Turmeric is a popular spice that comes from the turmeric plant, Curcuma longa. It adds a warm flavor and a yellow color to Asian dishes such as curry. But turmeric is not only good for adding a delicious flavor to dishes; it also has many surprising health benefits. Turmeric has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, and its usefulness has now been confirmed by scientific studies. So what exactly is hidden within the turmeric plant that makes it beneficial for us?
Turmeric is a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant which belongs to the ginger family. It is so useful for food and medicine thanks to its rhizomes, underground stems that are modified for storage. The rhizomes of turmeric resemble ginger, its close relative, and are used in a similar way. After the rhizomes are harvested, they are usually dried and ground into a bright yellow to orange powder.
The medicinal properties of turmeric rhizomes are due to compounds called circuminoids, the most important of which is circumin. These compounds are responsible for the bright yellow color of turmeric as well as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other amazing properties. Read on to learn about the beneficial properties of turmeric in more detail.
Reduced inflammation and oxidative damage.
Inflammation is a process by which the body releases chemicals to fight off something harmful, such as infections and toxins. In low levels, inflammation is necessary to maintain health. However, inflammation becomes a problem when it turns chronic, lingering after the threat is gone. Chronic inflammation is a widespread, devastating health problem in the modern world. It is believed to be involved in some of the most common chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
Circumin has been found to fight chronic inflammation on a molecular level. It does this by preventing inflammation-activating genes from being turned on. Studies have shown that circumin is as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects. One study found that circumin was even more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs in treating rheumatoid arthritis, a condition involving inflammation of the joints.
A second way that circumin can protect your body is by reducing oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is a mechanism which is involved in aging and disease. Highly reactive molecules called free radicals react with organic molecules in the body, causing them to break down. Circumin neutralizes free radicals through a chemical reaction, protecting the body against their harmful effects.
Not only does circumin act as an antioxidant itself, but it also stimulates your body’s own antioxidants. You might say that circumin is an ideal partner in your body’s fight against free radicals. As a result of all this antioxidant activity, circumin may even help delay aging and prevent age-related diseases.
Enhanced brain health.
One of the most striking properties of circumin is its potential to enhance brain health. Circumin acts in the brain by increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF), a hormone which drives the growth of new neurons in the brain. BDNF is vital to brain health, and decreased levels of BDNF are linked to common brain diseases including depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
By increasing BDNF, circumin may help to prevent or treat these devastating brain conditions. Besides increasing BDNF, circumin also positively impacts several other factors involved in Alzheimer’s disease. As mentioned earlier, circumin decreases inflammation and oxidative damage, both of which impact brain health. Circumin also clears a buildup of proteins called amyloid plaques which are a key feature of the disease. However, the actual effect of circumin on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in patients remains to be studied.
Depression is the second brain condition which may be alleviated by circumin. In one study, circumin supplements were found to be as effective in treating depression as the anti-depressant Prozac. The best results in the study were obtained by combining both circumin and Prozac, suggesting that circumin may be best used as a complement to traditional treatment methods. As with Alzheimer’s, circumin is thought to help depression by increasing BDNF levels. It may also increase levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are thought to be decreased in patients with depression.
Prevention of chronic disease.
Circumin has the potential to protect against some of the deadliest chronic diseases which plague so many of us. For example, circumin can help prevent heart disea
se, the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease involves malfunctioning of the lining of blood vessels, called the epithelium. As a result, important factors such as blood pressure and blood clotting cannot be regulated properly.
Several studies have shown that circumin is highly effective in improving epithelial function. One study found circumin to be as beneficial as exercise, and another study found it to be as effective as the drug Avorvastatin. Finally, in a study of people undergoing coronary bypass surgery, those who were given circumin had a 65% reduced risk of heart attack in the hospital compared to the placebo group.
Circumin may also have the potential to treat cancer, the second leading cause of death in the United States. Laboratory studies have shown that circ
umin inhibits growth and prevents the spread of cancer cells on a molecular level. Circumin also has been shown to limit tumor growth in animals, but its cancer-fighting properties have not yet been studied in humans.
Circumin, the spice of a long and healthy life.
Turmeric is a spice that has been used in cooking and medicine for centuries, and its beneficial properties are still being discovered through scientific studies. It owes its anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant activities, and other characteristics to the substance circumin. Circumin has proven positive effects in many areas of health, including joint, brain, and heart health.
Circumin has no serious side effects, although some people experience mild side effects at high doses. Overall, turmeric circumin has many health benefits, especially for older adults. It can help you to age better and stave off a range of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and heart disease.
Although turmeric adds a delicious flavor to dishes, you are not likely to gain the full benefits just by using it as a spice. This is because the circumin content of turmeric is only about 3% by weight. Most studies on the benefits of turmeric used concentrated circumin, with dosages often over 1 gram per day.
Considering this, it is best to take a turmeric supplement with concentrated circumin. The most effective turmeric supplements also contain piperine, a substance found in black pepper which enhances absorption of circumin in the bloodstream.
This Turmeric Circumin supplement from Nature’s Nutrition is one of the most potent turmeric supplements on the market. It contains 1950 mg of circumin enhanced with 15 mg of bioperene, a branded version of piperine, in a vegetarian capsule.
The health benefits of turmeric circumin are enormous. As always, you will obtain the greatest benefits if you combine these supplements with a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you already practice healthy habits but have problems with inflammation or just want to be more proactive about maintaining your health, try some turmeric circumin. You might be surprised by how much better you feel!