Metabolism and Pharmacodynamic Effects of Myristicin
Food chemistry is a branch of science that studies the effects of food and spices on the human body. Nutmeg, a spice most commonly found in desserts and ethnic foods, contains myristicin, a compound that had been studied extensively and found to alter the body’s physiology. In this Thesis, the properties, pharmacodynamic effects, metabolism, and potential therapeutic uses of myristicin were investigated and consolidated. Beyond enhancing the flavor of food, myristicin can reduce inflammation by non-selectively inhibiting cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), prevent the proliferation of tumor cells by increasing the rate of apoptosis, and decrease oxidative stress by inhibiting the production of radical oxygen species. On the other hand, myristicin can negatively affect the nervous system if an overdose occurs. When a large amount of myristicin is consumed, it can transform into an amphetamine derivative, adopt the conformation of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and cause the user to experience strong hallucinations and symptoms of psychosis. However, despite the adverse side effects, further research should be done into this seemingly innocuous spice to potentially translate these findings into therapeutics for diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.