Could eating a curry each day actually be good for you?
We all know the famous phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, however we may now also be able to say ‘a curry a day keeps the doctor away’. This is according to researchers at Oregon State University in America. Working together with experts at the University of Denmark, they found that the compound curcumin, which is the main component of the widely used curry spice turmeric, causes a significant increase in levels of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP). This is a protein that aids the immune system in its fight against infection by any bacteria that the body hasn’t come across previously. This includes any fungi, viruses, etc. The study was published in the May 25 edition of the ‘Journal of Nutritional Biochemist’. Dr Adrian Gombart and graduate student Chunxiao Guo, analysed the possibility of curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids to increase expression of the CAMP gene. They found that omega-3 had no effect on the CAMP gene. However, Gombart and his team then discovered that curcumin caused levels of CAMP to nearly triple in laboratory tests on human cells. He commented, “This research points to a new avenue for regulating CAMP gene expression. It's interesting and somewhat surprising that curcumin can do that, and could provide another tool to develop medical therapies.” He went on to acknowledge that generally a person’s consumption of curcumin is usually quite low, but that sustained consumption over time could help protect against infection within the stomach and intestinal tract. Vitamin D has been shown to increase CAMP levels too. Unfortunately, high consumption of Vitamin D can result in high levels calcium being released into the blood. This can result in hypercalcemia, a condition whereby the sufferer can experience constipation, nausea, vomiting, kidney pain, muscular pain and many other symptoms. Researchers are now exploring other avenues of natural alternatives like curcumin.