Turmeric contains biologically active compounds with powerful medicinal properties
Why turmeric and curcumin are good for your health
Turmeric is the spice that makes curry yellow. It has been used as a spice and medicinal plant in India for thousands of years. Recently, science has begun to support what Indians have known for a long time-it does indeed contain compounds with medicinal properties. These compounds are called curcumin, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient of turmeric. It has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not very high. Approximately 3% by weight. Most studies on this herb use turmeric extract, which itself mainly contains curcumin, and the daily dose usually exceeds 1 gram. It is difficult to achieve these levels just by using turmeric spice in food. Therefore, if you want to experience the full effect, you need to take a supplement that contains a lot of curcumin.
Unfortunately, curcumin is difficult to absorb into the blood. It helps to eat with black pepper, which contains piperine, which is a natural substance that can increase the absorption of curcumin by 2,000% (3 trusted sources). The best curcumin supplements contain piperine, which can greatly increase its effectiveness. Curcumin is also fat-soluble, so taking it with a fatty meal may be a good idea.
Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound
Inflammation is very important. It can help your body resist foreign invaders and can also play a role in repairing damage. If there is no inflammation, pathogens (such as bacteria) can easily take over your body and kill you. Although acute short-term inflammation is beneficial, it can become a major problem when it becomes chronic and inappropriately attacks the body's own tissues. Scientists now believe that chronic low-level inflammation plays an important role in almost all chronic Western diseases. These include heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer's disease and various degenerative diseases. Therefore, any substance that helps fight chronic inflammation is potentially important for the prevention and even treatment of these diseases. Curcumin has a strong anti-inflammatory effect. In fact, it is so powerful that it matches the efficacy of certain anti-inflammatory drugs without side effects.
It blocks NF-kB, which enters the nucleus and turns on genes related to inflammation. NF-kB is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases. Without going into depth (inflammation is extremely complicated), the key point is that curcumin is a biologically active substance that can fight inflammation at the molecular level.
Turmeric greatly increases the body's antioxidant capacity
Oxidative damage is considered to be one of the mechanisms of aging and many diseases. It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals easily react with important organic substances (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 an effective antioxidant, due to its chemical structure can neutralize free radicals. In addition, curcumin can enhance the body's own antioxidant enzyme activity. In this way, curcumin can fight free radicals once or twice. It can directly stop them, and then stimulate the body's own antioxidant defense capabilities.
Curcumin can promote brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is related to improving brain function and reducing the risk of encephalopathy
Previously, it was thought that neurons could not divide and reproduce in early childhood. However, it is now known that this will happen. Neurons can form 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 neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a growth hormone that works in the brain. Many common brain diseases are related to reduced levels of this hormone, including depression and Alzheimer's disease. Interestingly, curcumin can increase the level of BDNF in the brain. By doing so, it can effectively delay or even reverse many brain diseases and age-related decline in brain function. It can also improve memory and make you smarter, which seems logical considering its impact on BDNF levels. However, a controlled study in the population is needed to confirm this.
Curcumin should reduce the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world. Researchers have been studying for decades and have learned many reasons from it. Not surprisingly, heart disease is incredibly complicated, and all kinds of things contribute to heart disease. Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the process of heart disease. The main benefit of curcumin in the treatment of heart disease may be to improve the function of the vascular endothelium. As we all know, endothelial dysfunction is the main driving factor of heart disease, involving your endothelium's inability to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors. Several studies have shown that curcumin can improve endothelial function. One study found that it was as effective as exercise, while another study showed that it was as effective as the drug atorvastatin. In addition, curcumin can reduce inflammation and oxidation (as described above), which can also play a role in heart disease. A study randomly assigned 121 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery, and they took a placebo or 4 grams of curcumin a few days before and after the operation. The curcumin group had a 65% reduction in the risk of heart attack in the hospital.
Turmeric can help prevent (or even treat) cancer
Cancer is a terrible disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. There are many different forms of cancer, but they still have a lot in common. Some of them seem to be affected by curcumin supplements. Curcumin has been studied as a beneficial herb for the treatment of cancer and has been found to affect the growth, development and spread of cancer at the molecular level. Studies have shown that it can promote the death of cancer cells and reduce angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels in the tumor) and metastasis (the spread of cancer). A number of studies have shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancer cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in test animals. Whether high-dose curcumin (preferably an absorption enhancer like piperine) can help treat human cancer remains to be properly studied. However, there is evidence that it can prevent cancer from the beginning, especially cancers of the digestive system like colorectal cancer. In a 30-day study of 44 men whose colon lesions sometimes turned into cancer, 4 grams of curcumin per day reduced the number of lesions by 40%. Maybe curcumin will be used for one day with conventional cancer treatment. It is too early to say, but it looks promising and is being studied in depth.
Curcumin may help prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and the main cause of dementia. Unfortunately, there is no good treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, the most important thing is to prevent it from happening.
Since curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, there may be good news. It is well known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer's disease, and curcumin has beneficial effects on both. In addition, the main feature of Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of protein tangles called amyloid plaques. Studies have shown that curcumin can help clear these plaques. Whether curcumin can really slow down or even reverse the progression of human Alzheimer's disease is currently unclear, and appropriate research is needed.
Arthritis patients respond very well to curcumin supplements
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are several different types, most of which involve inflammation of the joints. Given that curcumin is an effective anti-inflammatory compound, it makes sense that it can help treat arthritis. Multiple studies have shown that this is correct. In a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs. Many other studies have also studied the effects of curcumin on arthritis and pointed out that various symptoms have improved.
Research shows that curcumin has antidepressant effects
Curcumin has shown promise in treating depression. In a controlled trial, 60 patients with depression were randomly divided into three groups. One group took Prozac, the other took one gram of curcumin, and the third group took both Prozac and curcumin. After 6 weeks, curcumin caused similar improvements to Prozac. The group taking Prozac and curcumin at the same time performed best. According to this small study, curcumin is as effective as antidepressants. Depression is also associated with decreased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and atrophy of the hippocampus, a brain area that plays a role in learning and memory. Curcumin can increase BDNF levels and may reverse some of these changes. There is also some evidence that curcumin can enhance the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Curcumin may help delay aging and fight age-related chronic diseases
If curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease, it will have obvious benefits for prolonging life. Therefore, curcumin has been very popular as an anti-aging supplement. However, given that oxidation and inflammation are thought to cause aging, curcumin's role goes far beyond preventing disease.
Turmeric, especially its most active curcumin, has many scientifically proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. It is an effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis. It is recommended to find products containing BioPerine (the brand name of piperine), which can increase the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. Without this substance, most curcumin would only pass through your digestive tract.