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Technical References

Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73)

Authors: Christopher E Ramsden, Daisy Zamora, Sharon Majchrzak-Hong, Keturah R Faurot, Steven K Broste, Robert P Frantz,  John M Davis, , Amit Ringel, Chirayath M Suchindran, Joseph R Hibbeln.

BMJ 2016;353:i1246


Available evidence from randomized controlled trials (conducted by Ancel Keys) shows that replacement of saturated fat in the diet with linoleic acid effectively lowers serum cholesterol but does not support the hypothesis that this translates to a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease or all causes. Findings from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment add to growing evidence that incomplete publication has contributed to overestimation of the benefits of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid.

Full article

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Curcumin (Turmeric) Supresses Inflammation and Pain

Research shows curcumin acts as a scavenger of nitric oxide and inhibits COX-2, a pro-inflammatory substance. Also a potent scavenger of superoxide, the anti-inflammatory activity and superoxide scavenging property of curcumin are proven correlated. Clinically, curcumin has worked as well as cortisone or phenylbutazone for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and post-operative inflammation.

Read full article. 

The arachidonic acid cascade: Curcumin inhibits pain and inflammation and supports homeostasis

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Coconut Oil vs. MCT Oil vs. Lauric Acid: What Is MCT Oil Really?

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If you’ve been drinking Bulletproof Coffee made with XCT Oil or Brain Octane, you’ve already felt the powerful impact some types of MCT oil have on your energy.
However, there are a bunch of forms of MCTs – some real, some mostly made up by marketing, and not all forms of so-called MCTs are equally effective. That’s why I specify the exact types of oils that work best in The Bulletproof Diet, and why Bulletproof manufactures XCT Oil and Brain Octane Oil, neither of which is the plain “MCT oil” found in coconut oil.
The coconut oil industry loves to market the idea that coconut oil is a great source of MCTs because it’s “62% MCT oil” – but is that really true? What does that mean to you?
Don’t get it wrong – just about all the cheap and abundant oils in coconut oil are good for you, which is why coconut oil is high on the list of Bulletproof foods! The problem is that studies show you can’t get enough of the really useful MCTs from just eating coconut oil or a so-called “MCT oil” that is diluted with lauric acid, a useful, but cheap, and hugely abundant part of coconut oil that is marketed as an MCT oil.[1]
Coconut oil is good for you. Eating it provides cheap and abundant lauric acid, a useful oil that is sold as an MCT oil even though it does not act like an MCT in the body.
In the US, coconut oil and MCT oil manufacturers are legally allowed to claim that lauric acid is an MCT because chemists named it that way, even though biochemists recognize that it does not act like other true biological MCT oils.
If you are counting on plain coconut oil or “MCT-labeled” oil to get enough useful MCTs, think again and check the label: odds are you’re getting very few of the potent shorter chain MCTs (C8 and C10), and lots of the cheaper but ineffective lauric acid.
This post explores the science of how medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oils work, which types are best for what purposes, and why some kinds of MCT cause disaster pants and throat irritation and others don’t.

The Three True Biological MCT Oils: Why lauric acid acts like an LCT, not a real MCT
Coconut oil marketers often say there are four kinds of MCT oils found in coconut oil: C6, C8, C10, and C12 (the numbers define the length of the carbon chains).
Even though chemists long ago decided to call all of these MCTs, biologists now understand that the cheapest and most common of the MCTs, C12 or lauric acid, is actually a pseudo-MCT.
Lauric acid is a good food source, but it behaves like an LCT (long chain triglyceride) not an MCT, when you consume it, which means you don’t get the fast ketone energy from it that you can get from C8 or C10.[2]
From a biology perspective, lauric acid should actually be considered a LCT; unlike the biological MCTs, lauric acid gets processed by your liver.[3] This matters because your body metabolizes MCTs differently than LCTs; unlike LCTs, MCTs get very quickly converted into energy to fuel your brain and body instead of requiring a pit stop in the liver for processing.[4]
Chemists counted the number of carbon chains and arbitrarily decided what was medium. Lauric acid is a chemical MCT but it is not a true biological MCT because our bodies do not treat it as an MCT. And nearly every study about the human and animal uses of MCTs you’ve ever seen does not measure lauric acid for this reason.
Don’t take my word for it – you can hear a lot more about this in Bulletproof Radio episode #151 with Melinda Culver, PhD, where we go into the science behind MCTs.
Watch it here:

Since your body treats lauric acid differently from the get go, it deserves to be treated honestly on oil marketing labels too! Hopefully, chemists will eventually change the classification to be more accurate. Lauric acid is not an MCT.
So what *is* MCT Oil?
What Is MCT Oil: The Official List of MCTs In Coconut Oil
These are several main types of fatty acid oils found in coconut oil, but only the first 3 below behave in your body as real MCTs. This means that they bypass the metabolic burden of processing in the liver so they quickly become energy in your brain and muscles.
They are:
C6, Caproic Acid:
There’s not enough of it to matter in coconut oil, it tastes bad, and it often results in stomach/gastric upset, but it converts quickly to ketones! If your generic MCT oil makes your throat burn or has a weird flavor, one reason may be that the distillation did not remove enough of the C6. There are other reasons this can happen too, covered below.
C8, Caprylic Acid (Brain Octane)- The rarest ~6% of coconut oil:
It has potent anti-microbial properties (way more potent than lauric acid) to help you maintain a healthy gut, and it is the fastest to metabolize in the brain. (This is Brain Octane Oil.) Your liver does not need to process this rare type of MCT, and it only takes 3 steps for your body to turn it into ATP, the cellular fuel you use.[5] Sugar takes 26 steps. This is why Brain Octane is so good at suppressing cravings and is the most powerful oil to put in Bulletproof Coffee. You would need 18 tablespoons of coconut oil to get just one tablespoon of Brain Octane.
C10, Capric Acid – Around ~9% of coconut oil:
This is the second shortest form of MCT, also rare. It is slower to turn into energy but more affordable than C8. XCT Oil is triple-distilled in a non-oxygen atmosphere with no solvents ever used, and it contains C10 and C8, because these are the only two MCT oils that turn into ATP quickly without the liver. You would need 6 tablespoons of coconut oil to get one tablespoon of XCT oil.
C12, Lauric Acid: Around ~50+% of coconut oil:
It requires a pit stop in the liver rather than getting immediately converted into energy like the other MCTs above. This is why it is more accurately described as an LCT, not an MCT like marketers claim. It raises cholesterol more than any other fatty acid (not necessarily a bad thing.) It is also commonly cited as having antimicrobial benefits, which is does…except the shorter chain MCT oils are more effective against aggressive candida yeast[6] and even gonorrhea and chlamydia (as a monoglyceride).[7] [8]
It’s confusing because coconut oil marketers imply that lauric acid is the same as monolaurin, an extremely potent antimicrobial that is derived from lauric acid. (They are not the same…I used monolaurin when I had candida years ago, and depending on your gut bacteria, you may create monolaurin in your gut when you eat affordable coconut oil.) Given how common and cheap this stuff is, it’s no wonder that companies are tempted to sell it as a true MCT. Two years ago, I looked into making a more affordable MCT oil containing lauric acid. I’d have made a killing selling what is basically coconut oil as something special, but it simply doesn’t work, and it’s not truthful marketing.
C-14 and above:
These are the widely recognized LCTs, or long chain fatty acids in coconut oil, mostly saturated, including stearic acid (C18:0), oleic acid (C18:1), and linoleic acid (18:2). The exact percentage of each depends on region the coconut is grown, time of harvest, and other growing variables. They are good as a fuel source, but they are also widely available in other oils, and you won’t benefit from eating a lot more of them compared to eating true medium chain fatty acids.

