fibromyalgia

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The Connection Between Belly Fat & Inflammation

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If you don’t already have a long list of reasons to get rid of any excess weight in your waistline, this post explores the direct connection between inflammation and belly fat in detail. As more time passes, there is more research coming to the forefront to confirm that carrying extra weight on your gut area can have a detrimental effect on other parts of the body, including chronic inflammation which could then lead to diabetes, heart disease and more.

 

Diseases Linked to Belly Fat

·       High Blood Pressure
·       Inflammatory Bowel Disease
·       Type-2 Diabetes
·       Rheumatoid and/or Psoriatic Arthritis
·       Systemic Lupus
·       Psoriasis
·       Colorectal Cancer
·       Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
·       Multiple Sclerosis
·       Cardiovascular Disease
·       Sleep Apnoea

 

 

Why Is Belly Fat So Much Worse Than Fat in Other Parts?

If you have fat on the butt, back, legs or arm, this actually has very little effect in terms of causing serious harm to the body. The reason that abdominal fat is so bad is due in part to its proximity to the intestinal organs. The fat that is in your arms and other areas listed above, is called Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue, whereas the fat around your belly is called Visceral Adipose Tissue; also known as SAT and VAT.

Visceral Fat actually attracts immune cells known as Lymphocytes and Macrophages, which are responsible for releasing cytokines that disrupt your metabolism and end up causing more inflammation and more fat to accumulate in the belly region.

 

Fat increases inflammation in a number of ways:

1.     A Slower Release of Adiponectin (a protein which regulates blood sugar levels and breaks down fatty acids)
2.     An Increase in Adipose Tissue Hypoxia (a lack of oxygen reaching the fat cells)
3.     Decreased Release of Leptin (the hormone that tells you you're 'full')

 

Inflammation is stimulated when oxygen struggles to reach cells, and this happens to the fat cells when they are enlarged. When you put on weight, this causes your fat cells to become bigger, and as those cells transition from lean cells to the obese stages, there is less room for the oxygen (even when you lose weight you don't lose fat cells, you just shrink them, leaving more room for the oxygen). This specific process is strongly tied to metabolic irregularities.

In their normal healthy state, the bodily tissues will use oxygen to burn off any excess fat. Some essential immune cells actually depend on oxygen for their normal functioning energy. Other cells, which are the type you see in a person that is obese, such as inflamed immune cells, insulin resistant or metabolically challenged cell do not need oxygen for energy.

There is so much research that confirms the unforgiving effects that sustained belly fat can have on your body. Having an ‘apple shaped’ body is also strongly linked with having inflammatory diseases. On the contrary, those with a ‘pear shaped’ body who tend to store their fat on their hips have a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease in general. This is why some Doctors will measure out the circumference of a persons’ body in order to ascertain any people who may have an elevated risk of these issues.


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What Harm Can Be Caused By Inflammation?

Contrary to popular belief, inflammation is a serious issue. It is a complicated process that your body goes through in order to combat the effects of irritants, pathogens or cells that are damaged. Essentially, it is your body using its natural instinctive ability to safeguard itself through the removal of harmful substances. Simply put, it is part of the immunological response of your body, and it is a way of kickstarting the healing process.

If inflammation occurs within your body frequently, which can easily occur if you have a poor diet, your body might then become chronically inflamed which is essentially a type of autoimmune disease. This is a serious condition as your body will switch from its natural protective state, and turn instead to focus on attacking itself, which will undoubtedly result in more longer-term health consequences.

Chronic fatigue and joint pain are just two of the common symptoms of such a condition, in some cases, this inflammation even spreads to the gums in the form of Gingivitis. In some cases, there will be no warning signs externally or internally until a serious health concern prevails.

 

There are also many different types of foods that you can consume which are stated to help you to burn belly fat and fight-off inflammation within the body:

·       Broccoli
·       Cinnamon
·       Turmeric
·       Ginger
·       Green Apples
·       Spinach
·       Strawberries
·       Salmon
·       Avocado
·       Lemon
·       Leek

 

This is not an extensive list by any means, but it will help to get you started and back on track. Nobody wants to carry around excess weight on their belly; however, if you were looking for that extra bit of motivation in order to kick-start your new abdominal regime, we hope you found the inspiration and information you were looking for in this post.

