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Curcumin and arterial function in health and disease

impact on oxidative stress and inflammation

Fleenor, Bradley S.a; Carlini, Nicholas A.a; Campbell, Marilyn S.b

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: November 2019 - Volume 22 - Issue 6 - p 459–464
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000598
MICRONUTRIENTS: Edited by Henry C. Lukaski and Véronique Coxam
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Purpose of review The purpose of this review is to provide a concise overview of the polyphenol curcumin for improving arterial health, specifically endothelial function and arterial stiffness, to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and to highlight potential mechanisms of action by which curcumin may improve artery function.

Recent findings The primary findings of this review support the notion for curcumin to improve arterial health both with aging and obesity. There are few clinical trials on curcumin, and those that currently exist are small in scale but provide evidence for curcumin to improve endothelial function in older adults and reduce arterial stiffness in young, obese men. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin appear to be important targets of curcumin that are related to improved arterial health. Mechanistic studies have revealed superoxide dismutase, heme oxygenase-1 and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 as emerging targets for the beneficial effects of curcumin on the vasculature.

Summary In summary, the efficacy of curcumin for improving arterial function is promising in the limited number of clinical studies performed to date. Still, much investigation is needed to elucidate the effectiveness of curcumin for improving arterial health to lower CVD risk.

aHuman Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

bDepartment of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Correspondence to Bradley S. Fleenor, PhD, Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA. Tel: +1 765 285 1811; e-mail: bsfleenor@bsu.edu

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