Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb which offers substantial health benefits against various chronic diseases. Its active compounds, curcuminoids, especially curcumin, target inflammation at the cellular level, reducing symptoms in conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Despite the limited absorption of turmeric when consumed alone, combining it with extracts of black pepper may enhance its bioavailability by up to 2000%.
What if I tell you that one of the most potent natural remedies against inflammation is a herb that you may already have in your kitchen?
I am talking about turmeric and its amazing benefits against various conditions - from osteoarthritis to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and even depression.
In addition, the roots of the plant are commonly used in cooking as an ingredient of popular curry dishes.
What is more, turmeric may be the most potent anti-inflammatory herb, and these benefits carry on to its protective effects against some of the most common chronic diseases.
Unfortunately, taking turmeric alone has one huge downside - your digestive system barely absorbs it. Thankfully, scientists have found a way to boost its absorption by combining it with other natural extracts.
Keep reading to find out more about the incredible benefits of turmeric and the best way to add this medicinal herb to your healthy diet.
The Amazing Turmeric
Turmeric is an ancient herb that has been in use for almost 4000 years as part of Indian culture and traditional Ayurvedic medicine (1).
The plant’s name comes from Latin - terra merita, which means meritorious earth and refers to its resemblance with the colors of bright yellow mineral pigments. The botanical name of the herb is Curcuma longa.
The yellow color of the plant’s roots results from its high content of phenolic compounds called curcuminoids. These molecules are also the main biologically active molecules that mediate the medicinal effects of turmeric.
The total amount of curcuminoids in the root of the herb varies between 2-6%. The most notable ones are curcumin (77% of all curcuminoids), demethoxycurcumin (17%), bisdemethoxycurcumin (3%), and others (3).
Curcumin has been shown to interact with hundreds of molecular targets in the human body, which mediates its potential benefits for a wide range of chronic diseases (4).
That’s why turmeric extracts and curcumin are widely used as supplements for conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and others.
What is more, the supplement has an excellent safety profile, and it is well tolerated by most individuals. The research on its side-effects reports only mild gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, and reflux (5).
What is the Science Behind this Ancient Herb?
Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory aid.
Curcumin can help reduce inflammation on a cellular level by preventing the activation of NF-kB (6). That is a protein found in the nucleus of all your cells that influences your genetic code and makes your body produce inflammatory molecules.
The inflammatory molecules that turmeric and curcumin can suppress are called cytokines. For example, the cytokine called TNF-α, one of the main inflammatory agents in obesity can be successfully inhibited by curcumin (7).
Thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory effects, supplementation with turmeric can significantly reduce symptoms of inflammation and pain.
What is more, its efficacy can be compared to some of the most popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics.
For example, one study reported that 400 mg of curcumin in people with acute pain is comparable to 1000 mg acetaminophen and 100 mg nimesulide (8).
Due to its potency, turmeric extracts and curcumin are successfully used to aid pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
One animal study comparing the effectiveness of turmeric, ginger, and another NSAID called indomethacin reported that taking a turmeric supplement was the most effective (9). In addition, both turmeric and ginger were more effective than indomethacin.
Human trials have confirmed that turmeric supplements can reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis by 58% (10). The patients experience improvement in pain, stiffness, and physical functioning.
What is more, a recent meta-analysis that included more than 1800 patients with osteoarthritis reported similar effectiveness to NSAIDs and a 12% lower risk of side effects (11).
Curcumin will lower your blood sugar levels
One of the first scientifically proven effects of curcumin is its ability to lower blood sugar levels (12).
The polyphenol works to lower your glucose levels by activating an enzyme in your muscle and liver cells called Adenosine Monophosphate Kinase (AMPK).
It signals your cells that their energy reserves are depleted (even if they are not), and your cells start drawing in glucose from your blood.
According to scientific evidence, the benefits of turmeric for glucose levels are significant and may help patients with type 2 diabetes to improve blood sugar control.
A large meta-analysis that included more than 1000 patients with diabetes from 11 studies reported that curcumin could significantly reduce fasting blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels (13).
HbA1c is a marker for long-term blood sugar control, and lower levels mean better control over your diabetes.
Half of the trials included in the meta-analysis also showed that curcumin can reduce insulin resistance measured by HOMA-IR. On average, it took 3 months of supplementation until there was a significant improvement in glycemic control.
