Although UCLA is on the cutting edge of advances in traditional medicine, the university also embraces the concept of complementary alternative medicine (CAM). On January 3, researchers affiliated with the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition announced that they were seeking men aged 35 to 70 years who have type 2 diabetes to test the effects of turmeric and black pepper on inflammation. The participants must be non-smokers and currently not taking insulin.
The researchers note that herbs and spices are naturally rich in antioxidants that may be beneficial in preventing the plaque build-up that causes atherosclerosis (clogged arteries). They note that high-fat foods can contribute to elevated levels of compounds such as malondialdehyde (MDA) that have been associated with atherosclerosis. The aim of the study is to determine whether absorption of MDA in the blood can be reduced by including a spice mixture in a hamburger patty that is representative of a high-fat food. The want diabetic men for the study because eating a hamburger patty can readily mimic the condition that causes atherosclerosis in this patient population.
“The study may help explain how high fat foods can be harmful to the body and how beneficial antioxidants from herbs and spices can offer protection,” explained principal investigator Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Participation in the study will last 21 days, including several visits to the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Volunteers will be selected at random (similar to flipping a coin) to consume three test meals over the course of the study.
The participants will complete physicals and blood tests, as well as have body fat measurements taken by standing on a special scale. Volunteers will meet with a registered dietician who will provide instruction in following an American Heart Association low-fat diet during the study.
No outside research funding is being used for the study. Participants will receive up to $300 for participation.
For more information, please call the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition at 310-825-8274.