What is Curcumin?
Circumin is the active ingredient in the popular spice Turmeric, which comes from the plant Curcuma Longa. Turmeric and curcumin are both known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and they have both been staples of Eastern homeopathic health for centuries.
Supplementing your diet with turmeric and curcumin may help if you suffer from issues such as arthritis, pancreatitis, and certain bowel diseases, like IBS. There are many additional health benefits that come with taking turmeric, or more specifically, curcumin, as curcumin holds various medicinal properties that benefit your overall health. If you're needing a way to overcome uncomfortable inflammation that presents itself through nagging symptoms, keep reading to see how various forms of the curcuma longa plant can benefit you and your overall wellness.
What Do Curcuminoids Do?
Curcuminoids are prevelant in the natural spice, turmeric, which is high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcuminoids work against ailments such as joint inflammation, high cholesterol, and imbalanced blood sugar, and they can also work against tumors, fungus, and bacterial growth due to the antioxidant properties.
Curcuminoids are great to supplement into your diet if you're looking for a homeopathic anti-inflammatory treatment for any of the issues listed above, and it may also help with chronic pain.
How Do I Supplement Curcumin Into My Diet?
Curcumin is commonly associated with turmeric as this is the largest naturally occurring source for curcumin to be found within. This spice is a significant element of Ayurveda, a holistic healing system that originated in India, and it is prevalent in many Asian cuisines. Eastern societies have believed in the wellness benefits of turmeric for centuries, so it's very easy to include curcumin into your diet and benefit from its anti-inflammatory effects as well.
Turmeric comes in its natural root form, and you can also get it in powdered form. Both forms offer the same medicinal properties without any adverse effects, although the root form may be more effective since it's the most natural state. Turmeric has a super bold and delicious flavor to add into your favorite recipes.
Here are some ways you can prepare turmeric so you can benefit from the curcumin health benefits:
- Cut up the roots and toss with stir-fried vegetables
- Add the powder to rice
- Add the powder to olive oil for a salad dressing
- Make a soup
- Put the powder into a healthy shake
- Make tea from the root
There are numerous benefits that become available when you increase the turmeric and curcumin levels in your daily diet. Curcumin works as a natural antioxidant, helping to remove unwanted toxins that build up in your body. When you increase your turmeric and curcumin intake, you're also supplementing in many other antioxidant benefits as well.
The Structure of Curcumin
The structure of curcumin is officially known as diferuloylmethane, which is two ferulic acid moieties that are bound together with an additional carbon (in this case, methane) which bridges the carboxyl groups. This structure can exist in two forms, which are slightly different in variation. The first variation is known as an enol form, and the keto form, which is molecularily symmetrical. This contains two ketone groups on the backbone.
The molecule known as curcumin is a bright yellow hue, which is useful in industrial food coloring when known as “E100”. This is the bright yellow color you'd recognize as turmeric. This molecule is highly lipophilic. This means that the molecule tends to combine with or dissolve in lipids of fats. This means that it is not water soluble. Curcumin when in the pH of the stomach is known as acid stable.
Aside from this, curcumin is known to have a few known and potential drug interactions and side effects from such. One of the potential interactions most commonly found in clinical trials was with antiplatelet agents, anticoagulant agents, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, salicylates, and thrombolytic agents, which could lead to bleeding. If you are on blood-thinners, or if you have a bleeding condition, you should seek medical advice before adding curcumin supplementation into your daily diet.
Curcumin and DHA
DHA is shortened for Docosahexaenoic acid, and is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid that is vital for brain development and its protection. It is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in brain tissue. Many cognitive disorders (anxiety, depression, and Alzheimer's) are often linked to the dietary deficiency of DHA, so it's important that you're utilizing turmeric health benefits to help you keep your brain alert and capable.
Curcumin's relationshup with DHA may help those who could benefit from a boost to their overall brain power as curcumin supplementation activates DHA in the brain. One study using animals instead of humans found that curcumin is capable of preserving DHA content in the brain. It also found that curcumin elevates enzymes that are involved in the synthesis of DHA from its precursors. This resulted in increased DHA concentrations in both the brain and liver.