Check The Label On Your “MCT Oil” For The Right MCTs
Lauric acid has a few antimicrobial benefits, which I’ll write another post on soon, but it’s simply not the most effective way to fuel your brain and body. It does not create energy in the brain the way that biological true MCTs, such as XCT or Brain Octane, do.[9] [10]
So if you want lauric acid – and you do because it’s good for you – then don’t waste your time and money separating it out of coconut oil: just eat some coconut oil. And enjoy that coconut oil, because it’s both delicious and abundant in this nice fat.
You can get abundant lauric acid by just eating a tablespoon or two of coconut oil; there is no benefit to refining it and buying it separately when it’s so common in plain coconut oil. If you use cheap lauric acid to cut the potency of true biological MCT oil, you’re making it so weak that you’re not going to feel the energy effects that come from the much more powerful C8 or C10 MCTs found in XCT or Brain Octane.
MCT oil that’s cut with the cheaper lauric acid will only be about 1.5-2x as strong as coconut oil, but it will be far cheaper to produce. XCT oil is 6x stronger, and Brain Octane is up to 18x stronger.

MCT Oil Purity Matters Too
The reason I decided to create XCT and Brain Octane oils is that when I started learning about these types of lipids years ago in my anti-aging work at SVHI, it was common for our members – and for me – to get severe diarrhea and throat irritation from commercially available MCT oils.
We thought it was just an individual tolerance issue, but I soon discovered that it was an oil purity issue.
The reason purity matters is that C17 is a byproduct of other MCT oil production processes, and it, along with C6, is a major cause of disaster pants and irritation. There’s a reason that some MCTs cause problems when the same amount of Bulletproof XCT or Brain Octane won’t.
That’s why the unique process we use at Bulletproof is completely chemical and solvent-free. Most MCT’s on the market are manufactured via chemical/solvent refining, which can require using chemicals like hexane and different enzymes and combustion chemicals, such as sodium methoxide. The oils used to make MCTs – palm and coconut – are often solvent extracted too, but not Bulletproof.
We never allow solvents anywhere near our process. We use triple steam distillation in a non-oxygen atmosphere to avoid lipid oxidation and create a purer process. And we do it 100% in the United States. To my knowledge, no other company uses such extensive distillation to ensure purity, simply because solvents and catalysts are cheaper.
So that’s it – to have the most energy and the fewest cravings, you want the shortest chain possible, C8, with the highest levels of purity.

Brain Octane Oil vs. XCT Oil: Which Is Best For Me?
You’d get sick if you had 18 tablespoons of coconut oil, but you’ll feel great on 1 tablespoon of Brain Octane, the most potent extract of coconut oil (caprylic acid).
If you really want to take advantage of the most powerful medium chain fatty acids and the rarest parts of coconut oil, you’ll benefit the most from the cognitive aspects of an ultra-distilled, upgraded MCT like Brain Octane Oil (pure C8) or XCT Oil (C8 and C10).
So which to pick?
Brain Octane (Pure C8) provides the fastest rise in energy and focus and it’s what I start my day with. XCT (Upgraded MCT Oil) is more affordable but works more slowly with less direct cognitive effects. Both help your metabolism to burn fat.
The capric acid in XCT Oil doesn’t break down into ketones as quickly as pure caprylic, but capric acid is more affordable (but still works) so you can save money by going with the XCT. XCT Oil still goes to brain energy, just not as quickly as Brain Octane. Both can be used for energy without processing by the liver, unlike many other fats and oils.
Use Brain Octane Oil if you want the maximum cognitive benefit and quickest digestion.
Use XCT Oil if you are looking to economize while getting a metabolic boost and a slower smaller cognitive effect. (Or if you are using it externally for your hair or skin!)
Some people mix different ratios of each.
When to use coconut oil, then? If you love the taste or want ample lauric acid, eat it and enjoy it! Just know it is not the single strongest source of MCTs for fueling your brain and body.

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This Is A Must Read Before Ever Using Turmeric Again

Turmeric is gaining in popularity and for good reason!

The yellow pigment found in turmeric, which is also responsible for the majority of its medicinal properties is called “curcumin.”

Study abstracts from the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database known as MEDLINE show over 600 potential health benefits of turmeric, and/or its primary polyphenol known as curcumin.

While adding turmeric to your diet is a sure way to boost your overall health, there are a few things you need to know about.

Turmeric’s Key Nutrient Isn’t Easy To Absorb
As mentioned previously, curcumin is the active compound you want to absorb from eating turmeric. However, a big problem with turmeric is that curcumin isn’t easily absorbed (1).

Various animal and clinical studies reveal that the concentrations of curcumin in blood plasma, urine, and peripheral tissues, if detectable at all, are extremely low regardless of dosage size (2). And low absorption rate will not give you the health benefits of this medicinal food.

How To Skyrocket Turmeric’s Bioavailability?
Fortunately, there are simple kitchen strategies that you can use to boost turmeric’s bioavailability.

1. Always Mix With Black Pepper

Black Pepper is a powerful medicine in its own right and a Potent Turmeric Adjuvant.

“If people are given a bunch of turmeric curcumin, within an hour there’s a little bump in the level in their blood stream. We don’t see a large increase because our liver is actively trying to get rid of it. But what if the process is suppressed by taking just a quarter teaspoon’s worth of black pepper? Then you see curcumin levels skyrocket. The same amount of curcumin consumed, but the bioavailability shoots up 2000%. Even just a little pinch of pepper—1/20th of a teaspoon—can significantly boost levels. And guess what a common ingredient in curry powder is besides turmeric? Black pepper.” via NutritionFacts

One Study entitled: Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers
demonstrated that when piperine was co-administered with curcumin and given to human subjects the bioavailibity of curcumin increased 2000% (3).

2. Add a Healthy Fat to Turmeric

Since turmeric is fat-soluble, in order for your body to fully absorb it and experience its amazing health benefits, turmeric needs to be combined with a fat.

When eaten with healthy fats, such as coconut, ghee or olive oil, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby in part bypassing the liver.

This is very important because less curcumin is exposed to metabolic enzymes and remains in a free form allowing it to stay in the body longer. via DrNibber

3. Heat Increases Turmeric’s Bioavalibility

“The potent ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which, despite its power, is not easily absorbed by the body without assistance. This is where the sauté pan and a little warm oil come into play,” Dr. Sukumar explains.

