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Exercise and Turmeric Updates

June 3, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

This week’s edition of Twitter Thursday offers up several important reasons to exercise more often and new information about a nutraceutical/spice which may protect against the damage caused by heavy metal exposure. My guests today are Shari Roan, a health columnist from The Los Angeles Times; Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, the founding president of the Bastyr University and Missy Chase Lapine, “The Sneaky Chef”.

A current Twitter post from the LA Times references a presentation given on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association. It proclaimed that men who exercised regularly scored higher on a six question, sexual-function index. The basis for this observation comes from a study conducted at the Durham VA Medical Center involving 178 African American and White senior men. The researchers noted a direct correlation between the amount of exercise performed and sexual function and satisfaction. The findings held true even after adjusting for a number of variables including age, body mass index, depression, diabetes, heart disease and race. Previous investigations have drawn a reliable association between a lack of exercise and an elevated risk of diabetes, heart disease and sexual dysfunction. By increasing exercise, all three health concerns and many others generally show signs of improvement. (1,2,3)

Missy Chase Lapine recently authored a new book in her “sneaky” book series entitled Sneaky Fitness. One of her most recent tweets matches her philosophy about getting the most out of exercise even if you have the busiest of schedules. To make her point, she cites an Associated Press column which in turn references studies from the journal Science Translational Medicine and the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. The take home message is that exercising for as little as 10 minutes a day can bring about positive metabolic changes that last for at least one hour and sometimes considerably longer. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital determined that walking on a treadmill affected more than 20 metabolites that impact blood sugar control, calorie and fat burning potential. But an equally important discovery is that the more fit you are, the more calories and fat you burn – even post-exercise.

Naturally, scientists are fast on the hunt for chemical compounds that might mimic the heralded benefits of exercise. One natural supplement presently being investigated is the protein-derivative, L-carnitine. A newly published study found that supplementing with 4 grams daily of L-carnitine, in addition to a reduced calorie diet, significantly improved insulin resistance in patients with blood sugar abnormalities. However, this is but one mechanism by which researchers believe that exercise promotes healthier weight and general wellness. In short, there is no substitute for regular exercise at present. (4,5,6,7)

Blood Sugar & Cardiovascular Risk Factors (MetS) are Associated w/ Low Testosterone
Source: Diabetes September 2009 vol. 58 no. 9 2027-2031 (link)

I have a love-hate relationship with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno’s posts on Twitter. The up side is that Dr. Joe is one of the most respectable figures in the integrative health movement and with good cause. He frequently relays some very intriguing information such as, “Curcumin limits the damaging effects of mercury and helps its elimination from the body”. This is valuable data. Great! But where’s the evidence? There’s no citation or link added to fortify such bold statements. But that’s not the end of the world because I can often track down what I *think* he’s alluding to in the scientific literature. In this case, it’s a study that appears in the March 2010 edition of the Journal of Applied Toxicology. Here are some of the details of this preliminary research:

  • Two groups of rats were exposed to mercury in the form of mercuric chloride.
  • Half of the rats were also given 80 mg/kg/day of curcumin orally for 3 days alongside the mercury application.
  • The rats receiving curcumin were largely protected against mercury-induced oxidative damage in the brain, kidneys and liver.
  • Pre/post treatment with curcumin also reduced systemic mercury concentrations – suggesting a greater rate of heavy metal elimination.

This isn’t the first time that curcumin, a component of turmeric, has been linked to a protective effect with regard to heavy metals. This orange-pigmented spice is documented as possessing liver shielding activity in cases of excess iron exposure and/or accumulation. The latter may be partially responsible for tumeric’s well established cancer fighting properties. (8,9,10,11)

Based on the previous tweets, you can clearly see that it doesn’t take monumental lifestyle changes to support better health. If you take today’s information literally, all you have to do is find at least 10 minutes a day to exercise and possibly season your food with turmeric every now and then. I would especially consider adding turmeric to dishes that likely contain some degree of mercury contamination such as seafood-based meals. In both cases, a small investment could yield big rewards.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Exercise, Interviews, Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements

9 Comments & Updates to “Exercise and Turmeric Updates”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Good Morning, JP ☻

    great article ☼

    its an interesting fact that cucurmin protects us against poisons in our food. so it keeps the balance 😉

    about exercises: its not always neccessary to do more sport, also small changes in daily behaviour like using the stairs instead of the lift or walking/cycling to the supermarket (if not to far away) instead of always using the car etc. or gardening or go for a walk with a dog ☺ can enhance the physical fitness a lot. I say that because i read some studies with seniors and the researches measured the total physical activity (not only explicit sport activities).

    Nina K.

  2. JP Says:

    Good day, Nina!

