Could Curcumin Benefit Gut Diversity and Prevent Post-Menopausal Weight Gain?

Curcumin and Weight GainAccording to a new study on rats, Curcumin may aid in reversing decreases in the diversity of gut bacteria after an ovariectomy (OVX) which may prevent weight gain often seen in post-menopausal women.

The study lasted 12 weeks.  Rats were split into three groups: rats having undergone an ovariectomy and fed distilled water (OVX); a control group of rats who underwent a sham operation (SHAM); rats having undergone an ovariectomy and given Curcumin (CUR).  The OVX group showed reduced gut bacterial diversity when compared with the SHAM group.  The CUR group however, displayed significantly different amounts of seven bacterial strains when compared with the OVX group.  Rats in the OVX group also showed a significant weight gain when compared to the control group (SHAM).  The CUR Group however, did not experience this weight gain.  No estrogenic effects were seen in the group supplementing with the Curcumin (CUR) since it did not prevent reductions in serum estradiol levels or uterine weight loss.

OVX rats showed a higher ratio of phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the gut when compared with the control group.  These specific bacterial strains have been observed to lead to overweight rats and have also been associated with obesity in humans.  An additional benefit of Curcumin supplementation was a reduction in the bacteria Anaerotruncus, which has been associated with age-related macular degeneration and pre-natal stress.  Researchers also found Curcumin reduced the amount of Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for certain stomach ulcers.

Curcumin is the phyto nutrient found in turmeric.  It is a powerful antioxidant and has been show to support cardiovascular health as well as joint health in addition to a host of other promising impactful health promoting mechanisms.

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Vitamin D and Calcium May Reduce Onset of Early Menopause

Calcium Vitamin D Early MenopauseA new study shows a reduction in the risk of early menopause when high doses of dietary Vitamin D and Calcium are taken.  Early menopause is associated with higher risks for Osteoporosis, Early Cognitive Decline, Cardiovascular Disease and other health issues.

Over 116,000 female US registered nurses participated in this study.  Individuals between the ages of 25 and 42 in 1989 participated in this study and responded to a questionnaire.  Intakes of Vitamin D and Calcium from both supplements and food were measured every four years and medical conditions and behaviors were measured every two years. Over 2000 women reported having natural menopause before 45 years of age.  Incidents of possible confounding factors were accounted for when evaluating the relationship between the intake of Calcium and Vitamin D and incidents of early menopause.

A 17% lower risk of early menopause was seen in the women who had the highest intake of Vitamin D when compared with the women who had the lowest intake of Vitamin D.  A “borderline significantly lower risk” of early menopause was seen in the women with the highest intake of Calcium when compared to the women with the lowest intake of Calcium.

Further studies are now being undertaken.

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Study Supports Fenugreek Extract’s Menopausal Benefits

menopauseA new study supports the ability of a standardized fenugreek extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum) to reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women and aid in improving their quality of life.

88 women participated in this randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled study.  Participants randomly were assigned to receive either a 1,000 mg dose of a fenugreek extract or a placebo daily.  The study lasted 90 days.  When compared to the placebo participants who received the fenugreek extract experienced a 57% reduction in night sweats, a 68% reduction in mood swings and 54% reduction in headaches.  Hot flashes were reduced from an average of 5 -7 times per day at baseline to 1 – 2 times daily at the end of the study period.  Additionally 32% of women in the fenugreek group reported no hot flashes at the end of the trial.

Researchers believe that the fenugreek extract increased estradiol levels in the group supplementing with this herb by 120%.  Estradiol is an estrogen that has been shown to play a key role in menopausal discomforts such as vaginal dryness, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, night sweats, insomnia and headaches.

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