COVID-19 Herbs: Randomized Controlled Trial Shows That Curcumin Offers Anti-Inflammatory Benefits for Adults Recovering from COVID-19 And Are Vaccinated
: A randomized controlled clinical trial conducted by researchers from Arizona State University has demonstrated that the herbal phytochemical curcumin offers anti-inflammatory benefits for adults recovering from COVID-19 and were vaccinated.
The protection provided by COVID-19 infection and vaccination varies against reinfection and breakthrough infection. The study team aimed to investigate the impact of curcumin supplementation (CURC) compared to a placebo (CON) on inflammatory biomarkers in adults who had previously contracted COVID-19 and later received a monovalent vaccine series.
The study took place from June 2021 to May 2022. Participants were randomly assigned to take either CURC (500 mg) or CON capsules twice daily for four weeks. Blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of the study and analyzed for biomarkers. Linear regression was employed to evaluate differences in post-trial inflammatory biomarker levels between groups, adjusting for baseline and factors such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, and time between COVID-19 diagnosis and trial enrollment. The sample (n = 31) was 71% female (Age 27.6 ± 10.4 y).
The study findings showed that the CURC group displayed significantly reduced post-trial concentrations of proinflammatory IL-6 (β = −0.52, 95%CI: −1.03, −0.014, p = 0.046) and MCP-1 (β = −0.12, 95%CI: −0.23, −0.015, p = 0.027) compared to CON after adjusting for baseline and covariates.
The study findings showed that curcumin supplementation exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and may be a promising preventive nutraceutical approach for COVID-19.
The study findings suggest that a four-week curcumin supplementation course led to significantly lower proinflammatory cytokine concentrations in adults who had recovered from COVID-19 infection and were later vaccinated.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Nutrients
Elevated inflammation has been shown to influence COVID-19 outcomes, and prolonged inflammation and viral persistence have been observed in recovering patients.
Aging and conditions characterized by chronic inflammation and immune dysregulation, such as obesity, have been linked to more severe disease progression and post-acute COVID-19 sequelae.
Curcumin ((1E,6E)-1,7-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione), an incredibly potent bioactive polyphenolic compound, is predominantly derived from the vibrant yellow turmeric root. This extraordinary compound has been extensively utilized in the realm of traditional Asian medicine for its remarkable anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-oxidative properties.
Consequently, researchers from various fields have been increasingly investigating the potential therapeutic applications of curcumin for a plethora of diseases.
Recent mechanistic studies have unveiled the ability of curcumin to mitigate the binding and entry of viruses into host cells, thereby reducing the infectivity of enveloped viruses.
A past COVID-19 Herbs
news coverage showed that curcumin was able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in vitro.
Additionally, cutting-edge in silico studies have proposed that curcumin possesses a high affinity for the SARS-CoV-2 viral S-protein and human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), potentially interfering with the viral entry of SARS-CoV-2.
Moreover, a wealth of evidence suggests that curcumin possesses potent inflammation-attenuating properties, which are crucial in combating the severe COVID-19 symptoms exhibited by individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions.
Recent studies also reveal that dysregulated inflammatory responses might persist even after acute COVID-19 has been resolved, highlighting the potential benefits of inflammation-reducing strategies beyond the acute infection stage.
In this groundbreaking study, the study team meticulously scrutinized the key indicators of inflammation (IL-6 and MCP-1) over an intense four-week period.
Remarkably, they observed a significant rise in these indicators within the control group compared to the curcumin-supplemented group, suggesting that curcumin supplementation may play a vital role in managing inflammation and promoting resilience. MCP-1, a chemokine produced in response to inflammatory stimuli, is responsible for promoting monocyte chemotaxis and modulating leukocyte trafficking, which further propagates the inflammatory response.
Intriguingly, the production of MCP-1 in various cell types is upregulated by signaling pathways, such as NF-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK).
IL-6, a proinflammatory cytokine, plays an essential role in chronic inflammation and the cytokine storm characteristic of severe COVID-19.
By activating the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), IL-6 exerts its inflammatory effects, which in turn amplify NF-κB activity and propagate the production of proinflammatory cytokines, including IL-6 itself.
This positive feedback loop of IL-6 activity can be initiated by various stimuli, such as infection, obesity, and stressors, further promoting inflammation.
Additionally, IL-6 has been shown to exhibit prothrombotic effects.
Importantly, IL-6 and MCP-1 are upregulated in inflammatory diseases and have been associated with disease progression and the severity of COVID-19 infections.
Therefore, aberrant and persistent elevations in IL-6 and MCP-1 may be associated with the risk for both acute and chronic inflammatory conditions.
The powerful curcumin compound has been demonstrated to suppress the expression of inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6 and MCP-1, in lung tissue within a murine model of virus-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), potentially through a reduction in NF-κB activation .
Furthermore, a recent study exhibited that the pulmonary administration of water-soluble curcumin reduced the production of proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, in the serum of mice with Klebsiella-induced pneumonia.
There is also compelling evidence suggesting that curcumin reduces oxidized-LDL induced MCP-1 production in rat vascular smooth muscle cells via suppression of the p38 MAPK and NF-κB pathways.
Moreover, curcumin has been shown to inhibit the activation of pattern recognition receptors, such as Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), which play crucial roles in regulating the inflammatory response during infection through the activation of cellular signaling pathways like NF-κB.
Researchers have discovered that curcumin modulates NF-κB activity in various cell types and animal models.
Additionally, curcumin treatment has been shown to mitigate inflammation through the inhibition of the NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome in murine bone-marrow-derived macrophages and the activation of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) production in murine models of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an enzyme associated with the biosynthesis of proinflammatory eicosanoid synthesis.
Clinical trials also provide promising evidence supporting the anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in adults with varying health levels. A recent meta-analysis examining the effects of curcumin on circulating IL-6 in various adult populations from nine clinical trials found that supplementation significantly reduced IL-6 concentrations.
Another recent systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin from sixty-six randomized controlled trials found that curcumin significantly lowered the levels of CRP, TNF-α, and IL-6.
The results of this current clinical trial are promising as a novel curcumin formulation, HydroCurc, which has demonstrated increased bioavailability compared to standard curcumin in healthy adults, was utilized.
HydroCurc is complexed with Lipisperse technology and is suggested to enhance bioavailability by reducing curcumin agglomeration and increasing curcumin absorption.
In conclusion, this study investigated the anti-inflammatory and prophylactic effects of curcumin in individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 infection and were subsequently vaccinated. The study findings demonstrated that curcumin supplementation was associated with significantly lower levels of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and MCP-1, which increased in the control group during the four-week trial period. These findings indicate that curcumin supplementation may help to control inflammation and support resilience.
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