The spice known as turmeric is probably the most effective dietary supplement. Many high quality studies show that turmeric is very beneficial for body and mind. Many of these benefits are due to its main active ingredient, curcumin.
Read on to find out what science says about turmeric and curcumin and their benefits.
What are turmeric and curcumin?
Turmeric is a spice that gives curry a yellow color. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal plant. Recently, science has begun to support the traditional claim that turmeric contains compounds with medicinal properties.
These compounds are called curcuminoids. The most important is curcumin. Curcumin is an important active ingredient in turmeric. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and is a very powerful antioxidant.
Here are 10 key health benefits of turmeric and curcumin that are scientifically supported.
Turmeric contains biologically active compounds with medicinal properties
However, the curcumin content in turmeric is not very high. This is about 3% by weight. Most research on this herb uses turmeric extract, which contains mainly curcumin, in foods that usually contain more than 1 gram daily. It will be very difficult to reach this level just by using turmeric as a spice in food. This is why some people choose to use supplements.
However, curcumin is not well absorbed into the blood. To experience the full effects of curcumin, you need to increase its bioavailability (the rate at which your body absorbs the substance).
It is useful to use it with pepper which contains piperine. Piperine is a natural ingredient that increases the absorption of curcumin by up to 2000%. In fact, the best curcumin supplements contain piperine, which makes them more effective.
Curcumin is also fat soluble, meaning it breaks down and dissolves in fats or oils. Because of this, it may be a good idea to take curcumin supplements with fatty foods.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance that has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most studies used standard turmeric extracts with high levels of curcumin.
Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound
Inflammation is very important. It helps fight off foreign invaders and helps repair the damage done to your body. Although short-term acute inflammation can help, it can be a problem if it becomes chronic and invades your own body tissues.
Scientists now believe that low-grade chronic inflammation may play a role in some conditions and diseases. It includes:
- Heart disease
- Metabolism syndrome
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Various degenerative conditions
This is why anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is potentially important in preventing and treating the condition. Although the topic of inflammation is multifaceted and there is no easy answer to it, the most important thing with curcumin is that it is a bioactive compound that can fight inflammation. However, a large dose is required to achieve therapeutic results.
Chronic inflammation is helpful in many common diseases. Curcumin can block many molecules that play a role in inflammation, but its bioavailability needs to be improved.
Turmeric can increase the body’s antioxidant capacity
Oxidative damage is thought to be one of the mechanisms of aging and many diseases. These are free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals react with important organic matter such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA.
The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is that they protect your body from free radicals. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical composition.
In addition, cellular and animal studies have shown that curcumin can inhibit the action of free radicals and stimulate the action of other antioxidants. Further human medical studies are needed to confirm this benefit.
Although curcumin has antioxidant effects, further studies are needed to confirm these benefits.
Curcumin can stimulate neurotropic factors in the brain
Before scientists could better understand neurons, it was thought that they could not divide and reproduce after childhood. However, now they know that this is not the case. Neurons are able to make new connections and can multiply and multiply in certain parts of the brain. One of the key drivers of this process is the brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). These are the genes involved in the production of proteins that are responsible for keeping neurons alive.
The BDNF protein plays a role in memory and learning and can be found in the parts of the brain that are responsible for eating, drinking and weight loss. Many common brain diseases are associated with a decrease in BDNF protein levels, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, animal studies have shown that curcumin can increase BDNF levels in the brain.
However, it can be effective in reducing or reversing many brain diseases and age-related impairments in brain function. However, given that this study was performed on animals, it is difficult to say what the results mean for humans.
It can also help improve memory and attention, which seems logical given its effect on BDNF levels. However, more studies are needed to confirm this.
Curcumin increases levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which stimulates the growth of new neurons and can help fight various degradation processes in the brain.
Curcumin can reduce the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Researchers have been studying it for decades and have learned a great deal about why it happens. Not surprisingly, heart disease is very complex, and many factors contribute to it.
