Curcumin, native to India and Southeast Asia, is the most essential component of the spice turmeric. It is the active ingredient, making that vibrant yellow color found in curry. Besides the fact that is brightening our food, curcumin plays a crucial role in our health. In fact, it’s been used in both ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
Curcumin is a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer agent. It helps modulate the body’s levels of glutathione, an important intracellular antioxidant. Studies have also proven that it’s helpful with fighting conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease; and, according to the National Institutes of Health, curcumin is highly effective in both acute and chronic inflammation.
Curcumin battles cancers at the cellular level and comes up very effective in fighting all kinds of cancer and tumors. In some situations, it helps prevent the transformation of healthy cells to tumor cells; in other cases, it might inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Research also proves that curcumin works well as an adjunct for many traditional cancer treatments, including radiation and chemotherapy.
Studies have proven that curcumin is useful in preventing type 2 diabetes; it significantly lowers glucose levels and insulin resistance. Turmeric, the spice curcumin constitutes, helps maintain proper function of the pancreas, which helps the body properly regulate insulin formation. Turmeric can also help control cholesterol and undesired fats in the body—both of which may lead to diabetes development if not properly managed.
Due to the fact that curcumin is a mighty anti-inflammatory, it helps decreasing damage to bones and cartilage. It can also benefit type 2 collagen synthesis, therefore improving joint function. Curcumin even has the power to cleanse the body of several enzymes that may create joint inflammation.
Some researchers state that numerous cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can be prevented with regular curcumin use because curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier. Curcumin plays an important role in decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress, which many researchers believe contribute to Alzheimer’s. Studies have also demonstrated that curcumin decreases amyloid plaque build-up in the brain.
Where Can You Find Curcumin
Curcumin is in a powdered or capsule form—and you can find it as a tea or in ointments. If you depend on your diet as a source of curcumin, keep in mind that it takes approximately five curry meals to get the equivalent amount of curcumin contained in one standard capsule. When looking for the real supplement, have in mind that it needs to be a natural source (free of synthetic compounds), bioavailable (several companies have developed processes to enhance bioavailability), and that it’s GMO- and pesticide-free. In addition, look carefully at the other compounds contained in the supplement. Although there is a full spectrum of curcuminoids (and many have similar properties), be sure to consider the other additives. Many researchers consider curcumin to be very safe, even at high doses. The preferred dose is nearly 900 mg per day and should be consumed with food to help with absorption.