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Low Carb vs Keto - What's The Difference?

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Low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets are often confused, perhaps in part because a ketogenic diet is, by default, also a low carbohydrate diet. That said, there are several important distinctions that set ketogenic diets apart from more generic low carbohydrate diets. Let's look a little more closely at each of those distinctions, so you can better understand why someone might wish to pursue a ketogenic diet.

So, what's a low-carb diet?

Okay, so here's where the greatest confusion generally comes in. A low-carbohydrate diet focuses on limiting carbohydrate intake. A ketogenic diet does the same. So how are they different?

The difference is like that between a doctor and a surgeon. The surgeon is still a doctor but may be far more specialized. Keto diets, similarly, are specialized low-carb diets. So let's look at the generic—the low-carb diet—first.

First, it's important to note that “low” in this case is pretty subjective. There's no clear consensus on how many carbs one can eat before a diet is no longer low-carbohydrate, for instance.

In general, though, the idea here is to be more selective than the standard western diet. Often this means fruits, vegetables, and beans are still acceptable parts of the diet; while grains, baked goods, and processed sugars are either completely eliminated or drastically reduced.

As a result of shifting from carbohydrate-dense foods in your diet, to more low-density foods, the daily carbohydrate quantity you intake is significantly cut.

The subjectivity of the diet, however, can be problematic. For instance, if you were consuming 300 grams of carbohydrates daily, and cut it to 200 grams per day, this is a lower-carbohydrate diet. If you don't replace the lost calories, you may still lose weight, and technically, you could consider this a low carb diet, as you lowered your carbohydrate intake. Conversely, though, if you replace those lost calories with extra proteins or fats, you may have very different outcomes.

As a result, this subjectivity makes it hard to determine whether or not low-carbohydrate diets are effective, as they're not very well defined, and as such, cannot be very well judged.

Then what's the ketogenic diet?

The two biggest differences between low(ish)-carb diets and ketogenic diets are these:

  • Low-carbohydrate diets are imprecise; everything in a proper ketogenic diet is measured.
  • Low-carbohydrate diets are predicated by cutting back on a single macronutrient (carbohydrates), whereas ketogenic diets require very precise balances of all three.

In short, a successful ketogenic diet is high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate. When done correctly, it allows your body to shift from burning carbohydrates (or glucose) to burning fat in the form of ketones and fatty acids.

In fact, in order for a diet to truly be ketogenic, it has to pursue nutritional ketosis; if it isn't done properly, however, it can go very badly, and leave you feeling terrible—without any of the benefits ketogenesis can provide.

So, how should ketogenesis work?

When ketogenic diets are balanced correctly and appropriately, that carbohydrate restriction should result in increased ketone production. Ketones, which are a byproduct of fat distillation and produced in the liver, can actually be measured (via blood or urine), so if you are a ketogenic diet, you can test progress.

A few guidelines: Traditional western (high-carbohydrate) diets generally result in blood ketone levels between 0.1-0.2 millimoles (mmol), and even moderate-carbohydrate diet (which some may confuse for low-carbohydrate diets, as discussed above) will generally fall in this same range. A truly effective ketogenic diet, however, will result in much higher blood ketone levels, generally above 0.5millimoles but safely as high as 5.0 millimoles. This higher ketone level is a sign that your body has reached a state of “nutritional ketosis,” and shows that the ketogenic diet is working.

But what does this look like as a diet?

For an effective ketogenic diet, consider the following guidelines a starting point for each of the three most major macronutrients.

Carbohydrates

Standard western diets are frequently between 40-70 percent carbohydrates, by calories. Most research studies equate low-carbohydrate diets as gaining less than 30 percent of their calories from carbohydrates (generally in a range of 50-100 grams per day).

Ketogenic diets, however, often suggest as few as 5-10 percent of your total caloric intake comes from carbohydrates, which is generally in the 25-30 gram range. Many ketogenic plans offer a little more leeway, but almost all suggest a maximum intake of 50 grams on any given day, as keeping carbohydrate intake below that threshold seems necessary for triggering nutritional ketosis, in which your body begins relying on fat for fuel.

