If you have heart failure, your doctor probably wants you to take a drug to treat it. Problem is you'll have to take that drug for the rest of your life. But there's hope. You might be able to avoid the drugs and help your heart with one of my favorite nutrients.

A new study shows that curcumin (aka turmeric) can protect your heart from further damage. This research was delightful in that it looked at both cultured heart cells, and living animals. So the researchers confirmed their own results.

They started by exposing rat heart cells to an adrenaline-like drug that promotes inflammation, fibrosis, and hypertrophy. Then they exposed the cells to curcumin. They found that it reduced the drug's ability to enlarge cells. It also reduced a lab marker of cardiac cellular stress (B natriuretic peptide).

Finding that it protects against cardiac damage in the lab dish, the researchers turned to living mice. The researchers pretreated the animals with curcumin (75 mg/kg daily) for one week prior to giving them the drug. They found that curcumin halted the dangerous increase in chamber dilation in both the relaxed and contracted phases. Curcumin also slowed the increase in heart mass that was otherwise caused by the drug in controls.

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But that's not all. The researchers also studied the ability of the curcumin to protect the animals' hearts from banding their aorta. This is a condition that greatly raises pressure within the heart. Curcumin significantly lessened cardiac hypertrophy (enlargement). Additionally, curcumin prevented adverse cardiac remodeling and ventricular dysfunction.

If you have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or any form of cardiac muscle disease, this is great news. A God-made nutrient can prevent damage and likely repair any damage already done.

Now compare that to what Pharma has to offer. And compare the expense. I don't think that I need to say more, except the amount. Pure turmeric powder is about 3% by weight. Knowing that the animals got the equivalent of about 5 grams of curcumin for a 70 kg adult human, the math is easy. You need about 30 teaspoons of turmeric to equal what the researchers gave to the mice.

However, their metabolism is faster than yours. For that reason, I don't recommend that much. I think that one teaspoon on your food three times a day would be a terrific complement to your diet.

Or you can get curcumin in supplement form at any health food store, often in 500 mg capsules. Ten a day would match what the animals got by weight. I don't think you need that much. But with no known or perceived risk, if I had heart failure, and lower doses didn't help, I sure would push the amount to this level. Start at two to four per day. Then work your way up if you need more.

Ref: "Curcumin prevents and reverses murine cardiac hypertrophy," Li HL, Liu C, et al, J Clin Invest, 2008; 118(3): 879-893.

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