    I agree with you 100%. Increasing the level of physical activity is what’s important. That can include more vigorous housework (laundry, sweeping, washing dishes instead of using the dishwasher), biking or walking instead of driving or taking an escalator, etc. The key is to do it often. Any practical way to accomplish that is highly recommended! 🙂

    Be well!


  3. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    I frequently try to park far away from a store. This makes it easier to find the car and less likely for the car to be damaged from runaway carts. It also allows easier egress without the necessity of backing the vehicle (a major cause of parking lot accidents).

  4. JP Says:

    A fine strategy on multiple fronts, Iggy! 🙂

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Update: Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation …


    J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Feb 19;12:10.

    The effects PCSO-524®, a patented marine oil lipid and omega-3 PUFA blend derived from the New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), on indirect markers of muscle damage and inflammation after muscle damaging exercise in untrained men: a randomized, placebo controlled trial.

    BACKGROUND: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of PCSO-524®, a marine oil lipid and n-3 LC PUFA blend, derived from New Zealand green- lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), on markers of muscle damage and inflammation following muscle damaging exercise in untrained men.

    METHODS: Thirty two untrained male subjects were randomly assigned to consume 1200 mg/d of PCSO- 524® (a green-lipped mussel oil blend) or placebo for 26 d prior to muscle damaging exercise (downhill running), and continued for 96 h following the muscle damaging exercise bout. Blood markers of muscle damage (skeletal muscle slow troponin I, sTnI; myoglobin, Mb; creatine kinase, CK), and inflammation (tumor necrosis factor, TNF-α), and functional measures of muscle damage (delayed onset muscle soreness, DOMS; pressure pain threshold, PPT; knee extensor joint range of motion, ROM; isometric torque, MVC) were assessed pre- supplementation (baseline), and multiple time points post-supplementation (before and after muscle damaging exercise). At baseline and 24 h following muscle damaging exercise peripheral fatigue was assessed via changes in potentiated quadriceps twitch force (∆Qtw,pot) from pre- to post-exhaustive cycling ergometer test in response to supra-maximal femoral nerve stimulation.

    RESULTS: Compared to placebo, supplementation with the green-lipped mussel oil blend significantly attenuated (p < 0.05) sTnI and TNF-α at 2, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h., Mb at 24, 48, 72, 96 h., and CK-MM at all-time points following muscle damaging exercise, significantly reduced (p < 0.05) DOMS at 72 and 96 h post-muscle damaging exercise, and resulted in significantly less strength loss (MVC) and provided a protective effect against joint ROM loss at 96 h post- muscle damaging exercise. At 24 h after muscle damaging exercise perceived pain was significantly greater (p < 0.05) compared to baseline in the placebo group only. Following muscle damaging exercise ∆Qtw,pot was significantly less (p < 0.05) on the green-lipped mussel oil blend compared to placebo. CONCLUSION: Supplementation with a marine oil lipid and n-3 LC PUFA blend (PCSO-524®), derived from the New Zealand green lipped mussel, may represent a useful therapeutic agent for attenuating muscle damage and inflammation following muscle damaging exercise. Be well! JP

  6. JP Says:

    Update 05/13/15:


    Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2015 May-Jun; 19(3): 347–350.

    Turmeric use is associated with reduced goitrogenesis: Thyroid disorder prevalence in Pakistan (THYPAK) study

    Introduction: South Asian population has a particularly high prevalence of thyroid disorders mainly due to iodine deficiency and goitrogen use. There is no data available for prevalence of thyroid disorders in the general population living in nonmountainous regions of Pakistan.

    Materials and Methods: A total of 2335 residents of Pak Pattan, Punjab, Pakistan were interviewed about demographic, dietary, medical and environmental history as well as screened for goiter. Individuals of all ages and either gender were included.

    Results: Median age was 34 (10–88) years and 1164 (49.9%) were males. Median monthly income was 49 (3.9–137) USD. Six hundred and sixty-nine (28.7%) subjects had palpable goiter. 77.5% (n = 462) and 22.5% (n = 133) had World Health Organization Grade I and Grade II goiters respectively, further screened by measuring thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). In subjects with TSH <0.4 mg/dL, free T3 and free T4 levels were measured. In 185 goiter subjects when TSH was measured, 50% (n = 93) were euthyroid, 48% (n = 89) were hyperthyroid, and one subject each was hypothyroid and subclinically hyperthyroid. 29/89 hyperthyroid subjects underwent radionuclide scanning. Twelve subjects had heterogeneous uptake consistent with multinodular goiter, 12 subjects had diffuse uptake, two had cold nodules and two had hyperfunctioning single nodules. Goiter was significantly more common among females, unmarried individuals and individuals drinking tube well (subterranean) water. Goiter was less common among those who consumed daily milk, daily ghee (hydrogenated oil), spices, chilies, and turmeric.

