ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Coffee or Tea Consumption May Lower Stroke Risk
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Laugh and the World Understands
Kids More Apt to Smoke If Mom Did While Pregnant
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Help Your Kids Stay Active
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Add your Article

Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants

Using the latest genetic technology, researchers have begun to discover the exact molecular reasons why foods such as turmeric -- a popular curry spice -- and ordinary orange juice are good for the health of hearts and arteries.

Two French research teams are reporting studies describing the range of genes that are affected by curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, and hesperidin, an antioxidant that is a prominent component of orange juice. Their reports were delivered at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Conference 2009, held in Lake Las Vegas.

"We used a microarray approach," said Dragan Milenkovic, a research scientist at the Centre de Clermont-Ferrand/Thiex in Saint Genes Champanelle, who described the turmeric study. "We have slides with samples of all the genes and we compared the expression of each gene to see which of them had their activity modified by exposure to curcumin."

The molecular study was done with mouse genes, and was preceded by a trial in living mice. The researchers used curcumin, which is a polyphenol, a form of antioxidant. Like other antioxidants, curcumin is known to help prevent against arterial buildup of plaque, the fatty deposits that eventually can block blood vessels.

The molecular study was preceded by a trial in which mice given a daily curcumin supplement for 16 weeks were found to have a 26 percent lower level of fat deposits in the aorta, the main artery of the heart.

The researchers then isolated genetic material from the mice and exposed it to curcumin. They found altered expression of 2,252 genes, whose activity included cellular signaling and adhesion, inflammation and fat metabolism.

The orange juice study was done by a different team of researchers at the same institute, in human volunteers. Twenty-four men who were healthy overall but who had cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity took part. In three one-month periods, the men drank one of three drinks a day: 500 milliliters of orange juice (containing 292 milligrams of hesperidin), 500 milliliters of an energy drink, or 500 milliliters of the same drink enriched with 292 milligrams of hesperidin.

The study found a trend toward improved blood pressure and better function of the endothelium, the delicate inner lining of blood vessels, in the men who consumed hesperidin, either in orange juice or as a supplement. Genetic studies found that hesperidin affected activity of 1,820 genes from white blood cells.

Neither experiment is a reason to take a supplement of either curcumin or hesperidin, Milenkovic said. "Some of these at high doses can be bad," he said of supplements in general. "They can be beneficial for the health if used in nutritional doses."

Nutritional supplements are always attractive to a lot of people, said Dr. Thomas L. Force, professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.

"They are of significant interest to the lay public, given the fascination with this approach to the prevention of disease," said Force, who is also clinical director of the university's Center for Translational Medicine. "People have an aversion to taking medicines."

But neither of the two studies adds definitive information about the preventive value of the nutrients, Force said. "They are add-ons to studies that have shown the possible value of antioxidants," he said. "Most of the literature is not at a very mechanistic level or picks out one specific protein that is regulated. These studies do provide a more global approach to how these compounds may function to do what they are purported to do."

And the studies are too preliminary to form the basis of dietary recommendations, Force said. "We can't make dietary recommendations until more studies are done," he said. "These may open the way to doing more studies."