Latest News » Curcumin supplements may undo damage of salt preservatives

This preservative is found in many canned goods. But curcumin supplements may help counter its effects.

Consuming excess amounts of salt is a widespread habit around the world, exposing many to serious health risks that may have been preventable. However, despite the fact that sodium-rich diets have been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke – among other medical problems – most food manufacturers still rely heavily on this mineral to preserve their products and entice their consumers.

Sodium metabisulfite is a variant of salt that is widely used as a preservative by these corporations, and is often employed in the winemaking process as well. However, this compound – which is a combination of sodium and sulfur dioxide – has been linked to complications ranging from indigestion to circulatory disturbances, and can also impact brain health and learning ability.

Recently, though, scientists from the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Iran discovered that curcumin – the antioxidant agent in Turmeric – may be able to counter some of this preservative's most damaging effects. According to a study abstract on PubMed, the researchers were particularly interested in how curcumin could preserve learning ability and provide memory support in animals exposed to sulfite. To determine this, they monitored the behavior of rats that were given sodium metabisulfite and curcumin – either separately or congruently. They found that animals that received curcumin as well as the sulfite mixture were better able to navigate mazes and perform other tasks than the animals that just consumed the preservative agent.

"The study results demonstrated that sulfite-exposure was associated with impaired learning and memory in rats. Adding curcumin to the rat nutrition plays a protective role in learning and memory after exposure to sulfite," the abstract states.

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