“I use it [turmeric] in every sauté, just a quarter teaspoon, a half teaspoon is enough. But you don’t have to use it sparingly – use it lavishly.”

“The better way to take it, I feel, is to use it in your cooking very extensively. If you have any sauté, just sprinkle it in. The moment you heat oil and add turmeric to it, it now becomes completely bioavailable to you.”

Bottom Line
To maximize the effectiveness of the turmeric you’re eating always make sure to do these 3 things:

Activate turmeric by heating it up.
Boost turmeric’s absorption by 2,000% by combining it with some freshly ground black pepper.
3. Mix turmeric with a healthy fat to bypass the liver.
Dosage guidelines according to the University of Maryland Medical Center:

Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day
If you’re interested, here’s a golden milk recipe that’s worth trying.


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TURMERIC Found More Effective Than Phenylbutazone

Diet & Nutrition, Equine Healthcare

Curcumin reduces acute pain and inflammation better than NSAID phenylbutazone (5)The anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin was evaluated in a group of patients who underwent surgery or suffered from trauma. A double-blind controlled-trial in which three groups received curcumin (400 mg/day), a placebo, or phenylbutazone (100 mg/day) for five consecutive days after surgery.






Treatment with curcumin resulted in reduced inflammation more effectively than phenylbutazone. (5)Phenylbutazone is a powerful analgesic (painkiller) and an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Unlike NSAIDS, which have dangerous side-effects and black-box warnings, curcumin is safe and has no side-effects, even at doses up to 8,000 mg per day. (10, 11)References:
5. Satoskar R.R., et al. “Evaluation of anti-inflammatory property of curcumin in patients with post-operative inflammation,” Int. J. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. Toxicol.: 24(12), 651-4, 1986.
10. Sarker, S.D., et al. “Bioactivity of Turmeric,” Turmeric: The genus Curcuma; Medicinal and aromatic plants–industrial profiles, edited by Ravindran, P.N., et al. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2007.
11. Cheng, A.L., et al. “Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemoprotective agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anti-cancer Res. 2001; July-Aug 21:2895-2900:
A preliminary trial in people with rheumatoid arthritis found curcumin to be somewhat useful for reducing inflammation and symptoms such as pain and stiffness.8 A separate double-blind trial found that curcumin was superior to placebo or phenylbutazone (an NSAID) for alleviating post-surgical inflammation.9References:
8. Deodhar SD, Sethi R, Srimal RC. Preliminary studies on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferuloyl methane). Ind J Med Res 1980;71:632-4.
Numerous experimental studies have demonstrated
that curcumin produces exceptional anti-inflammatory
effects (5,6). Curcumin is as effective as cortisone or the
potent anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone in models
of acute inflammation (7). However, while phenylbutazone
and cortisone are associated with significant
toxicity, curcumin is without side effects. Animals fed
very high levels of curcumin (3 g/kg body weight) did not
exhibit any significant adverse effects (8).

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Ways to increase dopamine levels to boost brain productivity

Dopamine is involved in different functions including motivation, movement, reward and even addiction. Increased dopamine levels help people to stay focused and productive.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter generated by the brain which produces enough energy to run the body. It regulates the flow of information through the brain, stimulates the heart, controls movement and allows humans to experience feelings of pleasure and passion, the Health News Stand website writes.

If you are experiencing sugar and caffeine cravings, insomnia, low libido and if you cannot handle stress, focus or concentrate, have low mental energy and fell depressed, bored or apathetic, you may have dopamine deficiency.

Natural News has concocted a list of ways to increase dopamine levels to boost brain productivity:

People accumulate toxins and bacteria, which is why cleansing the gut of endotoxins is a must. Endotoxins constraint the production of dopamine, but there are a few ways to make sure this does not happen: get enough sleep, eat fermented goods and resist the urge to indulge in sugary foods.

Listen to music
Several studies have shown that the brain releases dopamine when people listen to music they really enjoy. Even the anticipation of hearing music you enjoy is enough to increase dopamine levels.

Praying, meditating and even exercising self-reflection are linked to increased dopamine levels. In this scenario, doing nothing is not only permitted, but also preferred.

Green tea
Green tea has a plethora of benefits, including the fact that it increases dopamine levels. It contains polyphenols, micronutrients which improve brain and heart function.

Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo can increase dopamine levels while boosting oxygen flow and blood flow to the brain, thus promoting healthy transmission of nerve impulses.

Curcumin [one of the active ingredients in turmeric] can effortlessly cross the blood-brain barrier and increase dopamine levels. Studies have shown that curcumin inhibits memory loss.

Certain foods
Certain foods have the ability to increase dopamine levels. Here is a list of products that boost brain production as a result of increased dopamine levels: meat, fish, tofu, eggs, cottage cheese, yoghurt, avocado, bananas, seeds, spinach and legumes.

Certain studies show that aerobic exercise for 30 minutes will not increase synaptic concentrations of dopamine in the human brain, but most research indicates that physical exercise may actually boost levels of dopamine in certain regions.

Australian National Review

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Obesity, Diabetes, and Gut Microbiota

Giovanni Musso, MD1, Roberto Gambino, PHD2 and Maurizio Cassader, PHD

Diabetes Care October 2010 vol. 33 no. 10 2277-2284

The connection between gut microbiota and energy homeostasis and inflammation and its role in the pathogenesis of obesity-related disorders are increasingly recognized. Animals models of obesity connect an altered microbiota composition to the development of obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes in the host through several mechanisms: increased energy harvest from the diet, altered fatty acid metabolism and composition in adipose tissue and liver, modulation of gut peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 secretion, activation of the lipopolysaccharide toll-like receptor-4 axis, and modulation of intestinal barrier integrity by GLP-2. Instrumental for gut microbiota manipulation is the understanding of mechanisms regulating gut microbiota composition. Several factors shape the gut microflora during infancy: mode of delivery, type of infant feeding, hospitalization, and prematurity. Furthermore, the key importance of antibiotic use and dietary nutrient composition are increasingly recognized. The role of the Western diet in promoting an obesogenic gut microbiota is being confirmation in subjects. Following encouraging results in animals, several short-term randomized controlled trials showed the benefit of prebiotics and probiotics on insulin sensitivity, inflammatory markers, postprandial incretins, and glucose tolerance. Future research is needed to unravel the hormonal, immunomodulatory, and metabolic mechanisms underlying microbe-microbe and microbiota-host interactions and the specific genes that determine the health benefit derived from probiotics. While awaiting further randomized trials assessing long-term safety and benefits on clinical end points, a healthy lifestyle—including breast lactation, appropriate antibiotic use, and the avoidance of excessive dietary fat intake—may ensure a friendly gut microbiota and positively affect prevention and treatment of metabolic disorders.

