When it comes to curcumin, you might be more familiar with its more famous older brother, turmeric. You’ve eaten it in Indian curries or maybe you’ve heard about it for its health benefits or caught sight of the “golden milk” trend on Instagram feeds.
But if there was a TMZ of the herb world, they would be breaking the dramatic story about the secret talent behind the spice, the true nutritional powerhouse fueling the health rumors about turmeric: curcumin.
What is it?
Curcumin is a compound—an inflammation-fighting powerhouse—that makes up a small percentage (about 2-5%) of the turmeric plant’s rhizome (or rootstalk). It’s what gives turmeric that beautiful golden hue and its healthful reputation.
Why do people take it?
The better question is almost, what isn’t everyone taking it. Curcumin’s superpower is its ability to fight inflammation and its potent antioxidative qualities. In particular, it both chemically reacts to reduce free radicals and stimulates the body’s ability to fight them off.
And studies keep unearthing its efficacy in more applications. It’s been tested to lower risk for heart disease, lower cholesterol, ease depressive symptoms as effectively as Prozac, reduce the size and number of cancer polyps, reverse liver damage, help the brain clear out the amyloid plaque that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, reduce symptoms of IBD, prevent diabetes, alleviate symptoms of arthritis pain, and even help athletes heal faster from sore muscles and injury.
How do I take it?
The first important point that many studies address is that curcumin is not absorbed by the body on its own, so almost all of them tested curcumin in combination with another agent to increase absorption, or bioavailability, in the body.
What clinical studies have shown is that compounds like piperine (found in black pepper) can increase bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. Other methods to increase absorption have included the integration of curcumin into lipid (fat) nanoparticles. Companies like Terry Naturally have created high absorption formulas without piperine due to the contraindication of piperine with many medications.
Any other benefits?
Cancer prevention and treatment are the most significant findings from curcumin research, but it continues to be proven effective in treating any condition like ulcers, Crohn’s disease, to reduce the expression of skin conditions like vitiligo and psoriasis.
The bottom line is that because it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, it can effectively treat or help prevent any condition that stems from inflammation.
Overall, curcumin has been found to be very safe and well-tolerated by the majority of participants in clinical trials, and it has even the U.S. FDA has approved it for its safety. In a only a handful of cases, participants experienced diarrhea or headaches at doses between 500 and 1200 mg
Here are the brands that we confidently recommend to our customers:
The Most Promising Effects…
Overview of the Clinical Studies
Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health
Cancer Polyp Studies
Depressive Clinical Trials
U.S. FDA Approval