Curcumin, derived from the Indian spice turmeric, is undoubtedly on my top five favorites list because it covers the majority of health issues we are concerned about. It could singlehandedly replace several different supplements in your pill box.
It’s exciting to see all the new curcumin supplements on the market, with different technologies designed to improve absorption. Unfortunately, you can not simply use the kitchen spice from the grocery store because the quality isn’t guaranteed. You could buy the fresh root (organic) and grind it up daily, but that takes some serious dedication; therefore, taking curcumin in supplement form is the easiest and most effective way to benefit from this superstar herb.
Turmeric Dampens Inflammation
It’s been accepted by the research community that curcumin is an anti-inflammatory and they have determined it works by inhibiting certain enzymes, like COX-2. This means it works on some of the same pathways as the common anti-inflammatory medications, but it doesn’t have any of the side effects or risks, such as ulcers or heart problems. In fact, curcumin actually helps the intestinal system and has been shown to help heal inflammation-based intestinal diseases. As an example of one of the many studies on anti-inflammatory actions, it was shown to significantly improve symptoms of osteoarthritis (joint pain). In this study, one group of arthritis patients took curcumin supplements with their medication, and felt a significantly greater relief of pain than the group that took just the medication alone.
Rev up Your Liver
Curcumin helps out the liver, our main organ for detoxification, by increasing the production of key liver enzymes. This supports the liver’s job of processing the toxins we are exposed to daily, and that will always be an important benefit to everyone in modern society. Health problems show up when the liver is overburdened by toxins and can’t keep up with the workload. A surprising array of problems can appear with a sluggish liver, such as unidentifiable skin conditions, high cholesterol, problems with elimination, and even some very serious diseases. A healthy liver typically equates to a healthy person.
Curcumin has a strong antioxidant action; it inhibits free radicals and oxidation, which are some of the primary damaging factors that cause disease, aging, and general deterioration. One helpful visual example of oxidation is rust, the oxidation of metal, which demonstrates what free radicals can do to our body without being tempered by antioxidants. Our body constantly generates its own free radicals just through normal metabolism, so antioxidants are necessary in even the best circumstances. Curcumin also has the benefit of crossing the blood-brain-barrier, meaning it can protect the brain from free radical damage and potentially prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, as shown in several studies. In fact, in India, where turmeric is a prevalent spice in the diet, Alzheimer’s rates are significantly lower than in the United States.
Not many nutrients or herbs can claim to have powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxification activity. With all these benefits being backed by research, curcumin is a must-have in any supplement box.
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