    Discussion: In our study population, goiter was endemic with very high prevalence of hyperthyroidism. Turmeric use was association with reduced goitrogenesis. Further studies to assess iodine sufficiency, thiocyanate exposure and autoimmunity need to be conducted. Masses consuming high goitrogen diets should be educated to incorporate turmeric, spices and green chilies in their cooking recipes, to reduce the risk of goiter development. In addition, use of iodized salt in their daily diet cannot be overemphasized.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Update 05/18/15:


    Influence of a montmorency cherry juice blend on indices of exercise-induced stress and upper respiratory tract symptoms following marathon running—a pilot investigation

    Background: Prolonged exercise, such as marathon running, has been associated with an increase in respiratory mucosal inflammation. The aim of this pilot study was to examine the effects of Montmorency cherry juice on markers of stress, immunity and inflammation following a Marathon.

    Methods: Twenty recreational Marathon runners consumed either cherry juice (CJ) or placebo (PL) before and after a Marathon race. Markers of mucosal immunity secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), immunoglobulin G (IgG), salivary cortisol, inflammation (CRP) and self-reported incidence and severity of upper respiratory tract symptoms (URTS) were measured before and following the race.

    Results: All variables except secretory IgA and IgG concentrations in saliva showed a significant time effect (P <0.01). Serum CRP showed a significant interaction and treatment effect (P < 0.01). The CRP increase at 24 and 48 h post-Marathon was lower (P < 0.01) in the CJ group compared to PL group. Mucosal immunity and salivary cortisol showed no interaction effect or treatment effect. The incidence and severity of URTS was significantly greater than baseline at 24 h and 48 h following the race in the PL group and was also greater than the CJ group (P < 0.05). No URTS were reported in the CJ group whereas 50 % of runners in the PL group reported URTS at 24 h and 48 h post-Marathon. Conclusions: This is the first study that provides encouraging evidence of the potential role of Montmorency cherries in reducing the development of URTS post-Marathon possibly caused by exercise-induced hyperventilation trauma, and/or other infectious and non-infectious factors. Be well! JP

  8. JP Says:

    Updated 12/02/15:


    West Indian Med J. 2015 Jun 30;64(4).

    The Impact of Turmeric Cream on Healing of Caesarean Scar.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to survey the impact of turmeric cream on the healing of Caesarean wound.

    METHODS: This study was done as a randomized double blind trial in three groups on women who had a Caesarean operation. The REEDA scale was used to evaluate the wound healing process. The χ², ANOVA and Tukey tests were used for statistical analysis.

    RESULTS: Seven days after the surgery, the averages of REEDA score in the intervention, placebo and control groups were respectively, 0.46, 0.88, and 1.17 (p < 0.001), while in the day of 14, it was 0.03, 0.22, and 0.36 (p < 0.001), showing a significant statistical difference. Similarly, there was a difference between the intervention and placebo groups in the amount of oedema on the 7th and 14th days after the surgery (respectively, p = 0.066 and p < 0.001). However, the observed difference between the intervention and control group in the amount of oedema was statistically significant on the 7th and 14th days after the surgery (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Turmeric was effective in faster healing of wounds of Caesarean operation. The use of turmeric is suggested to reduce the complications of the wounds from Caesarean section. Be well! JP

  9. JP Says:

    Updated 1/27/18:


    Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2018 Jan 25.

    Yoga versus physical exercise for cardio-respiratory fitness in adolescent school children: a randomized controlled trial.

    Background: Yoga is very effective in improving health especially cardio-respiratory fitness and also overall performance in adolescents. There are no large numbers of randomized controlled studies conducted on comparing yoga with physical activity for cardio-respiratory fitness in adolescent school children with large sample size.

    Objective: Aerobic training is known to improve physical and cardio-respiratory fitness in children. Cardio-respiratory fitness is an important indicator of health in children. In this study we evaluate the effects of yoga versus physical exercise training on cardio-respiratory fitness in adolescent school children. Subjects Eight hundred two school students from 10 schools across four districts were recruited for this study.

    Methods: In this prospective two arm RCT around 802 students were randomized to receive daily one hour yoga training (n = 411) or physical exercise (n = 391) over a period of two months. VO2 max was estimated using 20 m shuttle run test. However, yoga (n = 377) and physical exercise (n = 371) students contributed data to the analyses. Data was analysed using students t test.

    Results: There was a significant improvement in VO2 max using 20 m Shuttle run test in both yoga (p < 0.001) and exercise (p < 0.001) group following intervention. There was no significant change in VO2 max between yoga and physical exercise group following intervention. However, in the subgroup with an above median cut-off of VO2 max; there was a significant improvement in yoga group compared to control group following intervention (p = 0.03). Conclusion: The results suggest yoga can improve cardio-respiratory fitness and aerobic capacity as physical exercise intervention in adolescent school children. Be well! JP

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