Curcumin Boosts Front-line Immune Response

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Researchers at Oregon State University have shown for the first time that curcumin can triple the output of ammunition used by your front-line immune troops (innate immunity) to combat bacterial, viral, and fungal infection.

One way your body defends you from invaders is by your front-line immune cells, and even non immune epithelial cells that line your digestive tract and sinuses, shooting a protein-peptide bullet called cathelicidin (cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide - CAMP).  CAMP is a potent germ killer, a vital part of your defense against bacterial, viral, and fungal infection.  It can kill invaders your body has no experience dealing with in the past and is therefore a vital part of your innate immune system.

In the past it has been recognized that vitamin D is needed for the normal production of CAMP, which is one reason low vitamin D status impairs efficient immune function.  In the new study researchers discovered that curcumin could also stimulate CAMP production by a different mechanism than vitamin D. 

Many people struggle with imbalanced digestive tracts and sinuses, wherein germ gangs achieve a toe hold and wreak havoc with health – often for many years.  In these situations people’s immune systems are not effective and front-line immune troops have “gone to sleep.”  Add to that the obvious issues of getting sick too often and catching everything that happens to be going around. 

While curcumin is best known for its anti-inflammatory and cancer prevention properties, the fact that it is also a natural immune booster extends the reasons people may want to include it in their supplemental program as well as using it as a spice (turmeric) in food preparation.

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