(NaturalNews) A powerful compound in curry known as curcumin may play an important role in liver health, according to a new study out of Saint Louis University (SLU). Researchers observed that curcumin seems to help fight and prevent damage caused by liver fibrosis, a chronic liver disease that typically leads to cirrhosis, liver failure, and portal hypertension, as well as the eventual need for a liver transplant.
"My laboratory studies the molecular mechanism of liver fibrosis and is searching for natural ways to prevent and treat this liver damage," explained Anping Chen, Ph.D., author of the study and director of research in the pathology department of SLU. "[O]ur study suggests that curcumin may be an effective therapy to treat and prevent liver fibrosis, which is associated with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)."
High levels of leptin, a key protein hormone that helps regulate energy intake and use, is linked to causing liver fibrosis. Leptin activates hepatic stellate cells which can cause the overproduction of collagen protein responsible for liver damage. But Chen and his team learned that curcumin helps to stop leptin from activating these cells, effectively halting the liver damage process.
Other key factors associated with liver disease include high glucose and insulin levels, both of which are common among obese and type-2 diabetic individuals. These conditions make people more prone to developing liver disease, but in the presence of curcumin, the likelihood of their onset is significantly reduced.