By Nancy Buthman
Tumeric is a spice that belongs to the ginger family. It is native to SE Asia and has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice enhancing the flavor of many foods. It has also been used for many different health reasons especially for problems with digestion, skin, and joints.
Tumeric has been known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. The component of turmeric which delivers these important benefits is a curcuminoid called curcumin. Tumeric root powder contains only 2-4% of curcumin. Because of this, in order to get the full effect, you need to take a supplement. You really cannot consume enough turmeric powder to get the full benefit.
Scientists now believe that chronic low levels of inflammation play a major role in many health conditions. Also, anti-oxidants protect the health of your cells and slow down cellular aging.
So, what does the curcumin do. There have been many claims such as:
Anti-aging supplement – anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties with multiple claims.
Arthritis -joint inflammation, helps joint pain and mobility.
Skin care products – many benefits claimed including anti-aging and acne.
Heart disease – lowers risk. Several studies suggest curcumin leads to healthier endothelial function. This is the lining of blood vessels and its dysfunction is a major cause of heart disease.
Boosts thought processes and memory and clears brain fog. Increases levels of BDNF, a growth hormone. Low levels of this hormone are present in many degenerative processes in the brain.
Alzheimers – possibly slow its progress
Decreased risk of cancer – In animals, in one study it stopped the growth of tumor cells.
Digestion -Crohns, IBS and ulcerative colitis are being studied.
Anti-oxident effects may stop your liver from being damaged by toxins.
These are some of the most prevalent claims. Science has started to study many of these. There is, definitely, more research supporting anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Research results on curcumin are mixed so far
Most research has been done on high quality, 1,000 mg/day supplements. These have been shown to be safe for most people. You should avoid them if you are on blood thinners.