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Warning! Product Recall Issued for Turmeric Contamination

turmeric, curcumin, supplement, curry, nimesulideThe UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a product recall for two brands of anti-inflammatory turmeric food supplements. The supplements were found to be contaminated with a prohibited drug, nimesulide.

The product in question, branded as Fortodol or Leppin Miradin, have been linked to numerous liver damage-related adverse events in Scandinavia , including two deaths from liver failure. No adverse events had been recorded in the UK, but a recall was initiated as a precautionary measure.

The products in question are made by a Californian company called Donsbach, which exports the products to Sweden before they are shipped throughout Europe.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Turmeric is a yellow spice most often associated with Indian food, curry and yellow mustard, but as research into this powerful spice increases, it’s becoming clear that it may be one of nature’s most powerful potential healing agents.


India has long revered it as “holy powder,” and has used it for centuries to treat wounds, infections, and other health problems. Modern research is now confirming many of its folklore claims, finding an astonishing array of antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibiotic, antiviral and other properties.

Because of this, turmeric has become an increasingly popular nutritional supplement. Unfortunately, an unscrupulous Mexican supplier may have contaminated the raw material used for the particular brands mentioned above with an anti-inflammatory drug called nimesulide, according to one source.

The contamination has now been linked to several liver damage cases in Scandinavia, including two deaths due to liver failure.

Nimesulide is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug with fever reducing and analgesic properties. However, it’s a powerful drug that is known to cause liver problems. According to its drug information sheet, it should be used for the shortest time possible to treat acute symptoms of inflammation and pain. It clearly should not be taken daily as a food supplement.

In fact, the side effects of this drug are so potent and dangerous that it’s been banned in several countries, including Finland, Spain, and Turkey. The drug was never approved for use in the U.S., Canada, Britain, or Australia


The Natural Healing Power of Turmeric

Turmeric is well known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, which come from curcumin. This is the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow-orange color, and which is thought to be the active ingredient responsible for many of its other medicinal effects as well.

For example, curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 genes responsible for strengthening and improving your digestion; supporting healthy liver function; detoxification; and purifying your blood.

Recent research has discovered that curcumin acts by inserting itself into your cells’ membranes where it changes the physical properties of the membrane itself, making it more orderly. This improves your cells" resistance to both infection and malignancy, and may help prevent a number of debilitating diseases – even cancer. 

A Potent Cancer Fighter, Right in Your Kitchen?

Numerous studies have looked into turmeric’s potential as a natural cancer-fighter, with promising results. For instance, curcumin has been found to:

• Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
• Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
• Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
• Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
• Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth

However while it is useful to use turmeric as a spice in cooking, heating the herb tends to decrease many of its beneficial properties so if you really want to get all the benefits consider taking turmeric capsules.

Turmeric May Protect Against Alzheimer’s

Curcumin is also believed to be able to inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids--a component of the neurofibrillary tangles and plaques attributed to Alzheimer"s disease -- as well as break up existing plaques in your brain. One 2005 study determined that:

      • Curcumin is more effective in inhibiting the formation of the protein fragments than many other potential Alzheimer"s treatments
      • The low molecular weight and polar structure of curcumin allows it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier effectively and bind to beta amyloid
      • Alzheimer"s symptoms caused by inflammation and oxidation are eased by curcumin"s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties


Even More Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric is surely worthy of its nickname “holy powder,” as science has established curcumin’s beneficial role in numerous diseases, including:

Cystic fibrosis
Type 2 diabetes
• Crohn’s disease
• Psoriasis
Rheumatoid arthritis

• Cataracts
• Muscle regeneration
• Inflammatory bowel disease

To Supplement or Not to Supplement…

With all of its benefits, it’s no wonder people want to take advantage of turmeric’s power in supplement form. However, you can also reap its health benefits simply by using fresh turmeric powder in your cooking, rather than taking a concentrated formula.

Always remember that even though an active ingredient may have been identified as being largely responsible for many of its potent benefits, you can never underestimate the importance of the synergistic effect of the whole, raw herb or spice.

However, if you don’t enjoy the warm peppery flavor of curry and want to take it in supplement form, be careful and always look for a high-quality, organic supplement from a reputable company.

+ Sources and References