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Health News Archive 340 - Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
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Curcumin Helps Minimize Damage From Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

Despite anti-smoking legislation that has been passed throughout the U.S. and all the efforts to increase awareness of the dangers of cigarette smoking, one in four American males and one in five American females still smoke. What’s more, nearly 6,000 children under 18 years of age start smoking each day and 2,000 of these become regular smokers, totaling almost 800,000 new regular smokers each year.

A new study has found that curcumin, the natural yellow pigment found in turmeric that has been found to help protect against both breast cancer and intestinal cancer.

In the study, researchers divided 24 rats into four groups. The first group served as the control group. The second group received 10 ml per kg of bodyweight of a solution containing 20% Ethanol Alcohol. They were also subjected to cigarette smoke that was equal to 18–20 cigarettes per day and contained 31.5 mg tar and 1.6 mg nicotine. The third group was exposed to cigarette smoke and alcohol and was given curcumin (80 mg per kg bodyweight). The fourth group was also given curcumin but in 1.0 ml of solution. Throughout the two-week study, researchers took blood samples to measure for liver/kidney damage as well as cholesterol.

After two weeks, the researchers found that, compared to the control group:

1. Markers of both liver and kidney damage were “significantly elevated” in the group subjected to ethanol and cigarette smoke but “significantly decreased” in both groups that received curcumin.

2. HDL and LDL cholesterol levels were: “significantly altered” in the group receiving ethanol alcohol compared to both the control and curcumin groups. HDL levels decreased and LDL levels increased in the groups subjected to ethanol and cigarette smoke.

The researchers concluded, “curcumin could counteract the injurious effects of combined cigarette smoke and ethanol alcohol and thus might help to reduce the risk which develop due to smoking and drinking.”

Source: Vanisree AJ. Curcumin Combats Against Cigarette Smoke and Ethanol-Induced Lipid Alterations in Rat Lung and Liver. Mol Cell Biochem 2006, posted online May 12, 2006.

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