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Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems.
Many studies have taken place in test tubes and animals. Turmeric may not work as well in humans. Some studies have used an injectable form of curcumin, the active substance in turmeric, and not all studies agree. Finally, some of the studies show conflicting evidence.
Turmeric is widely used in cooking and gives Indian curry its flavor and yellow color. It is also used in mustard and to color butter and cheese. Turmeric has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds.
Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.
Research suggests that turmeric may be helpful for the following conditions:
Source: Turmeric | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center
Follow us: @UMMC on Twitter | MedCenter on Facebook

Indigestion or Dyspepsia
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which some people think may help improve digestion. The German Commission E, which determines which herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, has approved turmeric for digestive problems. And one double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that turmeric reduced symptoms of bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion.
Ulcerative colitis
Turmeric may help people with ulcerative colitis stay in remission. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the digestive tract where symptoms tend to come and go. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people whose ulcerative colitis was in remission took either curcumin or placebo, along with conventional medical treatment, for 6 months. Those who took curcumin had a significantly lower relapse rate than those who took placebo.
Stomach Ulcers
Turmeric does not seem to help treat stomach ulcers. In fact, there is some evidence that it may increase stomach acid, making existing ulcers worse. (See “Precautions” section.)
Because of turmeric’s ability to reduce inflammation, researchers have wondered if it may help relieve osteoarthritis pain. One study found that people using an Ayurvedic formula of herbs and minerals with turmeric, winter cherry (Withinia somnifera), boswellia (Boswellia serrata), and zinc had less pain and disability. But it’s impossible to know whether turmeric, one of the other supplements, or all of them together, was responsible for the effects.
Heart Disease
Early studies suggested that turmeric may help prevent atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke. In animal studies, an extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and kept LDL (bad) cholesterol from building up in blood vessels. Because it stops platelets from clumping together, turmeric may also prevent blood clots from building up along the walls of arteries. But a double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that taking curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, at a dose of up to 4 g per day did not improve cholesterol levels.
There has been a great deal of research on turmeric’s anti-cancer properties, but results are still very preliminary. Evidence from test tube and animal studies suggests that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancer. Tumeric’s preventive effects may relate to its antioxidant properties, which protect cells from damage. More research is needed. Cancer should be treated with conventional medications. Don’t use alternative therapies alone to treat cancer. If you choose to use complementary therapies along with your cancer treatment, make sure you tell all your doctors.
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Test tube and animal studies suggest turmeric may kill bacteria and viruses, but researchers don’t know whether it would work in people.
A preliminary study suggests curcumin may help treat uveitis, an inflammation of the eye’s iris. Preliminary research suggests that curcumin may be as effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication usually prescribed. More research is needed.
Neurodegenerative Conditions
Tumeric’s powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and circulatory effects may help prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions.
Plant Description
A relative of ginger, turmeric is a perennial plant that grows 5 to 6 feet high in the tropical regions of Southern Asia, with trumpet-shaped, dull yellow flowers. Its roots are bulbs that also produce rhizomes, which then produce stems and roots for new plants. Turmeric is fragrant and has a bitter, somewhat sharp taste. Although it grows in many tropical locations, the majority of turmeric is grown in India, where it is used as a main ingredient in curry.
Parts Used
The roots, or rhizomes and bulbs, are used in medicine and food. They are generally boiled and then dried, turning into the familiar yellow powder. Curcumin, the active ingredient, has antioxidant properties. Other substances in this herb have antioxidant properties as well.
Available Forms
Turmeric is available in the following forms:
Capsules containing powder
Fluid extract
Bromelain increases the absorption and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, so it is often combined with turmeric products.
How to Take It
Turmeric supplements haven’t been studied in children, so there is no recommended dose.
The following doses are recommended for adults:
Cut root: 1.5 to 3 g per day
Dried, powdered root: 1 to 3 g per day
Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 to 600 mg, 3 times per day
Fluid extract (1:1) 30 to 90 drops a day
Tincture (1:2): 15 to 30 drops, 4 times per day
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. However, herbs can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
Turmeric in food is considered safe.
Turmeric and curcumin supplements are considered safe when taken at the recommended doses. However, taking large amounts of turmeric for long periods of time may cause stomach upset and, in extreme cases, ulcers. People who have gallstones or obstruction of the bile passages should talk to their doctor before taking turmeric.
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking turmeric supplements. Turmeric may lower blood sugar levels. When combined with medications for diabetes, turmeric could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Although it is safe to eat foods with turmeric, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take turmeric supplements.
Because turmeric may act like a blood thinner, you should stop taking it at least 2 weeks before surgery. Tell your doctor and surgeon that you have been taking turmeric.
Possible Interactions
If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use turmeric or curcumin in medicinal forms without first talking to your health care provider.
Blood-thinning medications — Turmeric may strengthen the effects of these drugs, raising the risk of bleeding. Blood thinners include warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin, among others.
Drugs that reduce stomach acid — Turmeric may interfere with the action of these drugs, increasing the production of stomach acid:
Cimetidine (Tagamet)
Famotidine (Pepcid)
Ranitidine (Zantac)
Esomeprazole (Nexium)
Omeprazole (Prilosec)
Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
Diabetes Medications — Turmeric may strengthen the effects of these drugs, increasing the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Supporting Research
Aggarwal BB. Curcumin-free tumeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of tumeric. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013; 57:1529-42.
Aggarwal BB, Sundaram C, Malani N, Ichikawa H. Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75.
Asai A, Miyazawa T. Dietary curcuminoids prevent high-fat diet-induced lipid accumulation in rat liver and epididymal adipose tissue. J Nutr. 2001;131:2932-2935.
Asher GN, Spelman K. Clinical utility of curcumin extract. Altern Ther Health Med. 2013;19:20-2.
Baum L, et al. Curcumin effects on blood lipid profile in a 6-month human study. Pharmacol Res. 2007;56:509-14.
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:379-384.
Bolognia: Dermatology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.
Curcuma longa (turmeric). Monograph. Altern Med Rev. 2001;6 Suppl:S62-S66.
Darvesh AS, Aggarwal BB, Bishayee A. Curcumin and Liver Cancer: A Review. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2011 Apr 5. [Epub ahead of print]
Davis JM, Murphy EA, Carmichael MD, Zielinski MR, Groschwitz CM, Brown AS, Ghaffar A, Mayer EP. Curcumin effects on inflammation and performance recovery following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Mar 1 [Epub ahead of print]
Dorai T, Cao YC, Dorai B, Buttyan R, Katz AE. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. III. Curcumin inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis, and inhibits angiogenesis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells in vivo. Prostate. 2001;47:293-303.
Dorai T, Gehani N, Katz A. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. II. Curcumin inhibits tyrosine kinase activity of epidermal growth factor receptor and depletes the protein. Mol Urol. 2000;4:1-6.
Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo JN, Kuscuoglu N, Wilson J, McCaffrey G, et al. Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2006;54:3452-64.
Gautam SC, Gao X, Dulchavsky S. Immunodilation by curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:321-41.
Gescher A J, Sharma R A, Steward W P. Cancer chemoprevention by dietary constituents: a tale of failure and promise. Lancet Oncol. 2001;2:371-379.
Goel A, Kunnumakkara AB, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin as “Curecumin”: from kitchen to clinic. Biochem Pharmacol. 2008;75:787-809.
Hanai H, Iida T, Takeuchi K, Watanabe F, Maruyama Y, Andoh A, et al. Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006;4:1502-6.
Handler N, Jaeger W, Puschacher H, Leisser K, Erker T. Synthesis of novel curcumin analogues and their evaluation as selective cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) inhibitors. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2007;55:64-71.
Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000;57:1221-1227.
Jagetia GC, Aggarwal BB. “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. J Clin Immunol. 2007;27:19-35.
Johnson JJ, Mukhtar H. Curcumin for chemoprevention of colon cancer. Cancer Lett. 2007 Apr 18; [Epub ahead of print]
Kapakos G, Youreva V, Srivastava AK. Cardiovascular protection by curcumin: molecular aspects. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2012; 49:306-15.
Kim DS, Kim JY, Han Y. Curcuminoids in neurodegenerative diseases. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov. 2012; 7:184-204.
Kim MS, Kang HJ, Moon A. Inhibition of invasion and induction of apoptosis by curcumin in H-ras-transformed MCF10A human breast epithelial cells. Arch Pharm Res. 2001;24:349-354.
Krishnaswamy K. Traditional Indian spices and their health significance. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:265-8.
Nagaraju GP, Aliya S, Zafar SF, Basha R, Diaz R, El-Rayes BF. The impact of curcumin on breast cancer. Integr Biol (Camb). 2012; 4:996-1007.
Pari L, Tewas D, Eckel J. Role of curcumin in health and disease. Arch Physiol Biochem. 2008;114:127-49.
Phan TT, See P, Lee ST, Chan SY. Protective effects of curcumin against oxidative damage on skin cells in vitro: its implication for wound healing. J Trauma 2001;51:927-931.
Rakel D. Rakel: Integrative Medicine, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.
Rao CV. Regulation of COX and LOX by curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:213-26.
Sharma RA, Ireson CR, Verschoyle RD. Effects of dietary curcumin on glutathione S-Transferase and Malondialdehyde-DNA adducts in rat liver and colon mucosa: relationship with drug levels. Clin Cancer Res. 2001;7:1452-1458.
Sharma RA, Steward WP, Gescher AJ. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:453-70.
Shehzad A, Khan S, Shehzad O, Lee YS. Curcumin therapeutic promises and bioavailability in colorectal cancer. Drugs Today (Barc). 2010;46:523-32. Review.
Shehzad A, Lee J, Lee YS. Curcumin in various cancers. Biofactors. 2013; 39:56-68.
Shehzad A, Rehman G, Lee YS. Curcumin in inflammatory diseases. Biofactors. 2013; 39:69-77.
Shishodia S, Singh T, Chaturvedi MM. Modulation of transcription factors by curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:127-48.
Su CC, Lin JG, Li TM, Chung JG, Yang JS, Ip SW, et al. Curcumin-induced apoptosis of human colon cancer colo 205 cells through the production of ROS, Ca2+ and the activation of caspase-3. Anticancer Res. 2006;26:4379-89.
Suryanarayana P, Satyanarayana A, Balakrishna N, Kumar PU, Reddy GB. Effect of turmeric and curcumin on oxidative stress and antioxidant enzymes in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat. Med Sci Monit. 2007;13:BR286-92.
White B, Judkins DZ. Clinical Inquiry. Does turmeric relieve inflammatory conditions? J Fam Pract. 2011;60:155-6. Review.
Zafir A, Banu N. Antioxidant potential of fluoxetine in comparison to Curcuma longa in restraint-stressed rats. Eur J Pharmacol. 2007;572:23-31.