Curcumin can seem to enhance the synthesis of DHA and increase concentrations in not only the brain, but the liver as well. This can prove to be especially useful for those that choose not to consume fish or supplements of fish oil. Many choose not to because of the flavor or distaste for the smell. This could prove to be a successful alternate for those that want to avoid fish related brain supplements.
Curcumin for Cell Preservation
Curcumin is able to preserve cells in response to glutamate excitotoxicity, after acting on the TrkB receptor (which is the molecular target of BDNF). This essentially means that curcumin's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties work to not only keep the cell stabalized, but also to keep the cell from degenerating so it can remain effective at doing its job for your body.
Additionally, curcumin may help Alzheimer's patients by providing a natural treatment for the cell degeneration and symptoms. As for effects on possible aid to slow Alzheimer's Disease, curcumin is found to be able to inhibit aggregation of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain, which prevents neural inflammation that would normally be downstream from said aggregation. Because curcumin prevents the degradation of cells, it may provide an effective treatment as Alzheimer's patients are suffering from damaged brain cells, leading to the difficult side effects of the disease.
Curcumin for Pain Relief
Curcumin has a history of being used for pain relief following trauma. Curcumin supplementation at a level of 400g in persons with algesic episodes appears to have a potency that can be compared to 1,000mg acetaminophen. It appeared to work much slower than common drugs, but it had maximal efficacy at 3-4 hours and a loss within 12 hours. Curcumin's antioxidant properties work as a treatment for trauma symptoms, although it's not as effective as what most people are probably used to. However, if you like homeopathic healing and prefer to stay away from Tylenol, the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin can work as a natural treatment for various conditions.
Curcumin for Cardiovascular Health
Curcumin is also suspected to assist in cardiovascular wellness and was suspected to protect against cardiac hypertrophy, inflammation, and thrombosis. Curcumin was also found to have possible positive effects on prevention of endothelial (blood vessel) dysfunction that is typically associated with high blood glucose in a dose dependent manner.
Because of this, curcumin was also found to possibly offer protection from side-effects associated with type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes observed in animals, it was found that curcumin preserved a degree of endothelial wellness, which essentially means that the heart and blood vessels were able to be preserved from curcumin's properties.
Curcumin to Fight Cancer
Curcuminoids are also said to be a very powerful way to attack cancer and cancer causing cells, and perhaps with more clinical trials, turmeric can provide a sure way to eliminate cancer and its many uncomfortable symptoms. More research needs to be done in order to classify curcuminoids as a cancer preventative or a medication for cancer, and especially to know how much curcumin one must take per day to be effective against cancer. However, its notorious anti-inflammation properties make it a great candidate to ease the inflammation of cancer cells.
The Drawbacks of Curcumin
In healthy humans, it has been found that 6 gram doses of curcumin daily has been associated with minor flatulence and the yellowing of the stool. However, it has been found that curcumin generally will not cause any significant short-term toxicity at doses up to 8 grams per day.
Curcumin studies continue over time, and have shown to be beneficial for many health conditions and concerns. As more studies are conducted about tumeric benefits, the effectiveness of the compound curcumin may be able to be determined more accurately and may be used in different ways.
Why Curcumin is Right for You
For centuries, turmeric and curcumin have been trusted as a homeopathic treatment for many ailments that have inflammation at the root. Inflammation shows itself through issues such as arthritis, pancreatitis, and certain bowel diseases, but you don't need to suffer from the pain from these for any longer. Although studies are still being done to explore further turmeric benefits, we know that there are definitely strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin, and it's said to start working quickly. Additionally, there are no negative side effects of turmeric, so it's a great addition to any health-conscious diet.
If you're looking for a natural way to overcome the discomfort of inflammation in your body, you can turn to turmeric for a safe and homeopathic approach to feeling better, stronger, and free from the annoying pain that inflammation can cause.