Have you heard of all of the amazing ways that curcumin - which is from turmeric - can positively help our health? Curcumin has so far proved to be very safe, inexpensive and effective to use for a wide range of health conditions, and also as a means of preventing disease too. Turmeric has thousands of years of traditional use, and since the active component curcumin was discovered over 100 years ago research has exploded to unlock the secrets of this wonderful plant extract. Read on and get excited about this powerful substance, also known as the “Golden Spice”.
1. It is a Powerful Anti-inflammatory
The most powerful ability of curcumin is its ability to influence and manage inflammation. Curcumin can do this along multiple pathways throughout the body, all at the same time! It is able to inhibit powerful enzymes that are linked to or cause inflammation. There are numerous other ways curcumin dampens down inflammation. And did you know that inflammation is at the root of all Western diseases? An excessive amount of continued inflammation can lead to illnesses such as heart disease, allergies, asthma, and diabetes. Therefore, being able to support inflammation is one of the best ways we can keep ourselves healthy – and we have a safe and effective solution in curcumin - one of Nature’s gifts.
2. It is a Potent Antioxidant
In our daily world we are bombarded by toxins coming from many sources – pollution, pesticides, chemicals from cleaning and body products, medications and much more. These toxins produce free radicals within the body which cause cellular damage. Antioxidants work by countering these free radicals, and therefore help to protect the body from damage. Studies have shown that the curcuminoids of turmeric have antioxidant properties. It has also been discovered that curcumin can increase the body’s production of glutathione, which is also known as the “master antioxidant” - it is a major protector, detoxifier and also a modulator (balancer) of the immune system.
3. Hyperproliferative Diseases
Researchers have found that curcumin has the ability to kill a variety of tumour cell types, either inducing cell apoptosis (cell death) or inhibiting the proliferation (spread) of cells.
4. Immune Support
Curcumin has been shown to be able to help balance the immune system in a powerful way. This has been proven in many studies over the last 20 years. It can modulate and activate many immune cells. Curcumin can also enhance antibody responses too, which helps us to fight infection swiftly. And there are all the other ways that curcumin helps the body by protecting against free radical damage, by decreasing inflammation, by raising glutathione levels within cells, and by being naturally antimicrobial – all of these aspects also help to balance and strengthen the immune system. When the immune system is balanced, we are healthier, suffer less from potential allergies and autoimmune issues, and we are more able to defend ourselves in the face of potential infection.
5. Cognitive function & Alzheimer’s Disease
Cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are known to be some of the most worrying outcomes the aging population may face. In Alzheimer’s Disease, deposits known as amyloid plaques accumulate in the brain; with inflammation and oxidative damage as key hallmarks of the disease. Numerous studies have shown positive results using curcumin to reduce this type of damage in the brain. Excitingly curcumin may under certain conditions be able to cross the blood-brain barrier and may help to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage within the brain. Much research is currently underway to work out the best way to get optimal amounts of curcumin into the brain.
6. Anti-Microbial Activity
Did you know that curcumin has been shown in many studies to be antimicrobial? Traditionally turmeric has been used as an antimicrobial agent as well as an insect repellent. It has been shown to be effective against many bacteria, viruses, fungi and even some parasites. We are unfortunately entering the times of antibiotic and drug resistance, and we desperately need other options to help deal with bacterial infections. Viruses are difficult to treat with pharmaceutical agents, manyof which have powerful side-effects. Scientists are looking to plant phytochemicals (plant chemicals) such as curcumin for possible solutions. Plants naturally produce these powerful phytochemicals in order to protect themselves against infection and disease. There is much excitement as scientists research the antimicrobial activity of both turmeric and its powerful active constituent curcumin.
7. Supports Liver & Gall Bladder Function & Digestion
In herbal medicine turmeric (and therefore curcumin) is known traditionally to support and facilitate digestion, especially the liver and gallbladder and their functions. It keeps the bile flowing, preventing potential stagnation within the gallbladder. This is critical for the optimum digestion of fats. By supporting liver function, this may also help prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver. The liver is the “garbage dump” of the body and performs an immense job continuously dealing with all of the toxins that need to be processed for removal. It is of prime importance that the liver functions well and does not get over-burdened. Consuming curcumin is such a great way to help both your liver and your digestion, though if you have gall stones or an obstructed bile duct you should consult a doctor before taking large amounts of curcumin.
8. Osteo Arthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis
Curcumin has a long history in the treatment of all types of arthritis, in the Western world, but also going back through time in Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many studies have shown the ability of curcumin to reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness, in both Rheumatoid Arthritis and osteoarthritis. Again we come back to the ability of curcumin to decrease inflammation across multiple pathways and multiple target areas. It helps to protect and maintain the health of joints and bones, and their flexibility. And it positively balances the immune system, which is particularly important for those with immune-related arthritic conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
9. Mood Disorders & Depression
A compelling amount of research is building to support the use of curcumin in stress and mood disorders. Some of the mechanisms of how curcumin may work in the brain, seem to be similar biologically to how many anti-depressants work. Curcumin has also been shown to be neuroprotective, meaning that it helps to protect the nerves and therefore the brain.
10. Prevention of Chronic Disease through all of the above!
What are the best things that you can do, that may help you to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis from happening? There are MANY simple dietary and lifestyle factors that you can practice to reduce your own “toxic load”. And as previously emphasised, inflammation is thought to be at the root of all of these diseases. The immune system also needs to be balanced in order for us to be healthy. And at the core is our digestive system, and it must be functioning optimally for us to be digesting, absorbing and assimilating what we need to nourish us.
There are many positive ways that curcumin helps to influence the health of the body. All of the above facts combine to provide an insight into the truly amazing effect that curcumin has on the body, across all organ systems!
Curcumin is safe to take for most, but do get advice from your Healthcare Professional if you have gallstones or an obstructed bile duct, or are taking blood thinning medication, as curcumin may not be right for you.