5 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

1. Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color.

It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.

Recently, science has started to back up what Indians have known for a long time — it really does contain compounds with 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 turmeric is not that high. It’s around 3%, by weight. Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods. Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, you need to take a supplement that contains significant amounts of curcumin.

Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000% (3). The best curcumin supplements contain piperine, substantially increasing their effectiveness. Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.

SUMMARY: Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most studies used turmeric extracts that are standardized to include large amounts of curcumin.

2. Turmeric Dramatically Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body

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 neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure In addition, curcumin boosts the activity of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes

In that way, curcumin delivers a one-two punch against free radicals. It blocks them directly, then stimulates your body’s own antioxidant defenses.

SUMMARY

Curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralizes free radicals on its own but also stimulates your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

3. Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

Back in the day, it was believed that neurons weren’t able to divide and multiply after early childhood.

However, it’s now known that this does happen.

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 neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain.

Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone, including 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.

It may also improve memory and make you smarter, which seems logical given its effects on BDNF levels. However, controlled studies in people are needed to confirm this.

SUMMARY

Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain.

 

4. Turmeric Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.

There are many different forms of cancer, which still have several things in common. Some of them appear to be affected by curcumin supplements.

Curcumin has been studied as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment and been found to affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level.

Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer).

Multiple studies indicate that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in test animals.

Whether high-dose curcumin (preferably with an absorption enhancer like piperine) can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be studied properly.

However, there is evidence that it may prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system like colorectal cancer.

In a 30-day study in 44 men with lesions in the colon that sometimes turn cancerous, 4 grams of curcumin per day reduced the number of lesions by 40%. Maybe curcumin will be used along with conventional cancer treatment one day. It’s too early to say for sure, but it looks promising and is being intensively studied.

SUMMARY

Curcumin leads to several changes on the molecular level that may help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer.

5. Curcumin May Help Delay Aging and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases

f curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, it 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 aging, curcumin may have effects that go way beyond just preventing disease.

SUMMARY

Due to its many positive health effects, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, curcumin may aid longevity.

Conclusion

Turmeric and especially its most active compound curcumin have many scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.

If you want to buy a turmeric/curcumin supplement, there is an excellent selection on Amazonwith thousands of great customer reviews. It’s recommended to find a product with BioPerine (the trademarked name for piperine), which is the substance that enhances curcumin absorption by 2,000%.

Without this substance, most of the curcumin just passes through your digestive tract.

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