Heard a lot about curcumin lately? You’re not alone. This centuries old healing powerhouse is getting a lot of airtime these days! Curcumin is an active constituent of turmeric, and is the chemical responsible for the bright yellow colouring of turmeric and other plants.
Did you know?! Turmeric is a member of the ginger family?! I did not.
This antioxidant is not new, oh not, it is not! Ayurvedic healers in India have been using turmeric, and by extension curcumin, for hundreds of years. These healers used turmeric internally in the forms of juice, boiled teas, tinctures, or powders. Turmeric was also used topically in creams, lotions, pastes, and ointments.
Ayurvedic medicine was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India, and it is the world’s oldest holistic, or whole body, healing system. The governing principle of Ayurveda is the belief that health and wellness rely on a delicate balance between mind, body, and spirt.
Treatments using turmeric included a cold remedy made by boiling milk, turmeric, and sugar. While turmeric juice was used to help heal cuts, wounds and bruises. Turmeric was burned and the smoke was inhaled to relieve congestion and mucous build up.
Curcumin itself, was isolated and named in 1815, and has been subject to many medicinal studies since. It has been proven to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer properties. These attributes give curcumin potential against a number of ailments, and can help to stabilize and protect the body at a bio-molecular or cellular level.
This bright yellow compound is a scavenger of reactive oxygen species, and reactive nitrogen species, which are reactive chemicals containing oxygen, or nitrogen, respectively, and easily react with other molecules causing potential damage. Curcumin can also activate antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione. Glutathione is critical to our cell’s adaptations to stress.
CURCUMIN AND THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Low absorption and bio-availability plague this valuable chemical compound, because of this, levels tend to remain low. However, taking curcumin supplements with black pepper, or peperine/bioperine, can increase absorption by something like 2000%. The oral intake of curcumin supplements may lead to sufficient concentrations in the gastrointestinal tract to protect it from ill effects of free radicals. As our pal, Hippocrates said, all disease begins in the gut, curcumin might play a larger role in our health than previously thought. There have been also studies done on this nutrient and it’s effectiveness on ulcerative colitis, and the results look favourable!
CURCUMIN AND CANCER
The anti-cancer properties of curcumin are currently under observation, but early studies look positive, as it has been found to arrest the cell cycle, which inhibits cancer cells rapid proliferation. Cancer cells are damaged cells that don’t follow the same rules as healthy cells, curcumin has been shown to prevent these damaged cancer cells from migrating, disseminating, and invading surrounding and distant cells.
CURCUMIN AND DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes is also an area of study when it comes to curcumin, and several studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and glucose levelling properties of curcumin may be useful in the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
CURCUMIN AND ARTHRITIS
A preliminary trial showed promising results in which patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed better improvements in joint stiffness, morning stiffness, and walking time versus patients taking NSAIDs.
CURCUMIN AND YOUR BRAIN
Just wait! There’s more! There have been studies on the mental benefits of curcumin, as well. Patients taking curcumin report a significant reduction in mental fatigue and higher levels of calmness and contentedness vs patients taking placebos! Studies are also being done on the effects of curcumin on Alzheimer’s, as it has been shown that supplementation has been shown to prevent plaque build up in the brain, which could slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
CURCUMIN AND PMS
Oh, and this one’s just for the ladies! Studies have shown that supplementation with curcumin has significantly reduced PMS severity, in nearly all symptoms; emotional, behavioural, and physical.
This seems like a supplement regime I can get behind. You can actually find curcumin in MicroLife Renew by Vasayo! You can read more about Vasayo products here, and you can order Vasayo Products here!
I’d love to hear if you currently take any kind of curcumin or turmeric supplement and what your thoughts are!