What is Curcumin Supplement?
Curcumin, also called diferuloylmethane, is a polyphenol derived from turmeric. It is the element in turmeric that is likely responsible for most of the medicinal benefits of turmeric. Turmeric has been used for over 4000 years in various cultures in Asia and India as a flavoring agent, a source of colorful dye, and as medicine for a wide range of maladies(Prasad & Aggarwal, 2011).
In the last 25 years, modern medicine has begun to appreciate the powers of turmeric as well, with over 3,000 publications about turmeric coming out in the last 25 years. Increasingly, our interest is in understanding the components of turmeric and how we can obtain greater medicinal benefits by isolating key elements, such as curcumin.
How Does Curcumin Work?
We don’t fully understand how turmeric, or its derivative curcumin, provides the extensive health benefits that they do. However, ongoing research using continuously advancing tools is shedding some light on just how curcumin works.
Curcumin has two primary properties which result in most of its beneficial effects for us: anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant. It can improve the markers of oxidative stress and increase the serum activities of various antioxidants (Hewlings & Kalman, 2017). Curcumin is an effective antioxidant because it has multiple ways of eliminating free radicals. Curcumin hunts out and attacks several different forms of free radicals itself, like reactive oxygen and several species of nitrogen.
Furthermore, Curcumin supplements can increase the activity of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase, both of which help in the neutralization of free radicals. Elimination of free radicals offers health benefits throughout the body, and aids in a variety of disease processes. Both sick and healthy people benefit from plenty of antioxidants in the body.
One of the most powerful curcumin benefits is its ability to reduce inflammation. This may be its most famous and advertised virtue. Curcumin is so effective and fast-acting on inflammation that it can even help in the management of inflammation and muscle soreness caused by exercise in athletes. It can also bring fast relief without the side effects of painkillers to people suffering from chronic pain from arthritis.
Since inflammation is an important process in all kinds of chronic illnesses including cardiovascular problems, neurodegenerative issues, and autoimmune disorders, curcumin can be useful at preventing and treating all of these diseases.
By taking a curcumin supplement throughout life, you may be able to prevent the development of inflammatory disease. By taking curcumin when disease symptoms develop, you can reduce the symptoms or even reverse the disease process, without risking harmful side-effects.
What Are the Medicinal Curcumin Benefits?
Curcumin has an incredible range of beneficial medicinal effects, affecting nearly every part of the human body. Here are a few of the top reasons that curcumin is taking the Natural Health World by storm.
Aid in Neurologic Diseases
Curcumin benefits reduced or eliminated symptoms in a range of neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease (Aggarwal & Harikumar, 2009). It can also aid in cases of cerebral injury or neurodegeneration associated with age.
Primarily, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties are responsible for aiding in neurologic disease, but its antioxidant qualities are also essential in fighting mental disease. Individuals suffering from acute neurologic issues can see a reduction in their symptoms within several weeks. People who are getting older can delay the symptoms of neurodegeneration or even stave them off.
Reduce Incidence of Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease
Curcumin supplement works to help the heart and prevent stroke in various ways. Curcumin can reverse oxidative damage, which is a contributing role in cardiovascular disease. It also reduces inflammation, which can lead to stroke.
Curcumin benefits the heart and protects it from injury, regulates heart rate and blood pressure, and reduces the probability of a serious heart attack occurring. Even in obese individuals who are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease or stroke, curcumin can reduce the prevalence of an event occurring and increase overall heart and vascular health. While curcumin is no substitute for weight loss, it can reduce the stress on the cardiovascular system while weight is lost.
Ready to Try Some?
For almost 35 years, we have known that a curcumin supplement can moderate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Inflammation plays an important role in the development of Type 2 Diabetes, so curcumin can be beneficial in this way, but curcumin may also have another important role to play in stopping the development of diabetes. Curcumin is able to suppress blood glucose levels while simultaneously increasing antioxidant status. We aren’t sure how it does this, but it seems clear that curcumin is hugely beneficial for anyone who has Diabetes or risk factors for developing the disease.
Allergies & Asthma
Allergies and Asthma are both inflammatory diseases, so it shouldn't be surprising that curcumin supplements can be beneficial for those suffering from this kind of respiratory distress. Curcumin has been shown capable of clearing constricted airways and increasing antioxidant levels to directly fight against the negative effects of allergies and asthma.
