Turmeric is the spice that gives a curry its’ yellow colour. It is a plant in the ginger family and as with ginger it is the root of the plant that is used. Indians have known for thousands of years that turmeric curcumin has health benefits and only now is that knowledge spreading to the West. Turmeric contains compounds known as curcuminoids, and the most important of these is curcumin. This has been proven to have many health benefits, but unfortunately the amount of curcumin in turmeric is not very high – it is only about 3% of the plant root by weight.
This means that in order to ingest meaningful amounts of curcumin into the body you need to take an extract that contains a large amount of curcumin, such as IshaPur curcumin.
It is also noteworthy that curcumin by itself is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream, so it helps to combine it with black pepper which contains piperine – also known as bioprene – which increases the absorption rate by 2000%. IshaPur curcumin contains bioprene for that purpose. So what is curcumin good for? Studies and clinical trials have shown that curcumin has a wide range of beneficial effects.
Curcumin Fights Inflammation
It is now widely held that inflammation is a major player in the majority of diseases in the West including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, arthritis, and many others. It has been shown that curcumin is extremely anti-inflammatory to the extent that it is as powerful as some prescription drugs, but without the side effects. It works by blocking a molecule that gets into the nuclei of cells and promotes inflammation, and if the molecule is prevented from doing that the inflammation will be reduced.
Curcumin Helps To Reduce Arthritis
Arthritis comes in several different forms and is extremely widespread in the West. In most cases it is due to some form of inflammation in the joints and since curcumin is proven to be anti-inflammatory it would seem logical that it could help to reduce arthritis. One study that was reported on in November 2012 was on a group of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and proved that curcumin out-performed a well-known anti-inflammatory drug.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis were divided into three groups and given diclofenac sodium, curcumin, or a combination of the two. All of the patients showed improvement, but the group taking curcumin alone achieved the highest level of improvement. Moreover, the group taking the curcumin showed no side effects.
Curcumin Can Help To Fight Free Radicals
Free radicals in the body can lead to cell injury and death and are thought to be behind many diseases including diabetes, stroke, cancer, and some of the symptoms of aging.
Antioxidants in the body help to fight free radicals, and curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that can help. Not only does curcumin directly attack free radicals, but it also gives the body’s own antioxidant enzymes a boost which makes it even more powerful.
Curcumin May Also Help To Treat Depression
In one study of people with depression they were divided into three groups. One group took Prozac for six weeks, the second took curcumin, and the third took both Prozac and curcumin. The group that took both came out best, but the curcumin group led to improvements that were similar to that of the Prozac group. This study provided the first clinical evidence that curcumin can be used as an effective and safe treatment for patients with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) without concurrent suicidal or other psychotic disorders.
Curcumin May Help In The Treatment Of Eye Disease
Trials have shown that curcumin may help in the treatment of certain eye diseases. A report of March 2014 stated that it has been shown that curcumin has a beneficial effect on glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome, diabetic retinopathy, and chronic anterior uveitis.
Curcumin May Help In The Treatment Of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease which is seemingly becoming more widespread and is a major cause of dementia. So far, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but curcumin may be able to help. We do know that inflammation and free radicals have a part in Alzheimer’s, and we also know that curcumin can have an effect on both of these.
However, also involved in the progress of Alzheimer’s are proteins known as Amyloid plaques. Curcumin has been shown to help clear Amyloid plaques, but further studies need to be carried out to demonstrate whether curcumin can help to prevent, or at least slow the progress, of Alzheimer’s.
Some common forms of brain disorder, including Alzheimer’s and depression, have been shown to be the result of a growth hormone in the brain known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).
In one study of people with depression they were divided into three groups. One group took Prozac for six weeks, the second took curcumin, and the third took both Prozac and curcumin. The group that took both came out best, but the curcumin group had led to improvements that were similar to that of the Prozac group.
It has been shown that curcumin can play a part in increasing the amount of BDNF in the brain. Thus curcumin may not only be helpful in slowing or even preventing some brain diseases, but it may be shown to reverse them altogether. There is a possibility that it could even improve memory, but further trials will need to be carried out.
Curcumin May Reduce The Chance Of Heart Disease
Heart disease is quite simply the major cause of death throughout the world, and it is possible that curcumin may have a beneficial effect on some of the processes that are involved in heart disease. One major cause of heart disease is blood pressure which is a result of a fault in the lining of the blood vessels known as the endothelium. Studies have been carried out which show that the endothelium function may be improved by the use of curcumin. Other factors involved in heart disease include inflammation and oxidation caused by free radicals and we know that curcumin has a beneficial effect on both of these.
One study involved a trial on three groups of postmenopausal women. One group was the control group, the second took curcumin for eight weeks, while the third group undertook moderate aerobic exercise training. At the end of the eight weeks both the curcumin group and the exercise group showed improvements in the function of the endothelium in roughly equal amounts.
Curcumin May Assist In Preventing Cancer
Several studies have been undertaken which show that curcumin can affect the growth and spread of cancers and cause the death of cancerous cells. It has been proven in the laboratory to reduce the growth of cancerous cells and tumours in rats and mice.
In particular, one study of men with lesions in the colon that can become cancerous found that 4gm of curcumin a day for 30 days reduced the lesions by about 40%. Whether curcumin can help to treat cancer in humans is another matter, and further studies are under way. However, it has been shown that it could help to prevent cancers from occurring to begin with.
Turmeric is the spice that gives a curry its’ yellow colour. It is a plant in the ginger family and as with ginger it is the root of the plant that is used. Indians have known for thousands of years that turmeric curcumin has health benefits and only now is that knowledge spreading to the West.