10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Author -  Good Health

This may come as a big surprise, as it’s something that most us don’t realise about our health… inflammation is often the main underlying factor present in just about every chronic health condition, despite the many different symptoms each of us might have.

We often think of inflammation in terms of an injury, like a sprained ankle or swollen joints as seen in arthritis – but did you know that chronic inflammation is also present in health conditions like Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS), Alzheimer’s, chronic stiffness, eczema, asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)…you name it, it probably involves inflammation.

Reduce inflammation and you’re well in your way to healing your body.

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years, both as a food and as a medicine. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and has very strong antioxidant properties, which can help many different health conditions.

1. Turmeric contains active compounds with powerful medicinal properties.
These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is Curcumin.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. However, the curcumin content of the turmeric found in your spice rack is not that high… it’s around 0.1% - so you need to ensure you’re using the best quality, which is generally found in good quality supplements that contain around 95-98% Curcuminoids.

Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. Look for a Turmeric supplement that contains BioPiperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.

2. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation is incredibly important. It helps the body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage. Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over our bodies and kill us. Although acute (short-term) inflammation is beneficial, it can become a major problem when it is chronic (long-term) and inappropriately deployed against the body’s own tissues.

It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions.

Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases.

It turns out that curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory; it is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs.

3. Turmeric dramatically increases the antioxidant capacity of the body
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing and many diseases. It involves free radicals, which cause damage to the tissue in our bodies.

Curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure.

4. Curcumin is linked to improved brain function and a lower risk of brain diseases.
Neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number. One of the main drivers of this process is Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone. This includes depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF. By doing this, it may be effective in delaying, or even reversing, many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function. There is also the possibility that it could help improve your memory.

5. Curcumin leads to various improvements that can lower your risk of heart disease.
Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world. It has been studied for many decades and researchers have learnt a lot about why it happens. It turns out that heart disease is incredibly complicated and there are various things that contribute to it. Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process. Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease, is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels.

It is well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors. Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function but curcumin also reduces inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which are also important in heart disease.

6. Turmeric can help prevent (and perhaps even treat) cancer.
Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells. There are many different forms of cancer, but they do have several commonalities, some of which appear to be affected by curcumin supplementation.

Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Studies have shown that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells.

7. Curcumin may be useful in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet. Therefore, preventing it from showing up in the first place is of utmost importance.

There may be good news on the horizon, because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. As we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both.

But one key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a build-up of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques. It is thought that curcumin can help clear these plaques.

8. Arthritis patients respond very well to curcumin supplementation.
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are several different types, but most involve some sort of inflammation in the joints. Given that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that it could help with arthritis.

9. Studies show that curcumin has benefits against depression.
Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression. In a controlled trial, 60 patients were randomized into three groups. One group took Prozac, another group took a gram of curcumin and the third group took both Prozac and curcumin. After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were similar to Prozac. The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best. According to this (small) study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant.

Depression is also linked to reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory. Curcumin boosts BNDF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes. There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

10. Curcumin may help delay ageing and fight age-related chronic diseases.
If curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, this would have obvious benefits for longevity. For this reason, curcumin has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement. But given that oxidation and inflammation are believed to play a role in ageing, curcumin may have effects that go way beyond just prevention of disease.

Other conditions that curcumin has been known to help…

Musculoskeletal disorders: Osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Overuse Syndromes (eg tendonitis, bursitis), muscular strains and sprains, lower back pain

Gastrointestinal disorders: Irritable bowel (IBS), Diverticular disease, Inflammatory bowel disease (eg Crohns, Ulcerative colitis), Dyspepsia – heartburn, nausea, burping, Peptic ulcer disease, supports liver function

Cardiovascular disease: (eg. Angina, high cholesterol levels)

Neurological disorders: Shingles, Neuralgia, headaches, MS, Alzheimer’s

General well-being: Curcumin provides high levels of antioxidant protection – 13 times higher than Blueberries

Chronic pain: all pain is caused by inflammation

Important to remember…
It’s important that when buying a Turmeric/curcumin supplement, you find one with BioPerine, which is the substance that enhances absorption of curcumin by 2000%. Without this substance, most of the curcumin just passes through your digestive tract. Look for Good Health Turmeric 15800 Complex.

 

Not all products recommended may be available in South Africa at this time.

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Not all products recommended may be available in South Africa at this time

 

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