Besides reducing inflammation, curcumin may help by inhibiting the production of cytokines, which cause the allergic reaction. Taking curcumin regularly can help reduce prevent allergic reactions and asthma attacks, and taking it during respiratory distress may alleviate symptoms, although it cannot replace a respirator or emergency asthma medication.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The causes of inflammatory bowel disease aren’t well understood, but we do know that the condition is partially caused by oxidative stress as well as inflammation. Curcumin benefits for gastrointestinal issues include the ability to reduce inflammation and the resulting colitis.
Results are significant enough for curcumin to seem like a good option for treating inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Taking curcumin regularly, especially with a meal, can help your body digest more foods more easily. Taking curcumin during an episode may reduce symptoms.
Arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, is an extremely common autoimmune disease in America that causes pain and swelling as well as reducing mobility and quality of life. Curcumin supplement has been found to reduce inflammation and resulting pain in victims of arthritis. Taking curcumin regularly can improve mobility and quality of life in those suffering from arthritis, and those who take curcumin throughout life may be less likely to develop Arthritis.
Perhaps most interestingly, regular doses of curcumin benefit people who have no diagnosed health conditions and are considered healthy. When healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 60 we're given curcumin for 4 weeks, blood and saliva test revealed significantly lower triglyceride levels. There was an increase in nitrous oxide, and inflammation was decreased. There appeared to be a decrease in stress markers and an increase in the capacity of the body to scavenge free radicals. Finally, there was a decrease in beta amyloid plaque, which is a marker of brain aging.
How Can We Get the Medicinal Benefits of Curcumin?
Ingesting curcumin directly on its own or eating lots of turmeric will not result in the health benefits that you may be hoping for. This is because curcumin has poor bioavailability. This is due to the body's inability to absorb curcumin, its rapid metabolism in our systems, and its quick elimination from the body. Therefore, in order to get the health benefits of curcumin, it is necessary to combine it with other ingredients that can increase bioavailability.
Piperine, the major component in black pepper, has been found to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by two thousand percent when taken along with it. Unfortunately, this spicy extract may cause digestive upset in some people.
Other ways to increase the bioavailability of curcumin supplements include nanoparticles, liposomes, phospholipid complexes, and structural analogs. Meriva, for instance, is a patented complex using curcumin and a soy extract, which has much better bioavailability than curcumin alone.
Another great way to make curcumin more bioavailable is to bind it to a protein isolate, such as whey protein isolate. This is a great option for most people since whey is easy to digest and offers additional benefits in protein and fiber.
Are Curcumin Supplements Safe?
Curcumin is recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration. Even in very high doses, it doesn’t have a negative effect on most people. Some people have had instances of diarrhea, headache, or yellow stool at extremely high and prolonged doses. If you have any negative symptoms like these, reduce the dose immediately. Curcumin supplements can be found in capsules, tablets, ointments, drinks, and even soaps and cosmetics.
High Quality Curcumin to Buy
You want a curcumin supplement that is highly potent and effective. Curcumin benefits are greatest at very high doses, higher than what we could reasonably get from eating turmeric. The more bioavailable the curcumin, the less is needed in order to achieve desired results. Since few negative effects have been found from taking even high doses of curcumin, there seems to be no reason to stick to low doses.
Omega Health Foods offers potent, bioavailable curcumin supplement at a reasonable price. Only one to two capsules per day offer enough curcumin benefits to give you the health effects you are looking for.
Each capsule contains 500 mg of curcumin bound to whey protein. This enables the curcumin to be absorbed much faster, in as little as 20 minutes. People report feeling the effects of the curcumin within two hours. If you are taking curcumin for everyday health benefits, this might not matter much to you, but if you are taking curcumin to curb the pain of arthritis or bring a stop to indigestion from inflammatory bowel disease, fast-acting matters.
Prasad, S., & Aggarwal, B. (2011). Chapter 13: Turmeric, the Golden Spice From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
Hewlings, S. & Kalman, D. (2017). 2. Mechanisms of Action: 2.1. Antioxidant. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/#!po=13.2353
Aggarwal, B. & Harikumar, K. (2009) Potential Therapeutic Effects of Curcumin, the Anti-inflammatory Agent, Against Neurodegenerative, Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, Metabolic, Autoimmune and Neoplastic Diseases. Int J Biochem Cell Biology. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2637808/?report=reader