Proteins

This is where ketogenic diets show the greatest range, depending on the goals of the ketogenic diet. If weight loss is the aim, for instance, the plan may suggest moderate to high protein intake, in order to maintain muscle, strength, and satiation, so you aren't left feeling hungry.

Consider the following basic divisions: High-protein diets may recommend 0.7-1 grams per pound of body weight (2 grams per kilogram) or more; moderate-protein diets generally recommend between 0.6-0.7 grams per pound of body weight (1.3-1.5 grams per kilogram); low-protein diets may recommend less than 0.35 grams per pound (0.9 gram per kilogram) of body weight.

One note of caution: As Dr Jacob Wilson, director of the Applied Science and Performance Institute, notes, high-protein diets can make achieving nutritional ketosis impossible. (As a result, he recommends no more than 1.5 grams per kilogram as an upper limit.)

The science behind this is based on a process called gluconeogenesis, by which the body, in a carbohydrate-limited state, breaks down proteins to create glucose, thereby bypassing the aims of ketogenesis, which requires the body not have access to glucose, so that it instead will create ketones for fuel.

Fats

 When it comes to low-carbohydrate diets, you still need a moderate amount of fat, because otherwise, the only way to get calories is through an overabundance of protein. In a low-carbohydrate diet, though, you're still mostly burning the carbohydrates you're still consuming, so this is less important.

In a ketogenic diet, however, fat is what you're burning. As a result, you want 70 percent or more of your daily calories to come from fat, as fat is your new fuel source.

 

For many people, this is the hardest change to accept when looking at a ketogenic diet. After all, isn't it fat which contributes to obesity? The truth is, the research on high-fat diets are inconclusive at worst, whereas as plenty of evidence suggests that the real culprit for so many health issues is the combination of high-carbohydrate and high-fat diets, or what we might consider a standard western diet.

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Depression vs Training: 7 Tips

So, I'm sorry there hasn't been a blog post from me for a while, and it pretty much comes down to one thing. Inspiration, well and motivation. Yep, me, Beau, the personal trainer who has no motivation. I'm human, this stuff happens, and having Fibromyalgia contributes a lot to it. 

I was meant to write a post of activation of the muscles, but I think this is more important to so many people out there who suffer from depression. There are many reasons why people go through a period like this, for me I discovered that it was my surroundings. It's a build up of stress>anxiety>depression, and if it's an ongoing chronic problem it can develop in to adrenal map adaption and auto immune disease. Like my case for example. Once you have it, it can take a while to get rid of. Most of the time when we are depressed there are a few basic things that we all do, it's the first thought of acting against depression: go see a doctor and then a psychologist and then medication. Sometimes that's a quick fix but doesn't change the source of the problem.

Now, I hear you saying, what has this post got to do with me getting a thin waist and a big butt in your face? Everything. It's a revolving door. We help with health, physical and mental, and when you take care of your brain it takes care of your body. 

There have been a few things that I have done that you can do too that can help short term and long term. I'm here to help you feel good and smile again. 

Here we go:

1. I did this last night when I was feeling bad, no matter what situation you're in, put on a comedy movie, a TV show, something that will make you laugh. It's pretty hard to hold back a laugh or a smile, and in return that can make you feel better. 

2. Don't sweat the small stuff. After being in Japan for a week, I realised that here (Australia) so many people work themselves up in to a frenzy of stress for no reason. Tokyo is so busy, people are going to step on other people's toes. Don't take it personally, it's going to happen. So when you're in the city, or driving and someone is in your way, don't make yourself angry for no reason. It's not going to change the outcome. Stress is contagious in a way, when you're angry, you make other people angry, if you don't get the job done, it makes other people fall behind. So just breathe, and understand that's life. 

3. Go outside, get some sun. Even if it's for 5 mins a day getting extra vitamin D from the sun can help increase natural happiness hormones and endorphins. 

4. Plan some stuff! Whether it's a trip to the beach, a holiday, your finances, movie date or just a chat on the phone with mum. Getting into a routine and having things to look forward to breaks up time and makes the boring days pass quicker! 

