A compound found in the common curry spice turmeric appears to delay the liver damage that eventually causes cirrhosis, scientists said on Wednesday.
In a study published in Gut, a British Medical Journal title, Austrian scientists found that feeding the compound curcumin to mice reduced the types of inflammation that can cause liver cell damage, blockage and scarring.
Previous research has suggested that curcumin, which gives turmeric its bright yellow color, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which may be helpful in fighting disease.
Some studies have indicated it can suppress cancer tumors and that people who eat lots of curry may be less prone to the disease, although curcumin loses its anti-cancer attributes quickly when it is ingested.
The Austrian research team wanted to find out if curcumin could delay the damage caused by progressive inflammatory liver disease, including two conditions called primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis.
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