Best known as the substance in turmeric lending the yellow color to curry spice, curcumin has previously been shown to produce antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and lipid-lowering effects. One study used a lab animal model of high cholesterol in order to find out how curcumin impacts heart health. Rabbits that were fed a high-cholesterol diet with curcumin supplements for 8 weeks experienced smaller arterial plaques and less buildup in the aorta, compared to those animals fed the high-cholesterol diet without curcumin supplements. Authors of the study say their results showed that curcumin promotes less arterial clogging by lowering serum lipids and cholesterol-causing low-density lipoproteins.
Cocoa compounds enhance a region of the brain that is used for memory. The dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus whose function declines in correlation to aging is therefore considered to be a possible source of age-related memory decline. A number of healthy men and women ages 50-69, were randomly assigned to receive either a high-flavanol diet or a low-flavanol diet for three months and underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the study. Researchers observed significant improvements in the function of the dentate gyrus in those who consumed the high-cocoa-flavanol drink as compared to the low-flavanol diet. It was found that a high-flavanol supplementation enhanced function, establishing that dysfunction is a major factor in age-related cognitive decline.
Those with neuromuscular disease have often been found to also have a vitamin D deficiency. In previous years, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and Parkinson’s disease. A more recent study suggests that this may be prevalent in other neuromuscular conditions as well. Research shows that vitamin D supplementation may help improve functioning in elderly patients as well as individuals with myasthenia gravis and Parkinson’s. These findings may push physicians to consider monitoring vitamin D levels in their patients and supplementing in cases of neurologic conditions.