5. On a larger note, if things aren't looking up, sometimes it's the scene you are in. There maybe a negative force in your life, whether it's work, home, friends, they can majorly impact your happiness, and it's not as hard as you think to change, it's just fear. It's a transitional period. I heard the other day that change is like getting in to the pool. You're comfortable with being on the outside, but when it comes time to jump in, you hesitate. Is it going to be cold? For a little bit, but once you're fully submerged you get used to it. Take a chance. 

6. If a dramatic change like that is too much do some stuff around the house. Rearrange the furniture, a little change is a good start. De-clutter. I know when I have too many emails, or files all over my computer it can make the anxiety less rise due to the fact that I don't feel like I'm in control. Create some new folders, keep the stuff you need and delete what you don't. Same with possessions. You know those underwear that have the holes in them, or the dress that's way way way out of fashion. Time to go. 

7. Last but not least. Exercise. I've explained this a few times on how it helps with mental illness and how mental illness can slow down results. But it's a big cycle, the less stressed you are, the less cortisol and the less fat you will have around your midsection, as well as motivation, focus and energy! On the other hand, having the motivation to start a work out sometimes is impossible. But start off small and get in to an easy routine, it's not about hammering yourself 100km an hour from the beginning. Start eating fresher food, drink less alcohol and your body will rest better, recover better and release more good endorphins = a healthier attitude and lifestyle. 

Don't feel like you are the only one that feels like this, as we all fall apart sometimes. If you need a place to start, a small routine can help, we would recommend starting with the 8 Week Transformation Challenge guide to help you on your way to your fitness goals. Check it out here.

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Doctor, Who? Does Your GP Know What You Need?

Does Your GP Know What You Need?
Beau Bressington
 

How many times have you come back from the doctors with no answers, still scratching your head a week later and thinking that nothing has changed, and that you haven't seen any improvement in your health? I bet it's more than amount of fingers you have on your hands. Do you start to ask yourself if your doctor is an idiot or if the pain is all in your head? I know I do!

As many of you know I have Fibromyalgia, an Auto Immune Disease that has a number of symptoms and side effects. Since I've had it I've seen it get worse and dramatically better in the space of 12 months. Who helped me? Not doctors, all they wanted to do was pump me with pills which made me feel even worse if I missed taking one, so I decided to try another option. A Naturopath.

I started helping myself initially with a lot of the ATP science products, mainly Cort RX, after a while I saw great results, and I applied to be apart of a small knit community known as The "ATP Tribe" a group of like minded Health Professionals, Customers and the guys who run the company. One of the members was Jess Blair, a clinical nutritionist (the step before naturopath) she had previously been a bikini competitor which meant she was on the same wave length as Rachel and myself, fitness, but on a natural level.

We booked in to see Jess in a week, answered a couple of questions online and explained our situation. I didn't know what to expect, was she some hippy lady in a corner burning incense or was she going to question everything I had been doing and judging me? Nope, none of that, just chatting like a group of people in relation to the answers we gave her online about our problems. She also asked us to bring in our blood test results that we got done by our doctor a few weeks earlier....... Let's skip back in time for a sec. Rachel and I wanted to get our hormones tested again as we both know that they aren't the best. When we went back to the doctors, they told me there was no concern everything is normal. Now this is the point of this post... even though I don't feel normal, I know I'm not. The range for a doctor for someone to be normal is a lot broader than it is for a specialist, nutritionist or naturopath. "You don't want to be normal, you want to be optimal," Jess explains. Looking over my blood test results, Jess shows me testosterone, normal range is 11-41. I'm 12. Now this is pretty concerning to me, as testosterone is what helps us maintain muscle, strength, reproductive systems and burn fat, as well as motivation and stable mindset. Why would I want to be on the bottom end of normal? I want to be smack bang in the middle!