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Octacosanol supplementation increases running endurance time and improves biochemical parameters after exhaustion in trained rats.

Octacosanol supplementation increases running endurance time and improves biochemical parameters after exhaustion in trained rats.

Kim H, Park S, Han DS, Park T.

J Med Food. 2003 Winter;6(4):345-51

This study evaluated the effects of octacosanol on running performance and related biochemical parameters in exercise-trained rats run to exhaustion on a treadmill. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to one of three groups – sedentary control group (SC), exercise-trained control group (EC), and exercise-trained, octacosanol-supplemented group (EO) – and raised on either control or octacosanol (0.75%)-supplemented diet with (or without for SC rats) exercise-training for 4 weeks. EC rats ran 184% longer until exhaustion than SC rats (P <.01), while octacosanol-supplemented trained rats ran 46% longer than EC rats (P <.05). Under the exhausted state immediately following the running performance test, EO rats exhibited significantly higher plasma ammonia and lactate concentrations compared with the values for EC rats (P <.05). Although EO rats ran significantly longer until exhausted, their plasma glucose level and gastronecmius muscle glycogen concentration were not significantly different from those of EC rats. Dietary supplementation of octacosanol resulted in significantly higher creatine phosphokinase activity in plasma (44% increase, P <.01) and citrate synthase activity in muscle (16% increase, P<.01) of exercise-trained rats. These results suggest that the ergogenic properties of octacosanol include the sparing of muscle glycogen stores and increases in the oxidative capacity in the muscle of exercise-trained rats.

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Red blood cells in sports: effects of exercise and training on oxygen supply by red blood cells

Heimo Mairbäurl

Front. Physiol., 12 November 2013

During exercise the cardiovascular system has to warrant substrate supply to working muscle. The main function of red blood cells in exercise is the transport of O2 from the lungs to the tissues and the delivery of metabolically produced CO2 to the lungs for expiration. Hemoglobin also contributes to the blood’s buffering capacity, and ATP and nitric oxide (NO) release from red blood cells contributes to vasodilation and improved blood flow to working muscle. These functions require adequate amounts of red blood cells in circulation. Trained athletes, particularly in endurance sports, have a decreased hematocrit, which is sometimes called “sports anemia.” This is not anemia in a clinical sense, because athletes have in fact an increased total mass of red blood cells and hemoglobin in circulation relative to sedentary individuals. The slight decrease in hematocrit by training is brought about by an increased plasma volume (PV). The mechanisms that increase total red blood cell mass by training are not understood fully. Despite stimulated erythropoiesis, exercise can decrease the red blood cell mass by intravascular hemolysis mainly of senescent red blood cells, which is caused by mechanical rupture when red blood cells pass through capillaries in contracting muscles, and by compression of red cells e.g., in foot soles during running or in hand palms in weightlifters. Together, these adjustments cause a decrease in the average age of the population of circulating red blood cells in trained athletes. These younger red cells are characterized by improved oxygen release and deformability, both of which also improve tissue oxygen supply during exercise.

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Endothelial nitric oxide synthase in red blood cells: Key to a new erythrocrine function?

