Right, lets get this out of the way. Am I a Nutritionist or a Doctor? Definitely not. Can I make recommendations that you should consume this supplement without first understanding and acknowledging the benefits and potential symptoms for yourself first? Still no. Do I have some experience using this to treat my own Condition? Yes, I do. More on that later. Lets first take a deep dive into what this Mystical Spice is.
GIVE ME THE SPICE
Woah, hold on a bit. Don’t you want to know what it is first? Cool. Turmeric, is a flowering plant – Curcuma Longa – part of the Ginger Family. It’s native to India and Southeast Asia and it’s a traditional cooking ingredient for many dishes and even as a dye owing to it’s deep orange/rust colour.
The active compound in Turmeric is Curcumin – a fat soluble substance, completely natural that has numerous benefits. Curcumin has documented and studied evidence that it has anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties – which gives it the ability to treat and potentially even reverse many ailments common today.
I’M SOLD – WHAT DOES IT DO?
Yes, I know what you’re thinking – inflammation is a defensive process for the body – in the short term, acute inflammation is necessary for fighting foreign invaders and repairing damage in your body.
It can however become a concern when long term inflammation sets in as this has the potential to damage your bodies own tissues and even impair your immune system. Long term inflammation has been linked to many health conditions and diseases, a few of these including:
- Heart Disease
- Metabolic Syndrome – Insulin Resistance
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Several Degenerative Conditions (Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease – to name a few)
All of these diseases can be worsened and become progressively more aggressive and difficult to treat as inflammation worsens. High doses of Curcumin have been demonstrated to possess the ability to decrease this destructive inflammation – suppression of these molecules is possible with high doses and enhanced bioavailability. More on this later! One supporting study can be found HERE.
Oxidative damage is a fact of life and an inescapable damaging factor of many bodily processes – a process by which our aging speed and disease progress can be determined.
Free radicals course through your blood stream interacting with organic substances, changing their chemical composition and causing a break down in their ability to function.
Curcumin has the ability to counteract some of this damaging oxidation in your body owing to it’s ability to neutralize these very free radicals. Some studies have even demonstrated it’s ability to block these free radicals – confirmed in cellular and animal (I KNOW – I don’t like it either) studies – you can find one such study HERE.
This is a big one as Heart Disease is the Number One cause of Death in the World – according to the WHO. It’s been studied for Decades and is still misunderstood in many areas owing to it’s complexity and numerous contributing factors.
So it perhaps may be surprising to find out Curcumin has the ability to improve the endothelial lining of your blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of Heart Disease – simply put, your endothelium cannot regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and a handful of other factors.
One study concluded that it’s as effective as exercise for improving heart health, even in post menopausal women (STUDY). In another Study of 121 people, 65% of participants experienced a decreased risk of Heart attack while undergoing Bypass Surgery in hospital (STUDY).
Arthritis has become more and more common in Western Countries, several different types of which can cause inflammation in the joints of your body.
Owing to it’s potent anti inflammatory properties, it’s safe to assume that it would also help with Arthritis too. It has been demonstrated in one STUDY that Curcumin can be more effective than commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs. One other STUDY also concluded that Curcumin could be effective for treating Osteoarthritis, specifically.
Depression is a growing illness among many adults, estimated to affect 5% of Adults Worldwide, commonly leading to premature Death among all age groups.
In one STUDY, 60 participants were split into three groups with one taking Prozac (Fluoxetine), one being given Curcumin and the final group being given both. Results concluded that participants who took Curcumin fared equally as well as those who took Prozac. The final group who took both Prozac and Curcumin fared best. These results have demonstrated Curcumin’s efficacy as treatment for depression.
There is also some evidence that Curcumin can boost Serotonin and Dopamine – Study HERE.
Okay, so with all these studies aside, what is the bottom line? Evidence supports many of these claims with countless Studies, all demonstrating it’s powerful medicinal properties. BUT, you can’t just go out and buy Turmeric. Curcumin needs to be made bioavailable first and when consumed from Turmeric Powder, won’t be available in the quantities necessary to enjoy it’s benefits to the fullest.
Which is why it’s easier and far more effective to purchase an over the counter supplement. It doesn’t stop there however as Curcumin is fat soluble – which means it’s absorbability is enhanced when consumed with fatty and oily foods. HOLD UP – there’s more. Many OTC supplements come bundled with Black Pepper Extract which contains a substance known as Piperine – shown to boost the absorption of Curcumin by up to 2000%.
It makes sense therefore to purchase a Supplement with a strength of between 1400mg and 2000mg of Curcumin with added black pepper extract. Timing your supplement with the consumption of a fatty snack or meal will further boost it’s absorption so you can ensure you enjoy it’s full benefits.
This powerful plant has the potential to change many lives for the better but perhaps the willingness of Society to embrace traditional medicine has hindered it’s ability to hit the mainstream. For many, living with disease and illness has become life but it doesn’t have to be; regaining independence, well being and health in this day and age should be a lot simpler and perhaps may well be within reach for lots of folks.
Get out there people and see what Curcumin can do for you as this Blog has barely scratched the surface of it’s capabilities and real world uses. It’s sitting on the precipice of greatness and has the potential to make health a reality.
BONUS CASE & STUDIES
I couldn’t leave this one out as someone who has lived with Ulcerative Colitis for a decade now, I spent a while adjusting to my new life, medicating with Mesalazine and changing my diet to avoid the foods my doctor advised I do.
It was only recently someone suggested I look into Curcumin for it’s potential to manage inflammatory conditions that affects the Colon and causes gastrointestinal distress. You can find one study supporting it’s efficacy in treating UC and even Crohns HERE and HERE.
By managing Inflammation within the body and even Oxidative Stress, Curcumin has the potential to manage, reverse and even force UC, Crohns and other IBD’s into remission.
I can testify to this personally after swapping my medication, that still gave me intermittent problems and relapses, for Curcumin and enjoying a more managed and enjoyable period of my IBD. I have been allowed to enjoy foods I could not previously, symptoms are almost non existent and my general well being has improved drastically.
Full disclosure – my doctor did not prescribe or even suggest I cease my medication. It was a personal choice.