There are pros and cons of taking any supplement, but curcumin has more pros than cons. The strongest argument I found against taking curcumin supplements is getting enough bioavailable curcumin in your system since it is difficult to absorb. Finding a supplement with piperine the active ingredient in black pepper appears to be the best solution. My husband found a turmeric extract from Physician Naturals, Bio-Enteric Curcumin with Bioperine & Bromelain, the active ingredient in pineapple, worked best for him.
Curcumin is a natural polyphenyl, a photochemical compound that gives tumeric its appealing vivid yellow to brown color. It is also the primary curcumoid and active ingredient of more than 300 compounds found in Turmeric, a whole herb with antioxidant properties. Turmeric comes from the ground, dried root of a plant called Curcuma Longa that grows throughout Southern Asia and is a member of the ginger family. There is about 2-4% curcumin in every pound of tumeric. This means that unless you have been born into a culture where turmeric is commonly used in most curry dishes, you probably have to supplement with curcumin to get an adequate amount of this polyphenol in your body to do any good.
The distinct earthy flavor of this spice was used, like many Asian spices and chilies, to hide the taste of stronger tasting meats and fish. It even protected against tainted foods that might have gone a little off in such hot climates. Like many such spices, it also performed a necessary and functional role as a cleanser and a bacteria-killer in the stomach.
Are curcumin and cumin the same?
Another spice found in curry is cumin that should not be confused with curcumin. Although the two compounds sound similar and cumin has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, not as much research has been done on this element. Curcumin appears to have more health benefits than cumin, but this could be because more research has been done on the former than the latter.
CURCUMIN is one of the most researched herbs in recent times with over 3000 studies conducted throughout the world. Dr. Prasad S, Aggarwal BB, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas is a big fan who wrote a scientific study on tumeric and curcumin called “The Golden Spice (1).” He notes that while modern medicine has been used to treat numerous diseases and been around for 100 years, traditional medicine has been around for 1000s of years. Using curcumin with my husband, we noticed herbs and plants continue be safe and effective while modern medicine has many side effects and contraindications.
The list below links to studies that explain scientifically proven health benefits of turmeric and curcumin. Because the level of curcumin in turmeric per pound varies from 2 – 4%, most of the studies have been done on curcumin.
Turmeric and its lesser known extract curcumin [kur-kyoo-min] are having a resurgence of popularity in the western culture. Although the curry spice turmeric has been a staple in the Indian culture (the east) for generations, westerners are more recently enjoying the benefits of this bright orange herb. With the explosion of chronic health diseases in the west, we US citizens are looking for safe, natural herbs to include in our daily regimen that will keep us hardy and well.
What are the health benefits of curcumin and turmeric?
In the Ayurvedic culture, the whole turmeric plant has been used for centuries as a spice and to treat internal disorders. Multiple studies over the past decade have shown that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, also has an abundance of health benefits. Some health researchers today tout curcumin as one of the best nutrients to promote a healthy inflammatory response in the brain, heart and throughout the entire body. (1)
Because turmeric contains such a small amount of its active ingredient curcumin (about 2-4% per pound), most of the studies (see tabs above) have been done on curcumin. Below is a list of scientifically proven health benefits of turmeric and curcumin. (2)
promotes detoxification of the body
is a natural anti-inflammatory compound
contains antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals and has powerful polyphenols
boosts immune system health
acts as a bacteria-killer in the stomach and intestine
improves brain functions and reduces risk of brain diseases, including Alzheimer
can help lower the risk of heart disease
has been shown to make molecular changes that link to benefits regarding cancer.
helps arthritic patients relieve painful joints
aids in relieving depression
may help increase longevity and fight age-related chronic diseases
What is inflammation?
Inflammation occurs when the immune system attempts to heal the body and repair damaged tissue. Inflammation is a normal response and shows the immune system is healthy.
When short-term injuries (such as a broken/bruised ankle or a toothache) occur, inflammation can be a minor annoyance. A healthy immune system sends white blood cells to the damaged site causing the issue around the hurt area to swell, be hot to the touch, appear red, and feel tender. A strong body can also reduce Inflammation due to infections of viruses and bacteria which soon pass.
