Turmeric is one of the most effective nutritional supplements that exist. Coming from India, this spice contains a compound called curcumin with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You still don’t know what curcumin is? Keep reading and learn the incredible benefits it brings to health, all of them confirmed with scientific studies.
What is Curcumin?
Turmeric contains compounds with medicinal properties called curcuminoids, of which curcumin is the most important. It is a biologically active agent that has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, although its presence in turmeric is not very high: around 3% by weight. Unfortunately, our body is not able to properly absorb curcumin, so you can use black pepper to improve its absorption.
Piperine, a substance present in pepper, increases curcumin absorption by 2000%. Also, curcumin is also fat soluble (fat soluble), so it is a good idea to take it with a fat-rich meal.
Note: Since turmeric contains curcumin in small quantities, it is advisable to purchase turmeric extracts that contain mostly this compound to maximize its benefits.
What Benefits Does Curcumin Bring to Health?
It is a Natural Antioxidant:
Free radicals are very reactive molecules that cause oxidation and can damage lipid cells, proteins and DNA.
What role do antioxidants have?
- The antioxidantsprotect the body from these free radicals and therefore prevent oxidation and consequent cellular damage.
How does curcumin work?
- This compound , a natural antioxidant, directly neutralizes free radicals and stimulates our body’s own antioxidant enzymes, dealing a double blow against these chemicals
“Inflammation helps the body fight foreign invaders and plays a vital role in repairing damage”.
Without inflammation, pathogens such as bacteria could invade our body and kill us. Although acute inflammation is beneficial, it can become a serious problem when it becomes chronic and attacks the body’s own tissues, causing various diseases.
How does curcumin work?
- Curcumin blocks the NF-kB molecule, which enters the nucleus of cells and activates genes associated with inflammation.
- It is believed that NF-KB is a key factor in many chronic diseases.
- Several studies have shown that this compound may be as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs, but with an extra: no side effects
- Therefore, we can conclude that: Curcumin is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at the molecular level.
There are several studies on the beneficial effects of curcumin on the growth, development and spread of cancer at the molecular level. The results state that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer) and help kill cancer cells. Multiple studies have also revealed that it can reduce the growth of cancer cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in animal tests.
- We still have to adequately demonstrate that a high dose of this can help treat cancer in humans.
- On the other hand, there are several tests that prove that curcumin can help prevent the onset of cancer for the first time, especially cancers of the digestive system, such as colorectal cancer.
- In a study of 44 men with colon lesions, which sometimes become cancerous, 4 grams of curcumin per day for 30 days decreased the number of lesions by 40%
Improves Brain Function:
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (FNDC) is a type of growth hormone that drives the multiplication and growth of neurons in the brain. Many common brain disorders, such as depression or Alzheimer’s, have been linked to a reduction in the levels of this hormone.
How does curcumin work?
- Curcumin can increase FNDC levels and, therefore, delay and even reverse brain diseasesand reductions in brain function associated with aging
Depression is associated with reduced levels of FNDC and, as I just mentioned, it is able to increase levels of this hormone. In addition, according to the results of a randomized controlled trial of 60 patients, this is as effective as the prozac antidepressant. In this study, patients were divided into 3 groups: one group took prozac, another group took one gram of curcumin and the third group took prozac and curcumin. After 6 weeks, it had caused improvements similar to prozac and the group that took prozac and curcumin obtained the best results.
And That’s Not All:
- There is also some evidence that curcumin can increase the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals that begin to fail and decrease as the person goes into depression.
Some of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease are inflammation and oxidative damage caused by free radicals. And, in this aspect, we have already seen that curcumin has positive effects on both, so it is logical to indicate that its consumption can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
But there is more:
- Curcumin can help “untangle” amyloid plaques, an accumulation of “tangles” of proteins that are another major cause of Alzheimer’s.
- Although the use of curcumin to treat Alzheimer’s disease has not been studied in depth, it is a great step to know that it can prevent its onset.
Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease:
The main cause of heart disease is endothelial dysfunction, the inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure and coagulation, among others. The endothelium is the tissue that lines all blood vessels and curcumin has been shown to improve endothelial function, being as effective as the drug atorvastin or the practice of exercise. In addition, this reduces inflammation and oxidation, other important risk factors in heart disease. In one study, 121 patients were chosen at random to undergo coronary revascularization surgery to take placebo or 4 grams of curcumin daily, a few days before and after surgery.
And these were the results:
- The group that consumed curcumin had a 65% reduction in the risk of having a heart attack in the hospital
It Improves the Symptoms of Arthritis:
Arthritis is a common disease characterized by inflammation of the joints.
How does curcumin improve the symptoms of arthritis?
- Curcumin is a very potent natural anti-inflammatory and there are studies that confirm it.
- In a study in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, it was even more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs
Curcumin has gained a lot of popularity as an anti-aging supplement. And it has been proven that curcumin helps prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s … It is obvious to say that it can also delay aging. In addition, since oxidation and inflammation are believed to play a role in aging, it may have effects that go beyond simple disease prevention.
It is a substance present in turmeric, is a potent antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory capable of fighting diseases such as Alzheimer’s, depression, cancer, arthritis and heart disease. In addition, it could even delay aging.