Turmeric is known to have tremendous health benefits, most notably reducing inflammation. It is now also proven that it can also protect and heal the damaged and diseased liver. The clinical trials published recently is shedding new light on turmeric's remarkable liver protective and regenerative properties.
South Korean researchers at the National University Hospital, tested their hypothesis that turmeric may improve liver function by administering a fermented form to subjects, 20 years old and above, who were diagnosed mild to moderate elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, a marker for liver damage and/or dysfunction. Not only did Fermented Turmeric Powder (FTP) significantly reduce ALT levels in subjects but also reduced serum aspartate transaminase (AST) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), two additional enzymes which when elevated are commonly associated with liver damage. The effects were maintained as long as the subjects remained on the treatment. Also, FTP was well tolerated and without significant adverse effects.
This study adds additional weight to a rather vast body of preclinical research that has accumulated over the past two decades confirming turmeric and its primary polyphenol curcumin's liver protecting properties.
In fact researchers are now testing the possibility that Turmeric may kill even Liver Cancer. What may be even more remarkable is the accumulating research on the anti-liver cancer properties of turmeric (and curcumin). There have been numerous trials showing turmeric kills liver cancer cells and tumors, including one case study involving a 6-month old infant with a life-threatening liver vascular tumor (hemangioendothelioma) who was reported treated successfully with a dietary supplement of curcumin, with 6-year follow-up.
One of the most remarkable facts about turmeric as a potential drug and chemotherapy alternative is its exceptionally high margin of safety. A 2001 study in cancer patients reported that quantities of curcumin up to 8 g, administered per day for three months, were not toxic and resulted in significant anti-cancer properties in a number of those treated. Considering that turmeric is only 3-4% curcumin by weight, this implies that a larger quantity of turmeric can be consumed safely, as well.
Of course, while these results are promising there is still a long way to go. Also, the real solution to elevated liver enzymes is to identify the underlying causes, e.g. infection, NSAID use, chemical exposures, dietary intolerances, etc., and remove them. Other folks, simply looking for ways to improve their health and to prevent liver problems may wish to consume smaller doses through incorporating the spice (which must be organic to avoid the dangers of irradiation) into traditional recipes at culinary doses.