Spotlight on Curcumin
2 CommentsWednesday, 26 April 2017 | Admin
Curcumin: The Golden Ingredient in Turmeric
One of the most researched nutritional supplements, turmeric has been found to give serious protection against inflammation throughout the body and brain. Here are the scientifically-proven facts on why this golden spice is so valuable to mankind..
Active Ingredient of Turmeric
Turmeric is a rhizomatous plant, and a member of the ginger family.
The powdered root of the turmeric plant has been used in Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha medicines for hundreds of years. It contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids, the main active ingredient being curcumin (not to be confused with cumin which is a completely different herb). Curcumin is the compound which gives turmeric root its deep golden colour.
It is known for certain that diet and lifestyle play a major role in why certain forms of cancer are more prevalent in some parts of the world but not in others. Research has found that turmeric (curcuma longa), which is regularly included in the diet of the peoples of southeast Asia, is possibly one of the reasons why this continent has a low incidence of most cancers.
Medical science has found overwhelming evidence that curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. As part of an everyday diet, one would need to consume turmeric in generous quantities, and very regularly, to get full benefit from its potential healing and protective qualities.
Additionally, for the body to get maximum absorption of curcumin into the bloodstream, it needs to be taken at the same time as a substance called piperine (also known as bioperine), which is a chemical compound found in black pepper. Piperine is responsible for the pungent aroma and flavour of pepper.
The addition of piperine gives a greatly enhanced absorption of curcumin (by as much as 2000%), so to get full benefit from a supplement, look for a product with not only a high curcumin extract but also with added piperine (black pepper).
The partnership of turmeric and black pepper allows the body to absorb much higher levels of curcumin.
Curcumin Against Inflammatory Diseases
Many debilitating diseases are caused by chronic (long-term) inflammation. This happens when the body’s natural defence of creating inflammation to kill invading pathogens turns rogue and begins to attack the body’s healthy cells. The good news is that curcumin is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, with the power to help fight off pathogens leading to these diseases.
Findings from a double-blind, placebo based study suggest that supplementation of 200 mg per day of curcumin enhances endothelial function (linings of the arteries), even in young, and apparently healthy people. This strongly suggests that by taking a regular supplement of curcumin, the risk of heart disease is significantly reduced, without the need for aspirin or statins. Curcumin works by allowing blood vessels to expand, rather than depending upon the blood-thinning effect of chemical drugs.
Given the serious (and expensive to the NHS) nature of the side effects of drugs such as Metformin, natural solutions are being urgently sought. Curcumin is a leading possibility to fulfil this role.
Findings of clinical trials have shown that curcumin works at molecular level to fight inflammation. The effectiveness of curcumin is on a par with pharmaceutical drugs — but without negative side-effects.
Antioxidant Properties of Turmeric
Research has shown that curcumin, due to its chemical structure, gives a two-pronged attack against free radical damage:
Curcumin has multiple properties: as an oxygen-radical scavenger (antioxidant) and an anti-inflammatory agent (particularly in relation to inflammation of the epithelium (lining) of the lungs. Study