has shown that curcumin appears to play a role in the prevention and treatment of various pro-inflammatory chronic diseases, such as neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and malignant diseases.
Some studies in humans have suggested that turmeric may have a protective effect on the heart, by lowering cholesterol and in one small study it was reported that turmeric was beneficial in reducing the risk of heart attacks in people who had by-pass surgery. Studies in animals have reported that turmeric can reduce the growth of tumour cells and have chemo-preventative potential for a wide range of cancers. In fact, many clinical trials using curcumin as a therapeutic agent are underway.
There is also some evidence that curcumin can help reduce inflammation and stabilise blood sugar levels in humans. One study followed over 200 adults with pre-diabetes symptoms and found that taking a curcumin supplement lowered their risk of developing diabetes. Curcumin has been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties in humans and to modify immune system responses. Some studies in humans have found that curcumin may reduce joint pain, stiffness and inflammation and others have reported curcumin to be effective in preventing joint inflammation. In horses, curcumin has been reported to reduce inflammatory responses in horses affected by degenerative joint disease, while it has been suggested that it is a potential candidate for the treatment of acute inflammatory disease.