'Holy Powder' Makes Your Cell Membranes Behave for Better Health
March 24, 2009
The marigold-colored spice known as turmeric, which is revered in India as "holy powder," has been used for centuries to treat wounds, infections and other health problems. In recent years, there has been increasing research into turmeric's main ingredient, curcumin, and its astonishing array of antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibiotic, antiviral and other properties.
Now, researchers have discovered that curcumin acts by inserting itself into cell membranes and making them more orderly, a move that improves cells' resistance to infection and malignancy.
Scientists had previously speculated that curcumin does its health-promoting work by interacting directly with membrane proteins, but the new findings challenge that notion. Instead, curcumin appears to regulate the action of membrane proteins indirectly, by changing the physical properties of the membrane.