So after the hour chat, Rachel and I went home and got a follow up email from Jess explaining how we can get our hormones healthier. We already had the exercise down, we were eating healthy, and we're both quite fit, but we want to be next level. Diet is how we are going to attack this, and it's not a fad diet, we've taken her guidelines and created something that suits our needs, health specifications and budget. After I did the anti-candida protocol and saw dramatic changes, it was time to step up my game. Adding a smorgasbord board of vitamins and minerals, and health supplements I've seen a noticeable change in pain over the last 3 weeks.

If you aren't seeing changes I urge you to get in contact with a naturopath, and get your health sorted today. It's the only thing you have that supports you, make this relationship work.

fitnessinfo

5 Ways To Improve Your Sleep

3 THINGS DRIVE THIS WORLD... SEX, MONEY, POWER SLEEP.
JUST 5 MORE MINUTES, JUST 5 MORE MINUTES, THAT'S ALL I NEED.

WHY AM I SO TIRED?

For most of us we go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time, go to work, follow our routine day in day out, our body adapts and we get used to it. But for some, sleep is a dream in a far away land, unicorns, Santa, yeah it’s all make believe, why can't they sleep? What is holding them back from laying down in their bed at night?

When we work out, we need to recover, we need to grow, the optimum time for us to do all of this is in our sleep, so if we aren’t resting, we aren’t progressing. If you put as much time into your training as you did in your sleeping, you would see your results skyrocket. So let’s start your new sleeping routine with these 5 tips:
 


one: planning

Plan your day, plan your week. Most of us have an iPhone which has a calendar app that can sync to our emails and any device. Plan your week so you know what times you have to wake up and go to sleep and prepare for your day the night before.

 

two: reduce caffeine

If you’re trying to re-energise yourself with your third coffee of the day, chances are its not going to do anything. Every time you have a coffee or any other caffeine product it's draining your adrenal glands, so it's going to make you crash, become more tired and lose energy, and that last one for the day is still going to affect your ability to sleep late at night. Remember, caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy, it just tricks your mind in to thinking it has energy.  If you are feeling drained, chances are you haven’t had enough food or you are dehydrated.

 

three: reduce stress/anxiety

These guys affect a lot of us, and our sleep is non-existent, and when we do get to sleep, it's pretty crappy, waking up constantly throughout the night. What controls our sleep patterns is a hormone called Cortisol, it's like a wave pattern of mental energy you could say. For people who have stable Cortisol levels they will fall asleep when their levels are low, low brain activity, it's easy for them to get in to REM and wake up naturally when their Cortisol spikes again, with several little spikes through out their sleep. Which is when you might hear something at night, or need to go to the toilet.

For people who suffer from anxiety, you will see lots of spikes through out the night that will keep you awake or in a light, disturbed sleep that causes even more panic and anxiety! For me, I find that this can cause even worse anxiety, knowing that I haven’t had enough sleep for a big day can really affect the rest of my day. Even though this isn’t a tip, I feel knowledge and understanding can help. But the next tip can also help these challenges.

 

four: supplements

If you use them in your training, use them in your sleeping. “Cort RX” will help with points 2 & 3, reducing the adrenal fatigue from coffee and also slowing down the effects of Cortisol throughout the body, meaning less stress and anxiety, controlling your levels of sleep better [get Cort RX here].  "Shred Time" by Lecheek Nutrition is something I rely on, with Fibromyalgia my Cortisol levels fly about everywhere, so getting to sleep and staying asleep is a major challenge for me [get Shred Time here]. A scoop before bed gets me to sleep in 15 minutes and waking up when my alarm goes off. Not only does it assist with sleep, but when your body goes in to REM it is repairing at a higher rate, and your BMR is working at its hardest meaning you’re metabolism is firing and burning away at fat and building muscle. Staples of repairing also are BCAAS, Protein & L-Glutamine, these are major factors in repairing.

 

five: sleep position

How do you sleep? On your side? Back? Or like you have passed out after a big night of drinking looking like a pretzel? The way your body is positioned is important to getting a good nights sleep, not only are you spending 1/3 of your life in bed and the way you are set up but the stress you put on your muscles will alter your Cortisol levels too. So practice laying on your back, cover your eyes, create a dark space and invest in some comfortable bedding.