Miriam M. Cortese-Krott and Malte Kelm

Redox Biology
Volume 2, 2014, Pages 251–258


  1. We define erythrocrine function the ability of RBC to secret signaling entities or transmitter molecules.
  2. Erythrocrine function include scavenging, transporting and producing NO metabolites and ATP.
  3. There is in vitro and in vivo evidence of a role of red cell eNOS in signaling and erythrocrine function.
  4. Red cell eNOS and erythrocrine function might be involved in organ protection.
  5. Further studies should address the role of red cell eNOS/RBC signaling in cardiovascular health.
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Xanthorrhizol: a review of its pharmacological activities and anticancer properties

Xanthorrhizol: a review of its pharmacological activities and anticancer properties

Oon SF1, Nallappan M1, Tee TT2, Shohaimi S1, Kassim NK3, Sa’ariwijaya MS4, Cheah YH2.

Cancer Cell Int. 2015 Oct 21;15:100

Xanthorrhizol (XNT) is a bisabolane-type sesquiterpenoid compound extracted from Curcuma xanthorrhiza Roxb. It has been well established to possess a variety of biological activities such as anticancer, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antihyperglycemic, antihypertensive, antiplatelet, nephroprotective, hepatoprotective, estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects. Since many synthetic drugs possess toxic side effects and are unable to support the increasing prevalence of disease, there is significant interest in developing natural product as new therapeutics. XNT is a very potent natural bioactive compound that could fulfil the current need for new drug discovery. Despite its importance, a comprehensive review of XNT’s pharmacological activities has not been published in the scientific literature to date. Here, the present review aims to summarize the available information in this area, focus on its anticancer properties and indicate the current status of the research. This helps to facilitate the understanding of XNT’s pharmacological role in drug discovery, thus suggesting areas where further research is required.
Anticancer; Curcuma xanthorrhiza Roxb.; Pharmacological; Xanthorrhizol

Full paper: 

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In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics

In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics

Chanchal Deep Kaur and Swarnlata Saraf

Pharmacognosy Res. 2010 Jan-Feb; 2(1): 22–25.

The aim of this study was to evaluate ultraviolet (UV) absorption ability of volatile and nonvolatile herbal oils used in sunscreens or cosmetics and express the same in terms of sun protection factor (SPF) values. Sun protection factor is a laboratory measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen; the higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen offers against the ultraviolet radiations causing sunburn. The in vitro SPF is determined according to the spectrophotometric method of Mansur et al. Hydroalcoholic dilutions of oils were prepared, and in vitro photoprotective activity was studied by UV spectrophotometric method in the range of 290-320 nm. It can be observed that the SPF values found for nonvolatile oils were in between 2 and 8; and for volatile oils, in between 1 and 7. Among the fixed oils taken, SPF value of olive oil was found to be the highest. Similarly among essential oils, SPF value of peppermint oil was found to be the highest. The study will be helpful in the selection of oils and fragrances to develop sunscreens with better safety and high SPF. Oily vehicles are more effective for producing a uniform and long-lasting film of sunscreen on the skin, and their emollient properties protect the skin against the drying effects of exposure to wind and sun. Volatile oils are used as perfumes in cosmetics.

Keywords: Erythema, herbal oils, spectrophotometric method, sun protection factor, sunscreens

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Red blood cells in sports: effects of exercise and training on oxygen supply by red blood cells

Red blood cells in sports: effects of exercise and training on oxygen supply by red blood cells
Heimo Mairbäurl

Front Physiol. 2013; 4: 332.

During exercise the cardiovascular system has to warrant substrate supply to working muscle. The main function of red blood cells in exercise is the transport of O2 from the lungs to the tissues and the delivery of metabolically produced CO2 to the lungs for expiration. Hemoglobin also contributes to the blood’s buffering capacity, and ATP and NO release from red blood cells contributes to vasodilation and improved blood flow to working muscle. These functions require adequate amounts of red blood cells in circulation. Trained athletes, particularly in endurance sports, have a decreased hematocrit, which is sometimes called “sports anemia.” This is not anemia in a clinical sense, because athletes have in fact an increased total mass of red blood cells and hemoglobin in circulation relative to sedentary individuals. The slight decrease in hematocrit by training is brought about by an increased plasma volume (PV). The mechanisms that increase total red blood cell mass by training are not understood fully. Despite stimulated erythropoiesis, exercise can decrease the red blood cell mass by intravascular hemolysis mainly of senescent red blood cells, which is caused by mechanical rupture when red blood cells pass through capillaries in contracting muscles, and by compression of red cells e.g., in foot soles during running or in hand palms in weightlifters. Together, these adjustments cause a decrease in the average age of the population of circulating red blood cells in trained athletes. These younger red cells are characterized by improved oxygen release and deformability, both of which also improve tissue oxygen supply during exercise.

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ATP increases endothelial nitrous oxide production

Endothelium-derived nitric oxide production is increased by ATP released from red blood cells incubated with hydroxyurea.

Nitric Oxide. 2014 Apr 30;38:1-7
Lockwood SY, Erkal JL, Spence DM.

Red blood cells (RBCs) release adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in response to a variety of stimuli, including flow-induced deformation. Hydroxyurea (HU), a proven therapy for individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD), is known to improve blood flow. However, the exact mechanism leading to the improved blood flow is incomplete. Here, we report that the incubation of human RBCs with HU enhances ATP release from these cells and that this ATP is capable of stimulating nitric oxide (NO) production in an endothelium. RBCs incubated with HU were pumped through micron-size flow channels in a microfluidic device. The release of ATP from the RBCs was measured using the luciferin-luciferase assay in detection wells on the device that were separated from the flow channels by a porous polycarbonate membrane. NO released from a layer of bovine artery endothelial cells (bPAECs) cultured on the polycarbonate membrane was also measured using the extracellular NO probe DAF-FM. ATP release from human RBCs incubated with 100 μM HU was observed to be 2.06±0.37-fold larger than control samples without HU (p<0.05, N ≥ 3). When HU-incubated RBCs were flowed under a layer of bPAECs, NO released from the bPAEC layer was measured to be 1.34±0.10-fold higher than controls. An antagonist of the P2Y receptor established that this extra 30% increase in NO release is ATP mediated. Furthermore, when RBCs were incubated with L-NAME, a significant decrease in endothelium-derived NO production was observed. Control experiments suggest that RBC-generated NO indirectly affects endothelial NO production via its effects on RBC-derived ATP release.


