Health Benefits of Curcumin

Curcumin For Your Health

Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory with many beneficial secondary effects.  The research is so promising that Inner Gate Acupuncture has begun to carry highly potent and tightly regulated curcumin supplements.

Curcumin is an organic compound found in turmeric.  However, turmeric is only about 3% curcumin by weight and is poorly absorbed in the digestive tract.  Therefore, to fully receive the benefits of curcumin it is recommended to take as a potent supplement.

Benefits of Curcumin

  • Anti-Inflammatory: Curcumin acts on several portions of the inflammatory cascade.  Because it blocks multiple steps of the inflammatory pathway it has been shown to be as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs without any side effects.  It is believed that chronic low-level inflammation plays a role is many chronic degenerative diseases.  Curcumin helps reduce this inflammation strongly limiting the impact of degenerative diseases.
     
  • Potent Antioxidant:  Oxidative damage is one of the mechanisms behind disease and aging.  Free radicles, highly reactive particles, cause oxidative damage and if left unaddressed, lead to disease.  Curcumin is a free radicle scavenger.  It destroys free radicles and stimulates the body's innate antioxidant system making it doubly effective in promoting health.
     
  • Neurological Health:  In order for the brain to continue to generate new neurons a hormone called  "brain derived neurotropic factor" is necessary.  Many brain disorders have been associated with decreased levels of this hormone, including depression and Alzheimer's disease.  Curcumin has been shown to increase the  brain's levels of brain derived neurotropic factor and it is thought to play a role in maintaining mental health.
     
  • Heart Disease: Heart disease affects millions of people in the United States.  It turns out that curcumin may play a role in stunting several steps of the heart disease process.  The lining of the blood vessels are important in regulating blood pressure, blood clotting and several other factors.  Studies show that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial regulatory function.  One study shows that it is as effective as exercise, while another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin, a popular cholesterol medication.  The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects discussed above also help promote overall heart health.
  • Alzheimer's: Alzheimer's is a leading cause of dementia affecting our population.  The disease is characterized by brain degeneration and plaque formation in the brain.  Curcumin has been shown to cross the blood brain barrier.  Because of it's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, early research suggests that curcumin may play a promising role in the prevention of Alzheimer's, though more rigorous study needs to be performed to fully evaluate it's potential benefits.
     
  • Depression: Depression is a difficult disease to manage and many patients don't like how anti-depressants make them feel.  Curcumin has performed well in a few small studies showing it may be as effective as some standard depression medications.  Patients taking both curcumin and their regular medications experienced the best results.
     
  • Cancer: Cancer is a disease of uncontrolled growth of cells.  Studies have begun to suggest that curcumin can affect several of the components of cancer's growth and spread.  Curcumin can slow angiogenesis, the process of blood vessel growth that promotes tumor proliferation.  It can prevent metastasis, the spread of cancerous cells to other parts of the body, and influence apoptosis, controlled cell death.  Many of the initial studies performed have been very promising and researchers are now moving forward on studying human populations.
     
  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a disease of the joints.  It involves inflammation and pain.  Because curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory it can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.  Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis has been show to respond well to curcumin supplementation.