I used to dread going to bed.  I couldn’t sleep, I would stay up to the small hours, just entertaining myself with whatever is going on. I think the Internet causes a lot of a distraction,  you can find your self scrolling and cycling between Facebook, Instagram and other social media apps for no reason. Just put the phone on charge, somewhere longer than arms reach so you can't reach for it when your bored, or when that alarm goes off in the morning you have to get up and turn it off. I wish I could go back in time and tell Faithless these tips, but then again we might not have a classic dance tune!

Like always subscribe to the blog, tell me your tips on how you get to sleep.

Food

Benefits of Tumeric

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Turmeric, an ancient spice from the same family as ginger, is something that could be missing from your life. Turmeric contains some handy little things called curcuminoids, the main ones are curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. These fellas are responsible for most of the anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and antioxidant properties that turmeric contains. This spice can be helpful as a natural therapeutic relief to tissue injury, arthritis, phlebitis, tuberculosis, fevers, allergies, sinusitis, fibromyalgia, gastritis, tissue irritation and autoimmune disorders (McMahon, 1997). Turmeric is also packed full of micro-nutrients that your body requires, like niacin, sodium, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins C, E, and K.

So lets simplify and break down 5 things turmeric can do for you:

1. It is an anti-inflammatory Although short-term inflammation can be necessary for the body, long-term (chronic) inflammation can work against your own tissues and cells (Singh & Aggarwhal, 1995). The curcumin, which I mentioned before, is so anti-inflammatory that it has matched effectiveness with some medical-grade anti-inflammatory drugs (Jurenka, 2009).  Beau’s fibromyalgia was causing him a lot of pain one day (more than usual) and he was aching all over and felt like he was getting the flu, but had no other symptoms, so I made him a turmeric tea. Beau said that he used to mainly get the pain through his hips and he noticed that an hour or two after the tea the pain had just disappeared. He drinks it every day now.

2. Fights colds and flu Heat 1 cup of milk with ½ a teaspoon of turmeric (and then strain out the turmeric and drink the milk – it does not taste pleasant…) as a natural remedy to colds and flus. Studies have shown that the spice can help reduce the symptoms and severity of colds (Turmeric: the golden spice’, 2013).

3. Helps indigestion and weight loss There have been some studies which have shown that curcumin is able to help reduce symptoms of indigestion and bloating and acts as a natural thermogen. If you’re not yet familiar with the world of supplements a thermogen is a product that promotes thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a process that takes place when the central nervous system of the body burns fat in order to maintain it’s regular temperature. Increased rates of thermogenesis can mean increased body temperature but also greater fat burning and faster weight loss (Jin-Gyu, 2014).

4. Relief for arthritis and other joint inflammation The pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be relieved by the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric. In addiction to the pain relief because it’s a ‘natural pain killer’, turmeric has been found to also destroy free radicals in the body, free radicals can damage your cells.

5. Controls diabetes Turmeric has been found to moderate insulin levels, improve glucose control and increase the effectiveness of diabetes medications (Finney-Brown, 2011). It is still best to consult a medical professional before taking turmeric capusules for this purpose.

So there you have it! Five great things about turmeric, and there are way more too! The easiest way to have turmeric is half a teaspoon in a cup of boiling water (like a tea). The taste does take a bit to get used to, if you really can’t tolerate it try adding some cinnamon and/or raw honey.

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References:

Finney-Brown, T 2011, ‘Turmeric for diabetes’, Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, vol. 23, no.2, p 96.

Jin-Gyu, K 2014, ‘Beneficial dietary effect of turmeric and sulphur on weight gain, fat deposition and lipid profile of serum and liver in rats’, Journal of Food Science and Technology, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 774-779.

Jurenka, J 2009, ‘Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research’, Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 14, no. 3, p 277.\

McMahon, S 1997, ‘Tumeric: from kitchen cabinet to medicine chest’, Vegetarian Times, vol. 240, p 70.

Singh, S & Aggarwhal B 1995, ‘Activation of transciription factor NF-kB is suppressed by curcumin (diferuloylmethane)’, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 270, no. 44, pp. 24995-25000.

"Turmeric: The Golden Spice." Facts For You 8 Jan. 2013. General OneFile. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.