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FEBS J. 2006 Oct;273(19):4528-37. Epub 2006 Sep 5.

Protective effect of dietary curcumin and capsaicin on induced oxidation of low-density lipoprotein, iron-induced hepatotoxicity and carrageenan-induced inflammation in experimental rats.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, India.


The beneficial influence of dietary curcumin, capsaicin and their combination on the susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to oxidation was examined in an animal study. Individually, both dietary curcumin and capsaicin significantly inhibited the in vivo iron-induced LDL oxidation, as well as copper-induced oxidation of LDL in vitro. The protective effect of the combination of curcumin and capsaicin on LDL oxidation was greater than that of individual compounds. This protective influence of spice principles was also indicated by the relative anodic electrophoretic mobility of oxidized LDL on agarose gel. In another study, rats injected with iron showed hepatic toxicity as measured by an increase in lipid peroxides and elevated serum enzymes, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase. Dietary curcumin, capsaicin and their combination reduced the activities of these enzymes, and lowered the liver lipid peroxide level, indicating amelioration of the severity of iron-induced hepatotoxicity. In yet another study, a comparison of the extent of carrageenan-induced paw inflammation showed that both dietary curcumin and capsaicin moderately lowered inflammation, while the spice principles in combination were more effective. Dietary curcumin and capsaicin significantly decreased the activity of 5'-lipoxygenase activity in the polymorphonuclear lymphocytes in carrageenan-injected rats, the decrease being even higher in the case of combination of these two spice principles. Results suggest that dietary curcumin and capsaicin individually are protective to LDL oxidation both in vivo and in vitro, to iron-induced hepatotoxicity and to carrageenan-induced inflammation. This beneficial effect was higher when the two compounds were fed in combination.

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