If you have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or any form of cardiac muscle disease, there are drugs that can help. But if you start taking these drugs, you'll probably have to take them for the rest of your life. So treating the problem naturally should always be the first place to start.
I've told you in the past that the first place to turn for heart problems is magnesium. This one mineral can stop a heart attack, it can lower blood pressure, and it can fix many other heart problems. Now researchers have found another nutrient you need to take along with the magnesium.
In this study, researchers showed that curcumin (turmeric) can protect your heart from damage. And it's especially helpful if you have heart failure.
What I really like about this study is that the researchers didn't stop with the first experiment. They took an extra step to confirm their results. In the first phase, they looked at cultured heart cells. Then they looked at its impact on living animals.
First, the researchers exposed cultured heart cells of a rat to an adrenaline-like drug. This drug promotes inflammation, fibrosis, and hypertrophy. Then they exposed the cells to curcumin. They found that the curcumin significantly reduced the drug's ability to enlarge cells. It also reduced B natriuretic peptide, which is a lab marker of cardiac cellular stress.
After seeing how effective the curcumin protected against cardiac damage in the lab dish, the researchers then did a similar experiment on living mice. They started by giving the animals 75 mg/kg daily of curcumin for one week. Then they gave them the drug. They discovered the curcumin did a lot more than prevent enlarged cells and reduced B natriuretic peptide. It also halted the dangerous increase in chamber dilation. And it did this in both the relaxed and contracted phases. It even slowed the increase in heart mass that the drug caused in the control mice.
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As if that weren't enough, the researchers also wanted to know if curcumin had the ability to protect the animals' hearts from banding their aorta. This condition greatly raises pressure within the heart. Here's what they found. The curcumin slowed the banding and significantly lessened cardiac hypertrophy (enlargement). And the curcumin also prevented adverse cardiac remodeling and ventricular dysfunction.
This is great news for all of us. Not only will curcumin help those who already have heart problems, but it will help you avoid these problems in the first place. You can get curcumin in supplement form at any health food store. It's usually in 500 mg capsules. However, I don't recommend most curcumin/turmeric supplements. Your body just can't absorb most of them. So you're wasting your money. I recommend Meriva®, a form of turmeric that's 29 times better absorbed than normal turmeric. You can find this form in Reduloxin.
If you have heart problems, the normal dose on the bottle may not be enough to reverse your heart condition — especially if you have heart failure. It might take up to two to four times that amount (or more). You can start at this level for a month or two and see if it helps. If not, you can up the dose in increment of two capsules per day. Give each dosage at least a month or two to work before increasing it again. If you're taking magnesium up to bowel tolerance (no more than 1,000 mg daily), you shouldn't need excessively large doses of Meriva to see results. You may want to talk to your integrative doctor for additional help.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
"Curcumin prevents and reverses murine cardiac hypertrophy," Li HL, Liu C, et al, J Clin Invest, 2008; 118(3): 879-893.