Turmeric, and its active ingredient curcumin, may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, and other benefits.
The spice known as turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.
Many high-quality studies show that turmeric has major benefits for your body and brain. Many of these benefits come from its main active ingredient, curcumin.
Read on to learn what the science says about turmeric and curcumin as well as their benefits.
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color.
It has been used in India for thousands of years as both a spice and medicinal herb. Recently,
These compounds are called curcuminoids. The most important one is curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
Here are the top 10 evidence-based health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.
However, the curcumin content of turmeric isn’t that high. It’s around
It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using turmeric as a spice in your foods.
That’s why some people choose to use supplements.
However, curcumin is poorly absorbed into your bloodstream. In order to experience the full effects of curcumin, its
In fact, the best curcumin supplements contain piperine, and this makes them substantially more effective.
Curcumin is also fat soluble, which means it breaks down and dissolves in fat or oil. That’s why it may be a good idea to take curcumin supplements with a meal that’s high in fat.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most studies use turmeric extracts that are standardized to include large amounts of curcumin.
Inflammation is incredibly important. It helps fight foreign invaders and has a role in repairing damage in your body.
Although acute, short-term inflammation is beneficial, it can be a concern if it becomes chronic and attacks your body’s own tissues.
Scientists now believe that chronic low-level inflammation can play a role in some
- heart disease
- metabolic syndrome
- Alzheimer’s disease
- various degenerative conditions
That’s why anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is potentially important in preventing and helping treat these conditions.
While the topic of inflammation is multilayered and there’s likely no simple answer, the key takeaway regarding curcumin is that it is a bioactive substance that can fight inflammation. However,
Chronic inflammation contributes to some common health conditions. Curcumin can suppress many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation, but its bioavailability needs to be enhanced.
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals tend to 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 a potent antioxidant that can
While curcumin has antioxidant effects, more studies are needed to confirm these benefits.
Before scientists had a better understanding of neurons, it was believed that they weren’t able to divide and multiply after early childhood. However, they now know that isn’t the case.
Neurons are capable of forming new connections, and in certain areas of the brain they can multiply and increase in number.
One of the main drivers of this process is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This is a gene that’s involved in making a protein responsible for promoting the life of neurons.
The BDNF protein plays a role in memory and learning, and it can be found in areas of the brain responsible for eating, drinking, and body weight.
Many common brain disorders have been linked to
Interestingly, animal studies have found that curcumin may 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. Still, since
It may also help improve memory and attention, which seems logical given its effects on BDNF levels. However, more studies are needed to confirm this.
Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and may help fight various degenerative processes in your brain.
Heart disease is the
Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the
The endothelial dysfunction is a
In addition, curcumin can help reduce inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which can play a role in heart disease.
In one study of 121 people undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, researchers assigned them either a placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day a few days before and after the surgery.
The curcumin group had a
Curcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. Plus, it’s an anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
Cancer is a disease, characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. There are many different forms of cancer that appear to be affected by curcumin supplements.
Curcumin has been studied as a beneficial herb in
Studies have shown that it can:
- contribute to the death of cancerous cells
- reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors)
- reduce metastasis (spread of cancer)
Whether high-dose curcumin — preferably with an absorption enhancer like piperine — can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be studied properly.
Curcumin leads to several changes on the molecular level that may help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to up
While treatment exits for some of its symptoms, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s yet. That’s why preventing it from occurring in the first place is so important.
There may be good news on the horizon because curcumin has been shown to cross the
It’s known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and curcumin has
In addition, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called amyloid plaques.
Whether curcumin can slow or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people is currently unknown and needs to be studied.
Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease.
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are several different types of arthritis, most of which involve inflammation in the joints.
Given that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory compound, it makes sense that it may help with arthritis. In fact, several studies show that there is an association.
Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is, in some cases, more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression.
After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements similar to those of 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 BDNF and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory. Curcumin can help boost BDNF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes.
A study in 60 people with depression showed that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in alleviating symptoms of the condition.
If curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, it may have benefits for longevity as well.
This suggests that curcumin may have potential as an
Given that oxidation and inflammation are believed to play
Due to its many positive health effects, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, curcumin may aid longevity.
Turmeric — and especially its most active compound, curcumin — have many scientifically proven health benefits, such as the potential to improve heart health and prevent against Alzheimer’s and cancer.
It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.
While these benefits are possible, they are limited at this time because of curcumin’s scarce bioavailability, and more research is needed.