Have you ever partaken of an Indian or South Asian curry?
The reason they are typically yellow in color is because they contain the root spice turmeric. Known scientifically as Curcuma longa, turmeric is found all over South Asia and is believed to have been in use in India as both a spice and as a medicinal component for at least 5,000 years.
The many health benefits of turmeric have long been exploited in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. According to Ayurvedic practitioners:
- Turmeric maintains gut flora and protects against stomach disorders. It’s also a natural antiseptic and is useful for disinfecting cuts, burns, wounds, and other skin infections.
- Turmeric detoxes the liver. Curcumin (a primary compound of turmeric root) has been found to increase the flow of bile, which is necessary for breaking down dietary fat during digestion.
- Turmeric can help to manage blood sugar.
- Due to its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, turmeric is used in Ayurveda for easing arthritis inflammation and pain.
Additionally, turmeric is also used to provide relief to people suffering from cough, tonsillitis, sore throat, swollen gums and canker sores, upper respiratory congestion, dry cough, and asthma.
But it’s not just traditionalists who value turmeric. According to modern science, the list of turmeric’s health benefits – specifically, of its more than 300 bioactive components known as “curcuminoids,” which exert various beneficial biological actions in our body – is growing by the day.
Thousands of scientific studies have been carried out on curcumin, the main curcuminoid and active ingredient present in turmeric. Curcumin is believed to be responsible for many of turmeric’s studied health benefits.
Turmeric’s Anti-Inflammatory Activity
Inflammation has been getting a bad rap recently. In fact, inflammation is the body’s natural response to cellular and tissue damage caused by injury, harmful external invaders such as bacteria and viruses, as well as various toxic pollutants that enter our bodies via our diet or from the environment.
Inflammation starts out as a protective response that works to eliminate the original cause of damage, clear out damaged and dying cells, and begin the process of repair and healing.
Although inflammation is beneficial for the body in the short term, ongoing inflammation is now known to play a major role in almost every chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other brain degenerative diseases – as well as cancer.
Inflammatory mechanisms have been linked to the development of atherosclerosis, an early step in the formation of heart disease. Inflammatory mechanisms have also been shown to trigger thrombosis, leading to heart infarcts (attacks) and strokes.
Similarly, chronic inflammation is a necessary component for cancer formation and progression. The so-called “tumor microenvironment” – largely controlled by inflammatory cells – plays an active role in the growth, survival, and spread of cancer cells. The tumor microenvironment is the environment in which the tumor exists and usually includes blood vessels, immune cells such as lymphocytes, inflammatory cells, and various signaling molecules.
Curcumin has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for addressing inflammatory conditions. This is supported by recent scientific research which shows that curcumin fights inflammation by interacting with and blocking the actions of a number of different molecules that play a role in the inflammatory process.
Early results from clinical trials indicate that curcumin is safe with no toxicity observed up to doses of up to 10 grams daily. In other words, turmeric’s health benefits don’t come with a laundry list of side effects, like many mainstream drugs do.
Fighting Free Radicals and Boosting Natural Antioxidants with Turmeric
Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that are formed daily in our bodies as a result of normal biological metabolic activity. However, thanks to the ever-increasing levels of toxic chemical pollution in our environment, we’re now being bombarded with many more free radical attacks than ever before.
Free radicals damage cellular structures including the outer protective cell membrane, cellular proteins, and even DNA – paving the way for chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer to develop. Free radical damage is also believed to contribute significantly to the aging process.
Not only that, turmeric has been shown to support the activity of our body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.
SOD breaks down and inactivates harmful superoxide radicals. Catalase protects our cells from oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are a type of harmful free radical that contains oxygen. Similarly, the main biological role of glutathione peroxidase is to protect our cells from oxidative damage.
In other words, the antioxidant benefits of turmeric include neutralization of free radicals as well as enhancing the activity of natural enzymes in our body that also inactivate them.
Turmeric Supports a Healthy Immune Response
Extensive research indicates that the health benefits of turmeric include supporting a healthy immune response. A healthy immune system is what allows the body to fight off disease. Curcumin has been studied for its ability to block the proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells by turning off multiple molecular mechanisms that otherwise allow them to grow uncontrollably.
Some believe that curcumin may interfere with up to a hundred different cell signaling pathways – including those of the cell cycle, apoptosis (programmed cell death), proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels to support tumor growth), metastasis, and inflammation.
Not surprisingly perhaps, curcumin has also been reported to have anti-cancer activity against leukemia, melanomas, sarcomas and lymphomas – as well as against gastrointestinal, breast, ovarian, head and neck, and lung cancers.
Evidence also suggests that curcumin may even help to prevent cancer from developing at all. A study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research shared the results of a Phase II clinical trial where curcumin was given to 44 smokers daily for 30 days. Eight of the research participants were already showing lesions in the colon that sometimes turn into colorectal cancer. Of the 41 subjects that completed the study, 4 grams of curcumin given daily reduced the number of lesions by 40 percent, reducing the likelihood that they will develop colorectal cancer.
One of the major problems with curcumin is that it’s poorly absorbed in the gut. It helps to consume black pepper along with turmeric, which has been shown to enhance absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000 percent.
Also curcumin is fat soluble, but not water soluble. So it may be a good idea to consume it in a meal cooked with a healthy fat such as olive or coconut oil.
The curcumin content of turmeric is only around 3 percent by weight – which is why most studies looking at turmeric’s health benefits use extracts that have been standardized to include large amounts of curcumin, usually at doses of 1 gram per day or even more.
It would be very difficult to consume such a high dose of curcumin every day solely from the turmeric present in curry dishes. To ensure that you take full advantage of the many diverse health supporting benefits of turmeric, you may need to consume a proven, reliable extract containing significant amounts of curcumin that is easily available to your body.
Turmeric 3D from Epigenetic Labs provides you one of the most “bioavailable” forms of turmeric due to its unique fermentation process; this means your body experiences the maximum benefits of the purest, most potent turmeric available!
- Spice Up Your Life With Turmeric
- How turmeric can prevent cancer
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- Inflammation and cancer.
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents differ in their ability to suppress NF-kappaB activation, inhibition of expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclin D1, and abrogation of tumor cell proliferation.
- Protective effects of curcumin on antioxidant status, body weight gain, and reproductive parameters in male rats exposed to subchronic 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin
- Turmeric – the spice of life
- Anticancer potential of curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies.
- Curcumin and cancer: an “old-age” disease with an “age-old” solution.
- Phase IIa Clinical Trial of Curcumin for the Prevention of Colorectal Neoplasia