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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Sep 8;58(17):9498-504. doi: 10.1021/jf101873f.

Protection of trabecular bone in ovariectomized rats by turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) is dependent on extract composition.

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Department of Medicine, The University of Arizona, P.O. Box 245218, Tucson, Arizona 85724, USA.


Extracts prepared from turmeric (Curcuma longa L., [Zingiberaceae]) containing bioactive phenolic curcuminoids were evaluated for bone-protective effects in a hypogonadal rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Three-month female Sprague-Dawley rats were ovariectomized (OVX) and treated with a chemically complex turmeric fraction (41% curcuminoids by weight) or a curcuminoid-enriched turmeric fraction (94% curcuminoids by weight), both dosed at 60 mg/kg 3x per week, or vehicle alone. Effects of two months of treatment on OVX-induced bone loss were followed prospectively by serial assessment of bone mineral density (BMD) of the distal femur using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), while treatment effects on trabecular bone microarchitecture were assessed at two months by microcomputerized tomography (microCT). Chemically complex turmeric did not prevent bone loss, however, the curcuminoid-enriched turmeric prevented up to 50% of OVX-induced loss of trabecular bone and also preserved the number and connectedness of the strut-like trabeculae. These results suggest that turmeric may have bone-protective effects but that extract composition is a critical factor.

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