The most effective nutritional supplement in existence might be turmeric.
Many high-quality researches have shown that turmeric has major benefits for the body and brain.
Below are the top 10 evidence-based health benefits of turmeric.
- Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds with Powerful Medicinal Properties
The yellow color which is given to the curry is the spice called turmeric
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb in India.
Recently, what Indians have known for a long time the science is starting to back up and turmeric really does contain compounds with medicinal properties
These compounds having medicinal properties are called curcuminoids, the most vital of which is curcumin.
The main active ingredient in turmeric is known as curcumin. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, the content of turmeric in curcumin is not that high. It’s around 3%, by weight
Most of the researches on this herb are made using the turmeric extracts that are containing mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day.
If using the turmeric spice in foods it would be very hard to reach these levels
Therefore, if the full effects are to be experienced, a supplement needs to be taken that contains significant amounts of curcumin.
But it is unfortunate that curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps in consuming black pepper with it, which contains piperine which is a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%
The best curcumin supplements are containing piperine, substantially increasing their effectiveness.
Curcumin may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal as it is also a fat soluble.
- Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound – Curcumin
Inflammation is incredibly necessary.
It helps the body in fighting foreign invaders and also has a role to repair damage.
Without the swelling, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over the body and kill you.
Although acute, the short-term inflammation is beneficial but when it becomes chronic and inappropriately attacks the body’s own tissues it can turn into a major problem.
Scientists now believe that chronic, a major role is played by low level inflammation in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes diseases as heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions
Therefore, anything that can help in fighting chronic inflammation is of great importance in preventing and even treating these diseases.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Factually, it’s so strong that it matches the effectiveness of some drugs which are inflammatory, without the side effects
It blocks NF-kB which is a molecule that travels into the nuclei of the cells and turns on genes relating to inflammation. NF-kB can play a major role in many chronic diseases
Without getting into the more details as the inflammation is extremely complicated, the essential takeaway is that curcumin is a substance which is bioactive and that fights inflammation at the molecular level
- Turmeric Dramatically Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body
One of the mechanisms to be believed behind aging and many diseases is the oxidative damage which involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons.
Fatty acids, proteins or DNA are free radicals which tend to react with vital organic substances
The main reason antioxidants have an advantage is that they protect the body from free radicals.
Because of its chemical structure curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals
Additionally, curcumin boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes
In that way, curcumin delivers a one-two punch against free radicals and blocking them directly, then stimulating the body’s own antioxidant defenses.
- Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, correlated to Improved Brain Function and a Lowering Risk of Brain Diseases
Previously it was believed that neurons weren’t able to divide and multiply after early childhood.
However, this is happening after it’s now known
For forming new connections neurons have the capability, but in certain areas of the brain they can also multiply and increase in number.
For this process one of the main drivers is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a form of growth hormone that functions in the brain
Many common brain disorders have been connected to reduced levels of this hormone, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, curcumin can help in increasing brain levels of BDNF
By doing this, it may be beneficial that in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related reduction in brain function.
It may also help in improving the memory and making you smarter, which seems logical given its effects on BDNF levels. However, controlled researches in people to confirm this are still needed
- Curcumin Should Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
The number one cause of death in the world is heart disease
Researchers have studied it for many years and decades and learned a lot about its happening
Not surprisingly, heart disease is incredibly complex and various things contribute to it.
Curcumin may help in reversing many steps in the process of heart disease.
Perhaps the main advantage of curcumin when coming to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels.
It’s well known the major driver of heart disease is endothelial dysfunction and involves an inability of your endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and many other factors
Many studies have recommended that curcumin leads to improving the endothelial function. A study found that it can be effective as exercise while another study shows that it works as well as the drug called Atorvastatin.
Additionally, curcumin decreases inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which plays a role in heart disease also
One study randomly assigned around 120 people, who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, either a placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day, some days before and after the surgery.
The curcumin group had a 65% reduced risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital
- Turmeric Can Help Prevent and Even treat Cancer
Cancer is a terrible disease, classified by uncontrolled cell growth.
There are many various forms of cancer, which still have several similar things. By using curcumin supplements some of the forms may appear to be effected
Curcumin has been researched as a beneficial herb in treatment of cancer and been found to affect the growth cancer, development and spread at the molecular
Curcumin can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer) as shown in some studies
Multiple studies have indicated that curcumin can decrease the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in animals testing
But it is yet to be studied that whether high-dose curcumin which is preferably with an absorption enhancer like piperinecan help treat cancer in humans
However, there is proof that it may help in preventing cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system such as colorectal cancer.
In a 30-day study in around 40 men with lesions in the colon that could sometimes turn cancerous, 4 grams of curcumin per day decreased the number of lesions by 40%
Maybe curcumin will be used along with traditional cancer treatment some day. It’s too early to be sure for this, but it looks promising and is being intensively studied.
- Curcumin Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s disease
The most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia is the Alzheimer’s disease
No better treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet unfortunately
Therefore, preventing the disease from occurring in the first place is of primary importance.
There may be good news in this perspective because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Inflammation and oxidative damage are known to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and curcumin has positive effects on both
Additionally, an important feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles which is called amyloid plaques. Studies have shown that curcumin can help in clearing these plaques
Whether or not curcumin can really slow down or even alter the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people is not known currently and needs to be studied properly.
- Arthritis Patients Respond Very Well to Curcumin Supplements
In western countries, Arthritis is a common problem
There are various different types, most of which are involving inflammation in the joints.
Given that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory compound, it makes sense that it can be a help with arthritis.
Several researches have shown this to be true.
In a study in people having rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective compared to an anti-inflammatory drug
Many other studies have looked at the effects of curcumin on arthritis and have noted improvements in several symptoms
- Curcumin Has Incredible Benefits Against Depression
Curcumin has shown promising results in treating depression.
In a controlled trial, people with depression were randomized into groups of three
One group took Prozac, another group one gram of curcumin and the third group took both Prozac and curcumin.
After a period of 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were same as that to Prozac. The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best
Curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant according to this study
Depression is also connected to decreased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory.
Curcumin boosts levels of BDNF, potentially reversing some of these changes
Curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine is present with some evidence
- Delay Aging and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases
Curcumin would have obvious benefits for longevity as it really helps in preventing heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
For this reason, curcumin has become very well known as an anti-aging supplement
But keeping in mind that oxidation and inflammation are believed to play a role in aging, curcumin may have effects that go way beyond just preventing disease
The Bottom Line
Turmeric with its most active compound curcumin have many health benefits which are proven scientifically, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also helps in improving depression symptoms and arthritis.
It’s suggested to find a product with BioPerine which is the trademarked name for piperine, and is the substance that enhances curcumin absorption by 2,000%.
Most of the curcumin just passes through the digestive tract without this substance