Turmeric can reduce your cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and risk of heart disease.
Currently, the exact mechanism via which turmeric can lower cholesterol levels is unknown. Some scientists have suggested that curcuminoids may interact with endogenous cholesterol synthesis, similarly to statins (14).
Nevertheless, clinical studies demonstrate that turmeric extracts are quite effective in improving lipid profile parameters.
A meta-analysis of data collected from 649 patients reported that turmeric and curcumin supplementation for 1-6 months could reduce total cholesterol, bad cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides (15).
What is more, another study reported up to 47% reduction in triglycerides after supplementing with 500 mg of curcumin for 7 days (16).
Lowering cholesterol and triglycerides levels can help slow down atherosclerosis, the primary pathogenic mechanism leading to myocardial infarction and chronic heart disease.
In addition, curcumin and turmeric taken as dietary supplements may also support cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of hypertension.
One meta-analysis reported that supplementing for more than 3 months was sufficient to lower systolic blood pressure (17).
The benefits of turmeric for your blood pressure may be due to its benefits for blood flow and vasodilation. Studies report a 40% increase in circulating vasodilators after curcumin supplementation (18).
Turmeric has benefits against anxiety and depression
If you have symptoms of depression or anxiety, prolonged supplementation with turmeric extract may help relieve your complaints and improve your brain health.
The herb works by restoring the normal levels of the monoamines in your brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine (19). The depletion of these neurotransmitters is often implicated as the actual cause of these conditions.
What is more, curcumin has been shown to increase the concentration of essential fatty acids in the brain, such as omega 3 (DHA), which also have antidepressant effects (20).
A meta-analysis that included more than 500 participants reported that curcumin taken as a dietary supplement significantly reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms when added to standard medical treatment (21).
According to research, major depressive disorder (MDD) is the mental disease that responds best to curcumin supplementation (22). The scientists reported that it took at least 2-3 months until there were any significant improvements in disease symptoms.
Turmeric extract is still being evaluated for several potential benefits.
Curcuminoids and turmeric extracts are being studied for possible benefits against some types of cancer and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
For example, animal studies have shown that curcumin supplementation can reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and cognitive impairment after a traumatic brain injury (23).
That is thanks to its benefits for the so-called neurotrophic factors in the human brain. Their leading role is to ensure the survival, growth, morphological plasticity, and regeneration of neurons.
Curcumin may also help prevent the accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain, one of Alzheimer’s disease hallmarks.
Animal studies show that curcumin can prevent the build-up of these proteins and thus reduce the levels of inflammation in brain tissue (24). Small human trials in patients with Alzheimer’s disease also show promising results (25).
Furthermore, several preclinical studies have investigated the effects of curcumin against different types of cancer. In one animal study, curcumin was found to reduce the rate of metastasis of prostate cancer in rats (26).
In vitro studies also report that curcumin could suppress the growth of bladder cancer cells (27).
What is more, the polyphenol may be able to increase the effectiveness of the standard anti-tumor therapy. According to one study, it improved the effectiveness of the chemotherapeutic Vincristine in cell lines from patients with B-lymphocytic leukemia (28).
What is the Best Way to Take Turmeric?
Turmeric can be used as a spice as a part of your diet, and as a dietary supplement. However, keep in mind that the herb’s root contains only 2-6% of curcuminoids, while turmeric extracts can reach up to 95%.
What is more, curcuminoids and turmeric alone have negligible absorption and bioavailability.
Thus, you have to take a supplement with a high percentage of curcuminoids and additional extracts to boost the absorption of the product.
That’s why every dose of Seize the Day by NutriRise provides you with 1650 mg turmeric, 300 mg of ginger extract, and 15 mg of Bioperine (the standardized form of piperine).
Studies report that the alkaloid in black pepper called piperine can boost the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000% (29).
At the same time, research reveals that ginger also improves bioavailability and enhances the analgesic properties of turmeric (30).
The supplement is proudly made in the US, and every batch is tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and pathogenic bacteria. What is more, the extract contains a whopping 95% curcuminoids guaranteed by independent 3rd party testing.
In each dose, the amount of turmeric is carefully titrated to provide maximum effectiveness with a minimum risk of side effects. According to research, doses of up to 8g of curcumin per day are safe and well-tolerated by most people (31).
For maximum effectiveness, you should split your dose into 3 daily intakes, preferably during your meals.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only, and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.