However, when inflammation is long term and triggered by something other than injury or pathogenic invaders, it can play a role in some chronic diseases and attribute to common signs of aging. These triggers can include poor diet, food allergies, toxins, emotional and physical stress, lack of sleep, synthetics, or even the use of some pharmaceutical drugs.
Exposure to these triggers on a daily basis, can cause the inflammatory response to be turned on indefinitely, causing significant harm to the body. Inflammation has been linked to brain and heart disease, kidney problems, cancer, eczema, allergies, arthritis, stroke, and asthma. (3)
In chronic inflammation the swelling never stops and the healing process is delayed. Since chronic or “silent” inflammation contributes to many Western diseases, cooking and supplementing with a natural anti-inflammatory herb can help protect our cognitive functions, overall health and ability to feel young.
How does turmeric and curcumin relieve inflammation?
Turmeric is a potent natural anti-inflammatory compound. Curcumin has been shown to block pre-inflammatory enzymes (e.g. COX2 and iNOS) which are precursors to cancer. (4)
The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least effective, while curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world. (5) One recent study found that osteoarthritis patients who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan experienced reduced pain and increased mobility, whereas the control group, which received no curcumin, experienced no significant improvements. (6)
How to purchase Curcumin
There are pros and cons to taking any supplement, but most of curcumin’s cons appear to deal with absorption or not getting enough of this beneficial herb in the system. Cooking with curry is not enough. Most westerners probably need to take curcumin supplements in tables, capsules, or powder.
To be effective these supplements need to contain piperine the active ingredient in black pepper which appear to enhance some of its actions
Other cons are that piperine can interfere with certain drugs.
Curcumin might increase the risk of bleeding since it can inhibit coagulation in Vito. If you are taking blood thinners, it may be inadvisable.
It might also be advisable not to take it if you are pregnant or lactating.
Studies conducted at UCLA, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Emory School of Medicine and Tufts have made them great fans of curcumin. The American Cancer Society states that absorption can be improved by mixing the supplement with a teaspoonful of olive oil and sprinkling the black pepper on it. (7) My husband sprinkles tumeric and pepper on our eggs every day with olive oil.
How did Curcumin help my husband?
My husband, a stage-four lymphoma cancer survivor, used curcumin as an adjunct therapy before and after his eight week Rituximab targeted protein treatment. Since conventional therapy does not kill off stem cancer cells (8), but curcumin does, supplementation with curcumin was a great complement for his treatment. Curcumin “has the ability to selectively target cancer stem cells, which are at the root of cancer malignancy, while having little to no toxicity on normal stem cells, which are essential for tissue regeneration and longevity.” (9)
Both the whole turmeric plant and its active extract curcumin have been proven to reduce inflammation which make them important to disease reversal. With such natural, safe herbs at our disposal, it would be great to include them as a part of an Integrative or holistic preventive health protocol.
My name is Penny and my husband is a stage-four lymphoma cancer survivor. I was his primary caregiver and eye-witness to his recovery. I wanted to share his story and success with curcumin, green tea and other herbs before and after he took the standard eight-week Rituximab treatment which targeted the lymphoma cancer cells. As wholistic practitioners with a metaphysical interest, we also like tumeric, curcumin, and other natural herbs since they fit the biblical references of plants being medicine (Eze. 47:12) and leaves being for the healing of the nations Rev 22:1-2).
SOME BACK STORY
We have been consuming natural foods for the last 22 years. We juice, eat organic fresh salads with mainly fish and chicken (a few occasional steaks) and take supplements. With all this going on, you can probably understand our shock to learn in April 2016 that my husband had been diagnosed with lymphoma cancer after visiting his optometrist for an annual eye exam. The optometrist noticed a weird growth in his eye and told him to go to the ophthalmologist. He went to the ophthalmologist who confirmed the growth and said he should see an oncologist. My husband put off seeing the ophthalmologist until he got a second opinion which occurred in mid-December. He began his targeted protein therapy treatment the end of December 2016. By mid-March 2017 the doctors told him that most of the lymphoma cells were normal and he should do watchful waiting.
THE GOAL OF MY SITE
Providing information on the anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties of curcumin, green tea, and other powerful herbs is key.
If you ever need support or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
Curcumin is the extract of Tumeric which is part of the Ayurvedic tradition. Curcumin is not as well known as Tumeric but it, as well as green tea, have wonderful anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.