It is well established that curcumin is a potent antiinflammatory natural substance.
The question is what type of disease it could potentially help to treat?
Today, experts are coming to agreement that many health conditions have their root cause originating from inflammation.
The main active ingredients found in Turmeric is curcumin, the substance that is responsible for its antiinflammatory benefits.
Indeed, manufacturers of turmeric supplements rather use curcumin to achieve a high concentration to ensure maximum effects. Typically, if you take 1,000 mg of turmeric, you'll get about 20 to 60 mg of curcumin.
Let's review some studies to show how turmeric can work to reduce inflammation associated with cancer, atherosclerosis, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and stomach inflammation.
Some experts have suggested that it might possess anticancer effects. However, more investigations will be needed to draw a definitive conclusion.
One group of researcher wanted to explore using curcumin in cancer patients. Specifically, they wanted to answer the question, does taking curcumin with conventional anticancer therapy have any additional health benefits?
Here's their study design. They randomly assigned 40 patients to take 180 mg daily of a high-absorption curcumin extract and 40 patients to take a look-a-like placebo. This study lasted 8 weeks and the markers for inflammation in the blood were measured in the volunteers.
In those patients who took the curcumin extract, all the key markers of inflammation were significantly reduced compared to the group which did not.
In addition, their quality of life (QoL) measurements (using the University of Washington index) increased significantly in the group taking curcumin.
The conclusion was that 180 mg daily of a high-bioavailable curcumin preparation reduces inflammation and improved the quality-of-life (QoL) score significantly in patients undergoing conventional anticancer therapy.
Here's the reference to this research paper.
As a quick background, arterial stiffness is linked to aging and atherosclerosis and is a marker for heart disease and heart attack.
In this study, the researchers designed a 6 months long double-blinded placebo-controlled trial, to look at what taking curcumin would do to the stiffness of arteries.
They measured the effects of turmeric on atherosclerosis risk by looking at how stiff the blood vessels were (by measuring pulse wave velocity). The health of a blood vessel is, in part, determined by how flexible it is.
After 6 months, curcumin reduced pulse wave velocity significantly, indicating that the blood vessels are less stiff. Other indicators such as insulin resistance, uric acid, triglyceride and body fat also showed improvements as well.
The conclusion is that taking curcumin for 6 months reduces atherosclerosis risk in people with type 2 diabetes.
Indeed this is good news and further evidence of the health benefits of taking curcumin.
Here's the reference to this research study.
Arthritis is one of major debilitating disease that society faces. Any natural remedies for reducing arthritis pain and allowing for greater mobility will be of great interest.
Historically, turmeric is used to treat inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.
Research studies have shown that curcumin was found to be safe and effective at reducing pain and inflammation in those suffering from osteoarthritis.
So why is so many people suffering from this condition not taking it? Probably because they do not know about this particular benefit.
Because there is always some confusion between turmeric and curcumin, we have created an equivalence chart so that you would know how much to take.
Here's the published paper to this study.
Before you get too excited at the possibility of taking curcumin for Alzheimer's disease (AD), We'd like to point out that it is still at the experimental stages.
Scientists know that the accumulation of a protein called amyloid beta is linked to the development and progression of AD. So the current theory is that if we could block the accumulation of amyloid beta or find a way to help the brain get rid of it, then it should help those suffering from AD.
A modified type of curcumin seems to do just that in the brain of mice. It reduced amyloid beta accumulation in the brain.
Of course, this is just preliminary results in mice and we really don't know if this would work in humans. But this preliminary research is very encouraging and should prompt further clinical studies in the future, perhaps in those already diagnosed with AD.
Here's the published paper outlining the discovery by the research authors.
In additional to antiinflammatory benefits of curcumin, it's also known to have potent antioxidant properties. Excessive oxidation can cause damage to cells.
Curcumin has been traditionally used to treat gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) and experts in the past were not sure how it did this. Today, we have some ideas as to how curcumin accomplishes this.
It is because of its antioxidant properties. This is why curcumin is often used to treat gastritis and stomach upset.
Here's the research paper showing this benefit.
A growing number of experts are recognizing that the protective antioxidant properties of curcumin have a role to play in treating diseases that are associated with chronic inflammation.
And what type of diseases have an inflammatory component?
Many. Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, brain disease (such as Alzheimer's disease), lung inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease just to name a few.
Here's the reference to this paper.
Does it make sense to take turmeric for inflammation?
There is always some confusion when we talk about turmeric and curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric.
We have written an article to help you understand the relationship of the two in the article entitled Turmeric to Curcumin Equivalence Guide.
To get a full unbiased review on all the proven health benefits of turmeric, see our Review on the Health Benefits of Turmeric.
And, remember there are many other herbs and supplements used by many people around the world in treating arthritis pain.