The Benefits Of Turmeric Curcumin (+ Side-Effects)

Turmeric has been used as a spice and medicine for a very long time, especially in Asia, and today it has become one of the most studied natural supplement there is. Now that many of the benefits of turmeric curcumin have been scientifically proven, doctors have come to prescribe it more and more often.

Whether you are looking for a natural solution to your particular health problem or just want to know more about turmeric and curcumin’s properties, keep on reading to find out more as this might just be what you need.

What Are Turmeric And Curcumin?

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant from the ginger family mostly grown in India and Southeast Asia.
Turmeric root powder, which is bright yellow/orange, is used as a spice in Asian dishes to provide color and flavor.
This root has actually been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine to treat all sorts of health problems including to improve blood circulation, treat digestive and liver problems, heal wounds and reduce pain.

Curcumin is a curcuminoid and is the main active compound found in turmeric. This is what is responsible for most of turmeric’s health benefits. But turmeric only contains around 2-5% curcumin. So to be really effective, it needs to be taken as a supplement as it provides higher doses.

A Powerful Antioxidant

The health benefits of curcumin are mostly due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Because it is an antioxidant, it has the ability to scavenge free radicals. As a result, it helps to protect from the effects of oxidative stress, which is often responsible for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) disease, arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Lately, curcumin has been gaining in popularity and is now widely used to prevent and help manage numerous health problems as it has been shown to be more effective than some synthetic drugs and also has fewer side-effects.

Although curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, it has low bioavailability. Our body does not easily absorb it and tends to eliminate it quite quickly. Because of this, curcumin supplements usually also contain piperine, which is an active compound found in black pepper. Piperine has the ability to increase curcumin’s bioavailability to make it more effective.

The Benefits Of Turmeric Curcumin

Turmeric and more particularly curcumin is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and anticancer properties. Thanks to these, the benefits of turmeric curcumin are plenty. Here’s what it can do:

  • Reduces the symptoms of Arthritis
    Arthritis is a condition caused by inflammation in the joints and characterized by painful, stiff and swollen joints. People suffering from this condition usually have to take painkillers such as ibuprofen to reduce the pain and inflammation.
    Some studies have shown that curcumin could be more effective at reducing the symptoms of arthritis than certain medications and, judging by the reviews, most people taking curcumin supplements for this purpose seem to agree. Because of its effectiveness, many doctors now prescribe curcumin supplements to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
  • Can help prevent heart problems
    Research suggests that curcumin can help reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides. As having high levels of these often leads to heart problems, adding curcumin to your diet may really help prevent heart attacks and other heart conditions.
  • Helps with Diabetes
    Curcumin has the ability to increase insulin sensitivity and help reduce blood sugar levels.
    A study performed on people with prediabetes has shown that consuming curcumin helped prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Regularly consuming turmeric could, therefore, help prevent diabetes.
    Another study, performed on people with type 2 diabetes, was able to show the glucose-lowering effects of curcumin.

To learn more about diabetes, here is our guide on how to naturally lower blood sugar.

  • Speeds up wound healing
    Curcumin is also well-known for its wound healing properties. Because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it helps the skin to heal faster. And since curcumin also acts as an antibacterial, it can prevent the wound from getting infected.
  • Can help prevent/ slow down Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
    Some studies suggest that regularly taking curcumin supplements could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
    As an anti-inflammatory, curcumin could help protect the nerve cells from inflammation. And as an antioxidant, it could help protect the cells from free radicals, by stopping their formation and propagation.
    Although curcumin cannot be considered as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, consuming it regularly could be useful to help prevent the onset of dementia.
  • Can protect from stress, anxiety and depression
    Some studies have shown that curcumin could be quite effective at reducing the symptoms of depression, while another study suggested that curcumin could enhance the effects of antidepressants.
    So if you decide to take curcumin supplements for any other condition, you may well notice that it also has some positive effects on your mood.

If you suffer from regular stress, make sure you read our post about Adaptogens and stress and see how these can help.
And if anxiety is a problem, we have made a list of the best natural supplements for anxiety that can help you get better.

  • Supports liver function
    Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin can help detoxify the liver and keep it working properly.
  • Good for the skin
    As curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, it helps to fight the effects of oxidative stress on the skin which can be due to aging and excessive sun exposure. Indeed, curcumin has been shown to help preserve the skin’s elasticity and thickness as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
    As curcumin also has wound-healing properties, it helps the skin to heal faster and reduces scarring, which can be very useful for those suffering from skin conditions such as acne.
  • Could help prevent/slow down cancer
    Many studies suggest that curcumin may be able to stop certain tumor cells from growing and spreading. Research also shows that taking curcumin alongside chemotherapy may provide better results.
    Moreover, it is believed that curcumin may help reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy by supporting the immune system and preventing healthy cells from getting damaged.

Possible Side-effects Of Turmeric Curcumin

Turmeric curcumin supplements are usually safe to take. However, some people may experience digestive issues such as upset stomach, acid reflux, nausea, and diarrhea.

As turmeric can increase blood flow, it may slow down blood clotting. Therefore, if you are already taking blood-thinning medications such as anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs, it is important that you ask your doctor before you start taking a curcumin supplement.

Taking curcumin in very high doses could increase the risk of kidney and gallstones. Because of this, if you have problems with your gallbladder or kidneys, you should avoid taking curcumin.

Conclusion

We can clearly see why turmeric curcumin supplements have become one of the most popular natural supplements. Curcumin’s properties are such that it can help prevent, as well as manage, many different health conditions.
The benefits of turmeric curcumin for general health and wellbeing are impressive, and the fact that it has so few potential side-effects makes it a great choice for those who are looking for ways to stay well and healthy naturally.

As with all dietary supplements, if you suffer from any particular health problem, are taking medications, are pregnant or breast-feeding, always ask your doctor before you start supplementing with curcumin.

If you have ever taken curcumin as a supplement or you are considering doing so, you are welcome to share your experience and thoughts in the comments below!

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