A study suggests that ingredients in the curry spice turmeric may help to support liver function.
Substances in turmeric - a spice grown in India and commonly used for flavour and colour in curries - may help to support and improve liver function, a study has found.
Scientists at Chonbuk National University Hospital in South Korea recruited 60 people, aged 20 and over, for a randomised placebo-controlled trial to examine the effects of fermented turmeric powder on liver function.
All of the patients had been diagnosed with mild to moderately raised levels of alanine transaminase (ALT), a liver enzyme that is often used as a marker of liver function, with increased levels in the blood indicating the presence of liver damage.
Their levels of this enzyme ranged between 40 IU/L and 200 IU/L.
Participants were given 3g per day of either fermented turmeric powder or a placebo (dummy supplement) to take after meals for 12 weeks.
Among the 48 volunteers who completed the trial with sufficient data, those who used fermented turmeric powder showed a greater reduction in ALT levels than those taking the placebo.
Turmeric users also showed significant decreases in levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) - another marker of liver function - and slight reductions in levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), which is elevated in some liver diseases.
The extract did not seem to cause any severe side-effects, indicating that people can use it without any fears for their health.
Publishing their findings in the journal BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, the study authors concluded: "The data of this trial indicate that fermented turmeric powder is effective and safe, generally well-tolerated without severe adverse events, in the treatment of subjects with elevated ALT levels over a 12-week period."
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