Curcumin – Supplement or Tasteful Spice?
If you had an ailment 3000 years ago, more than likely you might seek a cure from a medicine doctor. These doctors treated anything from general wounds and infections, to more severe medical afflictions. A key treatment might have included the brightly colored spice turmeric. Curcumin is responsible for the yellow color in this Indian spice, along with curry powder.
Current research is focusing on the beneficial properties of Curcumin. Curcumin has been studied for its role in prevention of both Alzheimer’s disease and cancer since it is a powerful antioxidant with strong anti-inflammatory benefits. It is now thought that one of the keys to lowering risk of cancer, diabetes or heart disease is to lower inflammation in the body.
A few epidemiological studies (ones in which an association exists between two things) revealed that individuals consuming foods with turmeric or curry a few times a month has less incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive problems than those who ate the spices less than once a month.
Years ago UCLA Neurologist John Ringman studied Curcumin supplements in Alzheimer’s patients. The study results showed no differences in patients treated with Curcumin supplements versus a placebo. However, this study and others showed Curcumin has poor or uncertain absorption when taken in supplement form versus used as a food spice.
Research does show the supplement Curcumin has the potential to interact with blood thinning agents, NSAIDS (i.e. Motrin/Advil) and prescription medications metabolized by the liver. In addition, this supplement is not recommended for those with liver or gallbladder disease.
Still to this day in India turmeric is referred to as “holy powder” for its health benefits. Since turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, why not include it in your regular diet? If you add it to a fat (such as butter/ghee) and then add black pepper it significantly increases the absorption in the body. With the onset of recent research companies are now adding bioperine to supplements (from black pepper) which can significantly increase absorption – by as much 2000%.
When curcumin is given with maximum absorption it can have far reaching anti-inflammatory benefits for almost every chronic condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. Recommended dosages are 500 mg. twice a day.
Since Curcumin can benefit your health and possibly lower risk of Alzheimer’s and cancer besides lowering arthritis, it’s definitely worth considering…and that sure beats visiting a medicine doctor.