Turmeric May Protect Heart after CABG Surgery

April 16, 2012

Thai researchers assigned 121 patients undergoing heart bypass surgery to placebo or curcuminoids.

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory potential may offer heart protection following a surgery called coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), according to research published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

Previous research has found cardioprotective potential when humans or animals supplemented with curcuminoid, an active compound found in turmeric root and popularly marketed in dietary supplements.

CABG, also known as heart bypass surgery, is a method of treating coronary heart disease. The procedure is not without its own post-procedure risks, which include heart attack, stroke, and pain.

Thai researchers recruited 121 subjects scheduled to undergo CABG and assigned them to 4 g of curcuminoid (an active compounds in turmeric) or placebo daily. Supplementation began three days before surgery and continued until five days after surgery.

Subjects who supplemented with placebo experienced a 30% risk of heart attack after surgery, compared with a lesser 13% risk in the curcuminoid group. Other markers of pain and inflammation, including C-reactive protein and malondialdehyde, were improved with curcumin over placebo.

The researchers suspect that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcuminoids may have been responsible for heart-protective effects.