Did you know that the human body is designed to self-clean and self-regenerate?
That’s right, it’s got a mechanism called autophagy, which is basically a mechanism that removes dysfunctional and unnecessary components from your cells, freeing them up to regenerate healthier new cells.
Autophagy is a very important process for healthy cells and tissues. It’s our body’s way of making sure all the unwanted, potentially harmful components are eliminated so it can be rejuvenated.
And, according to two studies, there’s a very simple spice that can trigger this very important cellular process…
The first study , conducted back in 2016, looked at the benefits of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric. Specifically, it examined the effects curcumin had on autophagy and cellular health.
The study found that turmeric was able to “enhance autophagic flux” in both animal cancer cells and human color cancer cells. This led to higher function of healthy cells, including lysosomes, membrane-bound cells that contain special digestive enzymes that are utilized to break down worn-out or excess (unnecessary) cell parts. Lysosomes can not only destroy invading pathogens (like bacteria and viruses), but they can also trigger cellular breakdown after they die, helping to clear out unnecessary cellular components.
But the really interesting effect of turmeric was its effect on the mTOR pathway. Mechanistic target of rapamycin, or mTOR , is a critical growth regulator found in both humans and animals. It is necessary for physiology, aging, diseases, and our metabolism. This intracellular signaling pathway is vital for regulating your cells’ cycles, encouraging both the proliferation and quiescence of cells.
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mTOR activity is vital for your body’s overall function. If your mTOR activity is too low, your natural healing rate is disrupted, and there is an increase in insulin sensitivity that can lead to health problems. However, very high mTOR activity has been linked to diabetes, aging, as well as increased cancer risk. Regulating and inhibiting mTOR activity has been proven to be an effective way to encourage a longer lifespan and healthier cellular function.
According to the study, it was discovered that curcumin helps to suppress the mTOR pathway, and also activates lysosomal function. This combination helps to induce autophagy, leading to better cellular turnover and elimination of unnecessary cellular components.
Curcumin was also found to activate something called transcription factor EB (TFEB), a nuclear transcription factor that is directly in control of both lysosome biogenesis and autophagy. Curcumin binds to the TFEB, triggers nuclear translocation, and increases the TFEB activity. The result is higher autophagy and better cellular function.
In a second study , the relationship between reduced autophagy and higher cellular death was examined, specifically the link between the death of chondrocytes and osteoarthritis. The study looked at how curcumin could affect the cells that had previously been dying in order to reduce OA risk.
Mice were surgically given osteoarthritis, then treated using curcumin. The researchers analyzed cartilage destruction, proteoglycan loss, and cellular death to determine whether the curcumin had any effect on the cartilage cells.
In both the in vivo and in vitro tests, it was discovered that curcumin helped to increase both cellular death (apoptosis) and autophagy, leading to a healthier cellular turnover rate and better elimination of cellular “waste”. As the study proved, the autophagy induced by curcumin and the decrease in mTOR pathway activity improved the condition of the mice with osteoarthritis. More importantly, it was able to work against the osteoarthritis to increase joint health.
The takeaway from these studies is pretty clear: curcumin is amazing for your health, thanks to its ability to induce autophagy!
Your body is made up of trillions of cells, each of which live and die on a specific cycle controlled by your internal functions. When these cells stop functioning, your body needs to eliminate them and produce new cells to replace them. A healthy internal function—proper autophagy—will keep you healthy, but when your cellular turnover rate is affected by external and/or internal factors, the imbalance can lead to health problems.
That’s why it’s so important that you find foods that induce healthy cellular function. Turmeric and curcumin extract have been proven effective, as these studies show. If you’re looking for a way to protect your body and maintain good cellular health, this marvelous spice is definitely your top pick!
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