The western world is only just waking up to the myriad health benefits associated with turmeric.
However, Indian Ayurvedic medicine has long understood that the powerful, yellow spice can be used to cure a variety of ailments.
In fact, turmeric powder might even help to boost your resistance to certain degenerative diseases.
In this article, we aim to elucidate the health benefits of turmeric, paying particular attention to scientific studies published in the last decade.
Uses and Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners for a range of health problems including:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease
But that’s by no means all that this wonderful, 4,000-year-old spice can help with.
In clinical trials conducted by the Department of Natural Science at Middlesex University, it was shown that turmeric supplements could work together with other health-boosting compounds, such as chokeberry, to induce cancer cell death and stop the spread of malignant cancer cells.
In research conducted by Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, it was also shown that curcumin may inhibit the formation of metastases in both prostate and breast cancers.
People who supplement their diets with turmeric powder also report benefiting from improved skin health, reduced joint pain and enhanced digestion.
There have been many detailed reports compiled on curcumin over the years. One – published in 2013 – assessed data from clinical trials conducted in the past half-century, and concluded by saying that curcumin shows “therapeutic potential against a number of human diseases.”
These include, but are not limited to, cancer, cardiovascular disease, ulcerative proctitis, Crohn’s disease, arthritis and diabetes.
Therapeutic Turmeric: What Does Recent Research Say?
Much has been made of that over-arching 2013 paper, and certainly there is merit in combing through it to learn more about turmeric and its therapeutic potential.
However, you may be wondering what recent trials say about turmeric. These findings were uncovered within the last 12 months.
• A study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences found that curcumin-based supplements could be used to help maintain bone density.
• A combination of curcumin and turmeric oils could prove effective against the inflammatory burden of colitis, according to a study in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
• Turmeric powder may improve GI function and physiology responses during exercise.
• Supplementation with curcuminoids (plus piperine from black pepper) could contribute to a reduced risk of cardiovascular events in dyslipidemic patients with type-2 diabetes.
• BMI, metabolic status and liver biomarkers in individuals with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) could be improved thanks to curcumin supplements.
• Research carried out by University College London and Imperial College London suggest that curcumin eye drops could effectively treat the early signs of glaucoma.
• Obese male subjects who used a fenugreek fibre and curcumin supplement demonstrated improved metabolic markers and cholesterol concentrations, compared to a placebo.
It’s safe to say these studies are very much the tip of the iceberg. But how exactly are turmeric supplements able to stimulate such an anti-inflammatory response?
What Makes Turmeric So Powerful?
The active ingredient in turmeric – and the staple constituent of most good-quality turmeric supplements – is a phytochemical called curcumin.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that actively inhibits the development of inflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase-2 and 5-lipooxygenase, and blocks inflammatory pathways, which prevents the launch of the proteins that trigger swelling.
Consuming curcumin helps to reduce pain, redness and swelling, relieves the symptoms of osteoarthritis, and can increase your resistance to certain inflammation-based diseases such as Alzheimer’s (which begins as an inflammation in the brain) and bowel disease.
Curcumin is also an antioxidant, and is capable of countering harmful oxygen free radicals. Oxygen free radicals accumulate in our bodies as a result of pollution and poor diet, and are believed to play a large part in encouraging the growth of cancers.
By taking a curcumin-rich turmeric supplement you can help your body neutralise these dangerous molecules and potentially boost your resistance to breast, prostate and lung cancers, as well as helping you to resist the negative side effects associated with aging.
Curcumin is also believed to play a part in increasing liver function, and can help the body to process toxins more efficiently which aids in detoxification.
Trace amounts of curcumin can be found in regular, off-the-shelf turmeric, which you can use to flavour curries and soups.
But by far the best way to supplement your diet with this powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant agent is to take a specially formulated curcumin supplement.
Finding the Right Turmeric Powder
Take care when picking up a turmeric supplement; not all are created equal.
If you’re looking to receive the full range of benefits associated with curcumin, and wish to enjoy better digestion, better skin health and improved immunity to a range of inflammatory conditions, you’ll want to find one that is a rich source of curcuminoids – and one that contains BioPerine.
BioPerine is a black pepper extract that aids in the absorption of turmeric; without it your body will find it difficult to efficiently utilise curcumin.
We have no trouble in recommending Vibrant Health’s carefully formulated turmeric supplement, Maximized Turmeric 46x.
It contains the perfect balance of BioPerine and curcumin, and has shown to be 46 times more absorbable than a standardised 95% curcumin extract (the most common on market) in a human clinical trial.
As such, it helps you overcome the oft-mentioned problem of turmeric’s poor bioavailability.
Maximized Turmeric’s effectiveness comes from CurcuWIN™, the patented curcumin form which is processed using OmniActive’s proprietary UltraSOL Nutrient Delivery System.
CurcuWIN™ contains a minimum of 20% curcuminoids in the same profile as found naturally in turmeric. Maximized Turmeric contains 500mg of CurcuWIN™ per capsule, plus 5mg of BioPerine.
Of course, there is no harm in cooking with regular turmeric to augment your intake of Maximized Turmeric 46x. If doing so, be sure to use some black pepper in the dish to enhance bioavailability!
We trust that this article has resonated with you. Clearly the properties of turmeric warrant further investigation, although it has already been placed under the microscope a good deal in recent years. And the evidence continues to highlight just what a healthful compound it is.
We cannot recommend turmeric highly enough, and its benefits to those suffering from inflammation in particular are very impressive. (You might also consider systemic enzymes and fish oil for this purpose.)
One thing to bear in mind, incidentally, is that most curcumin studies use turmeric extracts that contain exclusively curcumin, with dosages typically in excess of 1 gram per day. Because it is highly challenging to obtain such an intake from diet alone, a supplement may be necessary to maximise the spice’s therapeutic potential.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that actively inhibits the development of inflammatory enzymes