Scientists are one step closer to identifying how antioxidants keep arteries clear. Using microarray technology, French scientists were able to see how the heart and arteries are affected by the antioxidants curcumin in turmeric and hesperidin in orange juice. The reports were presented at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Conference 2009, held in Lake Las Vegas this week.
The two phase study on mouse genes and live mice, showed that a daily curcumin supplement for 16 weeks resulted in 26 percent less 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 also discovered altered gene expression in 2,252 genes, including cellular signaling and adhesion, inflammation and fat metabolism.
A human study of orange juice, at same institute, but from different researchers, showed that men who consumed hespiridin in orange juice or a supplement showed improved blood pressure and a trend toward healthier blood vessel linings. Genetic examination found that hesperidin affected activity of 1,820 genes from white blood cells.
The twenty four men were generally healthy, but were at risk for cardiovascular disease. During three one-month periods, the men drank either 500 ml of orange juice (containing 292 mg of hesperidin), 500 ml of an energy drink, or 500 ml of the same drink enriched with 292 mg of hesperidin.
Dragan Milenkovic, from the Centre de Clermont-Ferrand/Thiex in Saint Genes Champanelle told a Health Day Reporter, "Neither experiment is a reason to take a supplement of either curcumin or hesperidin." He further warned that high doses can be harmful but can be beneficial if used in appropriate doses.
A spokesperson from the American Heart Association said that although these studies are promising, they are preliminary and need further work before any dietary recommendations can be made.
Source: Health Day.