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Oxidative stability of virgin olive oils

An investigation was carried out on virgin olive oils of the Gentile (Larino), Gentile (Colletorto), Coratina, and Leccino varieties, harvested at different times, to assess their oxidation stability. The olive oils were analyzed by means of peroxide, K232′ and K270 values at 1, 6, 12, and 18 mon of storage in green bottles, in the dark, at temperatures ranging from a mean of 6°C in winter to 12°C in summer. A subsample was also oven-tested at 75°C and then analyzed on a weekly basis using the same oxidative parameters. The less ripe the olives (harvested in the same area during 1 mon), the more resistant the olive oils were to forced oxidation. The amount of total phenols in the oils was found to be directly related, even if to a low degree, to the oleuropein content in the olives and inversely related, to the same degree, to (3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)ethanol. The latter is a derivative of oleuropein; (3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)ethanol content increases as the olives ripen, but it is very low in fresh virgin olive oils, owing to the hydrophilic nature of the phenolic alcohol, which goes mainly into the waste-water during processing. Among the varieties considered, Coratina oils showed the highest resistance to forced oxidation because of their high total phenol content.
Key Words
(3,4-Dihydroxyphenyl)ethanol K232′ K232′ K270′ oleuropein olive variety peroxide value phenolic compounds thermal oxidation virgin olive oil

L. Cinquanta, M. Esti, M. Di Matteo

Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society
December 2001, Volume 78, Issue 12, pp 1197-1202

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Myth Buster: Olive Oil is One of the Safest Oils for Frying and Cooking

by John P. Thomas
Health Impact News

One of the most common myths perpetrated on the Internet is that while olive oil is healthy, it should not be used for cooking or frying. The belief is that somehow the high heat used in cooking or frying makes olive oil unhealthy. However, this belief is not consistent with historical uses of olive oil in Mediterranean cuisine, nor with a wide body of published research.

Olive oil is not only safe for cooking, but it is recommended by scientists and olive oil experts for high temperature frying! The notion that extra virgin olive oil should never be heated or used for cooking is not supported by research.

Dr. Mary Enig, author of Know Your Fats, is one of America’s foremost experts on healthy fats and oils. She recommends her own personal blend of oils including using olive oil for cooking. She states,

“A unique blend of oils that can be used for sautéing and light frying is one that is a blend of coconut oil (one-third), sesame oil (one-third), and olive oil (one-third). It is easy to make up in small portions ranging from a single tablespoon measure (one teaspoon of each oil) to a pint and a half size (one cup of each oil).”1

Dr. Enig’s recommendation is supported by a wide body of peer-reviewed published research. The high levels of antioxidants present in the highest quality olive oils, usually classified as extra virgin olive oils, are what make olive oil heat stable and an excellent choice for frying or cooking.

A study reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry tested the effects of continuously heating virgin olive oil for 36 hours to measure how the oil degraded. The scientists reported:

“Two monovarietal extra virgin olive oils from Arbequina and Picual cultivars were subjected to heating at 180 degrees C (356 degrees F) for 36 h. Oxidation progress was monitored by measuring oil quality changes (peroxide value and conjugated dienes and trienes), fatty acid composition, and minor compound content. … From these results, we can conclude that despite the heating conditions, VOO (virgin olive oil) maintained most of its minor compounds and, therefore, most of its nutritional properties.”2

Oxidized fats, which are primarily derived from polyunsaturated oils such as corn and soybean oils, are linked to inflammation and various diseases. Studies have been conducted comparing virgin olive oil with sunflower oil (a polyunsaturated oil) and cooking oils where antioxidants were added. These antioxidants, which are present naturally in high quality olive oils, protect against oxidative stress and inflammation when high heat is applied to the oils.3 In fact, the antioxidants present in olives are so powerful in resisting oxidation due to heat, that they are added to other cooking oils to make them more stable when cooking.4

The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) provides information about the maximum temperature that can be used when cooking with virgin olive oil.

“When heated, olive oil is the most stable fat, which means it stands up well to high frying temperatures. Its high smoke point (410ºF) 210ºC is well above the ideal temperature for frying food (356ºF) 180ºC. The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying.”5

In a nutshell, virgin olive oil can safely be used for cooking and even deep frying. The oil can be reused more than once, and the oil does not seriously degrade in normal household cooking. Olive oil is sensitive to sunlight, however, and is therefore usually packaged in tinted bottles.

Richard Gawel, an internationally known olive oil expert, also recommends the use of olive oil for cooking. He is a consultant taster and blender for a number of Australian olive oil companies, and has been the presiding judge of major olive oil shows in Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin olive oil show.6

These are the answers that Richard Gawel provides to commonly asked questions about cooking with olive oil.

Can I use extra virgin olive oils for frying?

Yes, but to be honest, refined olive oils (that is those labeled as ‘Pure’ or ‘Light’) are probably a more cost effective alternative when more than shallow frying. Refined olive oils also begin to smoke at a higher temperature than most extra virgin olive oils, making them more suited to deep frying. However, extra virgin olive oils are a far better alternative when shallow frying. It is commonly thought that extra virgin olive oil smokes at a low temperature. However, it is a fact that the lower the free fatty acidity (FFA) i.e. better oils, the higher the temperature at which the oil will begin to smoke. Therefore if you purchase high quality oil with an FFA less than 0.2%, then it will start to smoke at a temperature around 20C higher than your average supermarket EV imported from the EU. That’s a lot in culinary terms.

Can I reuse olive oil?

Yes, extra virgin olive oils can be reused a few times. However, keep in mind that each time an oil is heated and cooled it will lose some of its aroma, flavour, freshness and health giving polyphenols and tocopherol. … However, recent research has shown that the important antioxidant called oleocanthal loses its anti-inflammatory activity under even mild short term heating.

Do trans fats form in olive oil when it is heated?

No they don’t. Trans fats form when any edible oil is subjected to an industrial process called hydrogenation designed to turn liquid oil into an edible fat that is solid at room temperature – that is margarine. The hydrogenation process involves heating up oil under extreme pressure and then bubbling hydrogen gas through it in the presence of a Palladium metal catalyst. For trans fats to form all of these conditions must be in place – heat and pressure and hydrogen gas and an appropriate catalyst. It just can’t happen in your kitchen. The vast majority of trans fats in the average persons diet arise from fast foods, cheap margarines, or more commonly commercial baked products and crackers.”7

The common myth that olive oils are not suitable for cooking or frying is an unfortunate belief, particularly for those eating out at restaurants who want to avoid toxic GMO cooking oils such as corn, soybean, and canola. Many restaurants stock olive oil, and it is probably your best choice when ordering anything fried in restaurants, if the chef or cooks will accommodate your request. Saturated fats such as coconut oil are still the best choice for high heat cooking, but very few restaurants are stocking saturated fats yet these days, and we should not fear adding a high quality olive oil to our home kitchen cooking oils.

