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Inside SPICE

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Is there any seasonal ingredient more ubiquitous than pumpkin spice Since the start of the 2000s, the flavor has permeated virtually every aspect of American dining. Each autumn, our coffee, cereal, cookies, and even our dog food gets blasted with that patented dose of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. And each year, we consume more and more of it.

According to data from Nielsen and Forbes' own accounting of pumpkin spice latte consumption, the pumpkin spice industrial complex in 2018 is a more-than $600 million market, up from $500 million three years ago.

Pumpkin-tinged beer sales aren't included in the $600 million market estimate; the product falls under the "seasonal beer" category that accounts for some 15% of the $26 billion craft beer sales in America. "Seasonal" is a term that includes everything from citrus beers in the summer to brews with floral notes for the spring, so beer industry experts say it's hard to pull out pumpkin-specific data. But from the broad trends they're seeing, pumpkin-flavored beer growth isn't as robust as it once was. In part due to the explosion of American IPAs, and perhaps in part due to pumpkin spice over-saturation, seasonal beer consumption fell 7.5% between October 2017 and October 2018, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI.

Inflammation in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients is characterized by increased cytokines and activated microglia. Epidemiological studies suggest reduced AD risk associates with long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Whereas chronic ibuprofen suppressed inflammation and plaque-related pathology in an Alzheimer transgenic APPSw mouse model (Tg2576), excessive use of NSAIDs targeting cyclooxygenase I can cause gastrointestinal, liver, and renal toxicity. One alternative NSAID is curcumin, derived from the curry spice turmeric. Curcumin has an extensive history as a food additive and herbal medicine in India and is also a potent polyphenolic antioxidant. To evaluate whether it could affect Alzheimer-like pathology in the APPSw mice, we tested a low (160 ppm) and a high dose of dietary curcumin (5000 ppm) on inflammation, oxidative damage, and plaque pathology. Low and high doses of curcumin significantly lowered oxidized proteins and interleukin-1beta, a proinflammatory cytokine elevated in the brains of these mice. With low-dose but not high-dose curcumin treatment, the astrocytic marker GFAP was reduced, and insoluble beta-amyloid (Abeta), soluble Abeta, and plaque burden were significantly decreased by 43-50%. However, levels of amyloid precursor (APP) in the membrane fraction were not reduced. Microgliosis was also suppressed in neuronal layers but not adjacent to plaques. In view of its efficacy and apparent low toxicity, this Indian spice component shows promise for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease.

Background: Spices, i.e., curcumin, ginger, saffron, and cinnamon, have a thousand-year history of medicinal use in Asia. Modern medicine has begun to explore their therapeutic properties during the last few decades. We aimed to perform a systematic literature review (SLR) of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effect of spice supplementation on symptoms and disease activity in patients with chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases (rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondylarthritis, or psoriatic arthritis).

Results: Altogether, six studies, assessing the use of spice supplementation only in RA patients, were included: one on garlic supplementation, two on curcumin, one on ginger, one on cinnamon, and one on saffron supplementation. Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, or saffron supplementation was associated with a decrease in RA clinical activity. However, several points limit the external validity of these studies. No conclusion on the impact of curcumin supplementation on RA activity could be drawn due to low-quality studies.

Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a yellow pigment in the spice turmeric (also


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