I’m sure you’ve heard about the many amazing health benefits of eating turmeric including the fact that it can help with inflammation. But what is it? Does it have other benefits and uses? Is it really that safe and how much should we consume?
I wanted to find out more and I hope you’re here because you do too. I know most of you want to ask “does turmeric help inflammation? And yes, I will answer that, but First, lets start with a seemingly obvious, yet very important question:
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its unique yellow color. The medicinal compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, curcumin being the main active ingredient. Turmeric has been used extensively as a spice in traditional South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking and in Ayurveda (Indian system of Medicine) for centuries.
Does it help with inflammation and fibromyalgia?
Yes! Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is known to be a very strong antioxidant as well. Many doctors and scientists are now of the opinion that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a large role in almost every Western disease. This includes heart disease, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, cancer.
But wait, fibromyalgia is not considered a disease! Although fibromyalgia is categorized as a chronic disorder and not a disease, it is best understood and treated as a central inflammatory syndrome. And although more research needs to be done on turmeric for fibromyalgia, it may help a great deal since curcumin works like a pain reliever for the body.
Should I take a supplement, and how much?
The curcumin content in turmeric is only around 3-4% by weight, which is why many people chose a supplement instead which contain much higher amounts. Most experts say that If you want to experience the full anti-inflammatory effects you need to get 500 to 1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day. The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined 1.4 mg per pound (0–3 mg/kg) of body weight is an acceptable daily intake for most.
Although still healthy and definitely flavorful, you will not be receiving 500 to 1,000 mgs of curcumin daily, simply by adding a little turmeric into your recipes. And while a supplement may seem like a great solution, the bioavailability of curcumin is poor, meaning it is not effectively absorbed by the bloodstream.
To increase curcumins effectiveness, piperine, which comes from natural black pepper is often added to many of the more superior curcumin containing supplements, such as Fibrolief Formula and will raise the body’s absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. Another great way to boost curcumin’s effectiveness is to consume it with a fatty meal since curcumin is fat soluble.
What else can it do?
Along with its natural ability to fight chronic inflammation, curcumin is also a potent antioxidant that has been proven to protect the body from free radicals and help the body increase its antioxidant enzymes. Premature aging along with many diseases can be related to this type of oxidative damage.
Curcumin has also been shown to be heart healthy. In fact studies that have been conducted in rats showed that curcumin had the ability to prevent heart failure. The study suggests curcumin may prevent the development of atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up inside your artery’s and is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease and the most common form of dementia. Not only is there evidence that curcumin can treat AD but possibly prevent it all together. Curcumin is often used in Ayurveda for its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory qualities.
According to an article on NCBI, one of the important pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease is the chronic inflammation of nerve cells. Several studies have demonstrated the associated inflammatory changes such as microgliosis, astrocytosis and the presence of pro-inflammatory substances that accompany the deposition of amyloid-β peptide. Is it any wonder why AD is far less prevalent in places such as India where it is consumed often?
Studies have shown that curcumin may contribute to the death of cancerous cells and metastasis (the spread of cancer) In a Healthline article, I recently read about a 30-day study in which 44 men with lesions in the colon that sometimes turn cancerous were given 4 grams of curcumin per day. The curcumin reduced the number of lesions by 40%
Many other benefits
In addition to all the above, curcumin can also improve overall brain function, increase memory, lower risk of brain diseases, aid in the treatment of arthritis, osteoarthritis, age related diseases, help prevention and treat depression, hay fever, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, liver problems, heart burn and can help with stress.
Are there people who should not use it?
If you are pregnant or nursing, it is okay to season your food with turmeric, however it is not advisable to take a curcumin supplement in concentrated doses. Keep in mind, all herbal supplements should be used with caution. Notify your health care provider of any supplements you’re taking, including turmeric and curcumin.
Give it a try
I love cooking with turmeric and eating authentic Indian cuisine which is a great way to get more of this wonderful spice into your diet. If you are in the market for a supplement, just be sure to chose one that is made in an FDA approved facility, preferably organic, and uses high quality curcumin.
Also, look for a brand that contains piperine, otherwise you will not get the full benefit of the supplement, if any at all. Fibrolief Formula, a high-quality supplement, is specifically designed for those with fibromyalgia. It contains piperine and meets all the other criteria mentioned above. Click here to see the full review.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you found this article informative, helpful and are considering giving turmeric and curcumin a try! Please feel free to leave us a question or comment in the section below, we’d love to hear from you.