The olive oils with the highest levels of antioxidants, and therefore the most heat resistant to high-heat cooking or frying, are generally extra virgin olive oils. Unfortunately, many olive oils available in the market are adulterated and mislabeled extra virgin olive oils. See: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fraud: A Guide to Purchasing Olive Oil


1. Know Your Fats, Mary Enig, Ph.D., 2010, pp 197.

2. “How heating affects extra virgin olive oil quality indexes and chemical composition,” Y. Allouche, A. Jiménez, J. J. Gaforio, M. Uceda, G. Beltrán, J Agric Food Chem, 2007 Nov 14;55(23):9646-54. Epub 2007 Oct 13, PMID: 17935291

3.”The antioxidants in oils heated at frying temperature, whether natural or added, could protect against postprandial oxidative stress in obese people.” Perez-Herrera A, Food Chem. 2013 Jun 15;138(4):2250-9

4.” Influence of simulated deep frying on the antioxidant fraction of vegetable oils after enrichment with extracts fromolive oil pomace.” Orozco-Solano MI, Priego-Capote F, Luque de Castro MD. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Sep 28;59(18):9806-14

5. “Frying with Olive Oil,” International Olive Oil Council,,”


7. “Extra Virgin Olive Oil Frequently Asked Questions,” Richard Gawel, 2009.

Artisan Olive Oils from traditionally grown olives harvested on small family farms in Italy

– See more at:

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Oxidative stability of olive oil after food processing and comparison with other vegetable oils

The use of olive oil showed an important protection of meat and potatoes when compared with other vegetable oils, with sunflower oil samples being oxidised after 60 min of processing at 180 °C. Olive oil samples were not oxidised, independently of the olive oil quality used. Shelf life was longer for extra-virgin olive oil containing samples and this fact was positively correlated with their higher phenolic content. The radical-scavenging activity of extra-virgin olive oil was higher than for other olive oil samples and was also positively correlated with the phenolic content of the oil. Seed oil antioxidants showed little capacity in delaying the oxidative degradation of seed oils and meat processed with them. However, tocopherol content and the identity of tocopherols present in the oil were shown to have a more important role in the oxidative stability of seed oils than the fatty acid composition.

The presence of food showed a protective effect on the oils, with oil samples processed without food showing a higher level of oxidation than the oil samples processed in the presence of food. All polyphenolic components of olive oils decreased in concentration with the thermal treatment and this decrease was dramatic in the presence of food. During processing, two new compounds were found in olive oil samples and their concentration was higher for samples containing a higher initial polyphenolic content. The content in tocopherols was not so dramatically affected by the thermal treatment as was the polyphenolic content. Moreover, a sparing effect of food was, however, observed with the tocopherol content of samples which probably contributes to the better oxidative stability of these samples.

Lisete Silva, Joana Pinto, Joana Carrol, Fátima Paiva-Martins 

Food Chemistry
Volume 121, Issue 4, 15 August 2010, Pages 1177–1187

Olive oil; Vegetable oil; Roast processing; Polyphenols; Tocopherol; Antioxidant activity

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Science of bio available curcumin

Scientific support

Full article

Turmeric has a long history of traditional medicinal use in India to address many conditions. Modern cellular studies on curcumin have validated most of its traditional uses and the potential to address natural life conditions typical in Western.(2) Indeed, with almost 4000 pre-clinical investigations, curcumin is one of the best studied natural products of the whole biomedical literature(2).

As a result, curcumin has emerged as a master switch of addressing the natural inflammation response function, with both a direct and a genomic activity on relevant enzymes, transcription factors and cytokines, as well as at their genomic expression (3). Despite these promising findings, little clinical evidence of efficacy has so far been reported for curcumin, and most of its beneficial effects are suggested by epidemiological studies, supported by studies in animal models, extrapolated from studies in vitro, but not yet validated clinically.(2)

This paradoxical situation is mainly due to the poor absortption of curcumin with a dismally low oral absorption, characterized by plasma concentrations that are barely overcome 50 ng/mL after administration of dosages as high as 12 g/die(4).

Curcumin, just like most dietary phenolics, is sparingly soluble both in water and in oily solvents, but shows polar groups (two phenolic hydroxyl and one enolic hydroxyl) that can interact via hydrogen bondings and polar interactions with complementary group, like the polar heads of phospholipids.
Thus, phosphatidylcholine has a highly polarized head, with the negative charge of a phosphate group and the positive charge of the choline ammonium group, and can complex a variety of poorly soluble phenolics, including curcumin(1).

By embedding curcumin into the environment of phospholipids, the rapid exchange of phospholipids between biological membranes and the extracellular fluids can shuttle it into biological membranes, boosting its cellular captation.

A 2007 study published in the journal Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology(5) demonstrated Meriva®’s superior bioavailability compared to a standardized curcumin extract in rats.
Meriva® improved plasma Cmax and AUC of curcuminoids by 20-fold and levels of curcumin in the liver increased by much more then a 20 folds.

A high oral load of unformulated curcumin (340 mg/Kg) and an amount of Meriva® of 1.8 g/Kg, (corresponding to 340 mg/Kg of curcumin), were administered by oral gavage to Male Wistar rats. The presence of curcumin and metabolites was evaluated at 15, 30, 60 and 120 minutes after administration in plasma, liver and intestinal mucosa. In accordance with previous studies, 99% of curcumin was present in plasma as glucuronides, with the remaining 1% being curcumin sulphate and free curcumin. Complexation with phospholipids led to a marked increase in the concentration of all the plasma curcuminoids (over 23 fold in the case of glucuronides, ca 5-fold in the case of free curcumin, and ca 1.5-fold in the case of sulphates). Since glucuronides are by far the prevailing plasma curcuminoids, the overall bioavailability of curcumin, as expressed in plasma curcuminoids and calculated from AUC values, was improved by over 23-fold when this compound was administered as Meriva® compared to the unformulated natural product.

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Branch chain amino acids and equine endurance

Equine endurance exercise alters serum branched-chain amino acid and alanine concentrations


EQUINE EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY 6 Equine vet. J., Suppl. 34 (2002) 168-172

Six 2-year-old Arabian horses were used to determine
whether 60 km prolonged endurance exercise
(approximately 4 h) alters amino acid concentrations in
serum and muscle, and the time required for serum amino
acid concentrations to return to basal resting values. Blood
and muscle samples were collected throughout exercise and
during a 3 day recovery period. Isoleucine concentration in
muscle tended to increase and leucine and valine did not
change due to exercise. Serum alanine concentrations did not
increase immediately after exercise, but increased at 24, 48
and 72 h postexercise. Serum isoleucine, leucine, and valine
concentrations decreased after exercise and time required to
reach pre-exercising concentrations was 48 h. In conclusion,
endurance exercise in the horse decreases serum isoleucine,
leucine, and valine concentrations, and increases serum
alanine concentration. The decrease in serum branchedchain
amino acid concentrations did not correspond to a
measurable increase in total muscle branched-chain amino
acid concentrations.

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Antioxidative curcuminoids from rhizomes of Curcuma Xanthorrrhiza

Antooxidative curcuminoids from rhizoms of curcuma xanthorrhiza

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Xanthorrhizol and lung metastasis model in mice

Xanthorrhizol in lung metastasis model in mice

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Effect of Curcumin xanthorrhiza on lipid metabolism in rats

Effect of Curcumin Xanthorrhiza on lipid metabolism in rats

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Anti-proliferative and immunomodulatory activities of compounds isolated from Curcuma longa

Anti-proliferative and immunomodulatory activities of Curcuma Longa compounds

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