Top Benefits of Curcumin & What It Is Used For

Curcumin is the primary bioactive compound in Turmeric and is believed to be a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory thought to protect against brain aging, improve digestive health, reduce symptoms of arthritis and much more.

Type: Turmeric/ Herbal Supplement
Used For: Inflammation, Arthritis, Joint Pain, Fibromyalgia, Upset Stomach, Diabetes, Depression, Ulcerative Colitis, Heartburn
Typical Dosage: 500 mg-1,800 mg per day (divided into 2-3 doses)
Some Possible Drug Interactions: Anti Blood Clotting Drugs
Supplement Interactions: Supplements or herbs with anti-blood clotting properties

What is Curcumin?


Curcumin (curcuminoid) is the most important bio-active compound found in Turmeric. It is what gives this spice its bright yellow color. It is found in the stems beneath the ground (rhizomes) and roots of the Curcuma Longa plant which is part of the ginger family.

Curcumin Supplement UsesThe Curcumin content in Turmeric on its own is approximately 3%. This isn’t a high concentration for the most active ingredient which research speculates gives it its powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer effects.

Curcumin supplements focus on higher concentrations of this ingredient (up to 90% and higher) and most studies on the health benefits of Turmeric are believed to be done from the curcumin content or Turmeric Extract.

Traditionally, this herb has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for its’ potential benefits as a natural anti-inflammatory, to treat liver and digestive disorders and to improve the skin and heal wounds.

Today, Curcumin and/or Turmeric supplements are used for its indications in potentially being beneficial for general arthritic conditions, indigestion and intestinal problems, poor circulation, improving bad cholesterol LDL levels, cancer, depression, bacterial and viral infections, gallbladder and liver conditions, allergies and menstrual cramps.

Curcumin can be both water and fat soluble and does not absorb well into the bloodstream. Eating pepper with it is thought to raise its absorption by over 1000% and keep its medicinal properties in the body. It can be combined with pepper extract (piperine) or in combination with peppercorns by simply swallowing a few. Supplements may have this ingredient added.

The suggested health benefits for Turmeric and Curcumin are many and it has been widely researched. However, it is good to note, that most studies have only been done in laboratories and although promising, evidence for some of these benefits needs more research.

This article will discuss the benefits associated with Tumeric supplements, its uses and potential side effects.

Benefits of Curcumin and Turmeric


Curcumin’s main benefits primarily lie in it’s powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Chronic inflammation plays a role in almost every disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and certain degenerative conditions.

Inflammation is necessary to protect the body but when it becomes chronic it may become a larger problem. People with IBS, colitis, crohn’s disease and chronic diarrhea may benefit from Turmeric supplementation to help reduce the inflammation in the mucous membranes. Also, potentially reducing the risk of inflammations in general from becoming chronic, may help in preventing many diseases.

It is thought to lower levels of two enzymes called lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase that can cause inflammation. It may also prevent blood clots from forming by stopping platelets from clumping together.

Also, preliminary evidence suggests that Curcumin may help reduce joint pain and swelling. This may be beneficial for people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and tendonitis.

As a potent anti-oxidant, it can stop the oxidation of molecules that eventually produce free radicals. These can damage cells, DNA and even kill them. This cell maintenance may help slow down the aging process.

Being a powerful anti-oxidant, this golden powder is thought to support every system in the body. In traditional medicine, it is used as a healing herb, believed to fight bacteria and infections and purify the blood.




Other Uses for Curcumin and Turmeric


The uses for Curcumin are primarily associated with reducing inflammation, as an antioxidant and anti-bacterial. Research suggests that it may also have these particular benefits;

Digestive Health

Turmeric may promote bile production which breaks down fats and prevents gastric secretions. This process is thought to help protect the stomach lining, even from the damage that medications and drugs may have caused.

It also promotes bile production in the liver which helps the body digest fats. This may be useful for people who experience bloating, gas and tiredness after meals.

If you have a weak digestive system, Curcumin or Turmeric supplementation might be something you want to consider taking.

Cancer

Research on Curcumins benefits of cancer prevention and tumor growth is still being investigated. The FDA does not approve Turmeric as a treatment or prevention for cancer and it should not be used to replace any cancer therapies.

However, some animal studies in laboratories, suggest that it has shown some promising results. It is best to speak with your oncologist first, if you are considering taking Turmeric supplements for this use.

It is believed that incidences of cancer are low in the Indian population where Turmeric spice is used regularly in Indian cuisine and even cosmetically. However, whether Turmeric is related or not is not proven.

Side Effects of Curcumin and Turmeric


Curcumin and Turmeric supplements are considered likely safe. Always follow the recommended dosage by the manufacturer on the product label. Safety rating is based on the use of this supplement for up to 8 months.

Long-term use of this supplement or taking too high of a dose can potentially cause side effects including nausea, diarrhea and upset stomach.

This supplement is not recommended for people who are/have;

  • Breast feeding or pregnant women
  • Heart or liver disease
  • Gall bladder or kidney disease
  • Diabetes type II
  • Bleeding disorders
  • GERD
  • Iron deficiencies

Also, it may interact with certain medications. It is best to consult with your doctor first if you suffer from any conditions or have pre-existing health issues before taking Turmeric or Curcumin supplements.

This supplement may have interactions with certain supplements. It is not recommended to take Curcumin or Turmeric supplements with Ginkgo Biloba, Garlic or Ginger.

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