Curcumin can help reverse many of the stages of heart disease. When it comes to heart disease, perhaps the main benefit of curcumin is to improve the function of the endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is one of the major causes of heart disease. It occurs when your endothelium fails to control blood pressure, blood clots and various other factors.
Numerous studies have shown that curcumin can lead to better heart health. In addition, a study found that it is just as effective for menopausal women as exercise. In addition, curcumin may help reduce inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which may play a role in heart disease.
In a study of 121 people who underwent coronary bypass surgery, the researchers gave them either placebo or 4 grams of curcumin daily for several days before and after the surgery. In the curcumin group, the risk of having a heart attack in the hospital was 65% lower.
Curcumin has a beneficial effect on many factors known to play a role in heart disease. In addition, it is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent.
Turmeric can help prevent cancer
Cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. There are several forms of cancer that appear to be affected by curcumin supplements. Curcumin has been studied as a useful herb for the treatment of cancer and has been found to affect the growth and development of cancer.
Research shows that it can:
- Participates in the death of cancer cells
- Reduces angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in the tumor)
- Reduce metastasis (cancer spread)
Whether high-dose curcumin, preferably with absorbent enhancers such as piperine, can help treat cancer in humans remains to be seen. However, there is evidence that it can prevent the onset of cancer, especially cancers of the digestive system, such as colorectal cancer.
In a 30-day study of 44 men with colon ulcers that sometimes progress to cancer, 4 grams of curcumin a day reduced the number of lesions by 40%.
Curcumin causes some changes at the molecular level that can help prevent and possibly cure cancer.
Curcumin may be helpful in treating Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and can cause up to 70% of cases of dementia. Although there is no cure for some of the symptoms, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s. That is why it is so important to stop already. There may be good news on the horizon, as curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Inflammatory and oxidative damage are known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and curcumin has beneficial effects on both. Furthermore, an important feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a tangle of proteins called amyloid plaques. Research shows that curcumin can help remove these plaques.
Whether curcumin can slow or reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in humans is currently unknown and needs to be studied.
Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and it can lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease.
Arthritis patients respond well to curcumin supplements.
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are several types of arthritis, most of which involve arthritis. Because curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, it is thought to help with arthritis. In fact, some research suggests that there are associations.
In studies involving people with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin has been shown to be more effective than anti-inflammatory. Other studies have looked at the effects of curcumin on arthritis and noted an increase in various symptoms.
Arthritis is a common disease caused by inflammation of the joints. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat arthritis symptoms and, in some cases, is more effective than anti-inflammatory.
Curcumin is good for depression
Curcumin has shown promise in treating depression. In a controlled trial, 60 people with depression were randomized into three groups. One group took Prozac, another took 1 gram of curcumin, and a third group took both Prozac and curcumin.
After 6 weeks, Curcumin showed a Prozac-like improvement. The Prozac and Curcumin group was more fortunate. According to this little research, curcumin is effective as an antidepressant.
Depression is also linked to a decrease in BDNF levels and a contraction of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a role in learning and memory. Curcumin may help increase BDNF levels, which may alter some of these changes.
There is also evidence that curcumin can stimulate the brain’s serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters.
A study of 60 people with depression found that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in relieving the symptoms of the condition.
Curcumin can help reduce aging and fight age-related chronic diseases
If curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, it can also have lifelong benefits. This suggests that curcumin may have anti-aging potential.
Because oxidation and inflammation are thought to play a role in aging, curcumin may have side effects other than preventing the disease.
Due to its many health benefits, such as its ability to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, curcumin can promote longevity.
The Bottom Line
Turmeric, and especially its most active compound, curcumin, has many scientifically proven health benefits, including the ability to improve heart health and prevent Alzheimer’s and cancer.
It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. It can also help improve the symptoms of depression and arthritis.
Although this benefit is possible, it is currently limited due to the low bioavailability of curcumin and further research is needed.