What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is a compound of turmeric. An active compound, curcumin is a polyphenol which gives this popular Indian spice a glowing yellow shade. Apart from being a dietary supplement, it is also a food colorant. Turmeric has descended from the Curcuma longa plant, which belongs to the same family as the ginger. From the rhizomes of the plant, turmeric is extracted from the stem that remains below the ground.
Historical Uses of Curcumin
Curcumin ( and turmeric) was traditionally used as a medicine in Ayurveda since 1900 BCE. Growing wild in South Asia and the Himalayas, it was used topically and internally for curing numerous conditions. It is held to be anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant.
Benefits of Curcumin
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
Curcumin boosts neurotrophic factor linked to enhanced brain function and this lowers chances of brain diseases. These neurons are known for forming fresh connections due to this factor. The neurons can multiple and rise in numbers. BDNF is the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. It is a growth hormone that functions within the brain. Curcumin increases BDNF brain levels and reduces brain disorders that have been linked to lowered levels of this hormone. It delays or even reverses brain diseases.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Curcumin also lowers the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases. Heart disease process can be reversed due to this compound, which has improved the function of endothelium, blood vessel lining.The malfunctioning of the endothelial lining is the major and crucial factor to influence heart disease. Regulate blood pressure, clotting and other important factors using this compound. Another factor is that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory curcumin has benefits for warding off heart diseases. It is a potent substance that lowers the likelihood of experiencing heart attacks.
Prevents and Eliminates Cancer
Cancer is an autoimmune disorder which is linked to uncontrolled cell growth dysfunction. Many different forms of cancer appear to be warded off by curcumin supplements. It prevents cancer growth and development as well as spread. Studies have shown that metastasis and angiogenesis are reduced by this as well. Contributing to the death of cancer cells, it also prevents the growth of tumor in various studies. Cancers of the digestive system such as colon cancer are also averted due to curcumin ingestion. Curcumin also aids the chemotherapy process.
Treats Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegeneration of the brain. Curcumin is a bioactive substance that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Building up of protein tangles, Amyloid plaques is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This bioactive compound clears these plaques.
Arthritis is a common problem and inflammation to the joints are a consequence of this. Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory substance. This is a common disorder with joint inflammation and curcumin plays an important role in curing the disorder.
Wards off Depression
Treating depression is facilitated using curcumin. Curcumin was found in studies to be similar to Prozac. Depression has been associated with brain-derived neurotrophic factor and a withering of the hippocampus. The latter is the brain area associated with memory and learning. This turmeric substance boosts the generation of the hormone and neurotransmitter dopamine and serotonin.
Anti-aging supplementation involves the use of curcumin. Oxidation and inflammation play a role in aging and because this compound is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it works to tap the fountain of youth.
For lowering blood glucose levels and reversing insulin resistance, turmeric can work wonders. Studies have found that curcumin in turmeric is four hundred times more potent than Metformin. This activates insulin sensitivity to reverse Type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance and hyperglycemia can also be treated through this compound.
Human Digestive System Influenced by Curcumin
People with digestive issues can avoid the side effects of medication by opting for curcumin. A strong anti-inflammatory compound, curcumin is perfect for dealing with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Fighting Oxidative Stress
It also helps to fend off oxidative stress which damages the inner part of the blood vessels. Anti-cholesterol drugs such as statin work equally well, but they lead to numerous side effects. Apart from this, it addresses oxidative stress which is causing the high blood sugar and inflammatory condition.
The ability to manage pain is one of the biggest healing properties of curcumin. This substance found in turmeric activates the opioid system and serves as a natural analgesic and pain reliever. Rather than opting for dangerous opioids and NSAIDs, severe burns can be treated using curcumin, according to the US Army Institute for Surgical Research. Use of this compound-rich plant is becoming popular because it is a natural painkilling agent as against conventional medicines. Curcumin also helps in treating chronic inflammation as a result of which it is an effective pain blocking agent.
Allergies and asthma have been on the increase and this compound can help by reducing the release of histamine from mast cells. The inflammation and bronchospasmodic fits experienced by asthma patients can also be undone through the use of curcumin.
Kills Bacterial Infections
National Centre for Biodefence and Infectious Diseases is studying the impact of this compound on different types of viruses. Curcumin is thought to have antibacterial and antiviral properties and research studies have pointed to this direction.
Fends off Fatigue
Fatigue can be the result of lifestyle problems or underlying medical problems such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or fibromyalgia. Curcumin supplements can lower fatigue, more so among the elderly.
Curcumin has also been found to be effective in the treatment for Parkison’s disease which is associated with protein clumping. It prevents the further intensification of symptoms.
Curcumin has also been found to be effective in treating a genetic condition called cystic fibrosis. Some research has found the curcumin prevents abnormal protein folds that cause pain in this medical condition. Further linkages between this disorder and a cure using this compound are being explored.
Natural and Potent Anti-inflammatory Compound
While short-term inflammation is critical for fighting foreign invaders and repairing damage, chronic or long-term inflammation can damage the own tissues of the human body. Chronic, low-level inflammation is known as the root cause of many conditions such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, metabolic syndrome and varying neurodegenerative diseases. Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory which targets various steps in the inflammatory pathway at a molecular stage.
Blocking molecule NF-kB that reaches the nuclei of the cells and turns on genes pertaining to inflammation, curcumin prevents diseases. NF-kB is a critical molecule that is associated with chronic diseases.This bioactive substance fends off inflammation at the level of the molecule. It also inhibits molecules that play a key role in inflammation.It also prevents the expression of inflammatory gene product. An enzyme called COX-2 associated with inflammation is also downregulated by curcumin. It also inhibits another pro-inflammatory enzyme called 5-LOX and prevents the expression of inflammation linked cell surface molecular offering adhesion. A pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF is also prevented from generation by this compound. A cytokine is a cell which signals protein molecular structures.
It also inhibits another pro-inflammatory enzyme called 5-LOX and prevents the expression of inflammation linked cell surface molecular offering adhesion. A pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF is also prevented from generation by the turmeric compound. A cytokine is a cell which signals protein molecular structures.
Oxidation causes damage associated with several diseases. Free radicals result in oxidative damage. What is a free radical? It is a highly reactive molecule with electrons that are not paired. Free radicals interact with fatty acids, DNA or protein. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that is beneficial because it prevents the body from generating free radicals. It is a compound that neutralizes the chemical structure of the free radicals. Antioxidant enzymes are also produced by it.
Conditions It Cures
- Digestive Problems
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Stomach Ulcers
- Heart Disease
- Bacterial and viral diseases
Research has shown that curcumin helps to promote healthy brain functions, reduce inflammation and free radical stress thereby promoting good heart health and providing relief from painful joints.
If you are being treated by any of the blood thinners or drugs that reduce stomach acid, curcumin is not recommended.
Using turmeric in cooking is likely to be safe. But large doses of this compound can cause stomach pain, nausea, indigestion. It can also cause ulceration due to increasing the stomach acid.
Gall Bladder and Kidney
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce excessive bile to improve digestion. But this means people with gallstones or other such conditions that block the passage of bile can suffer from ingestion of this polyphenol rich susbtance. According to the American Cancer society, people with gall bladder conditions should not take curcumin without consulting the doctor. The risk of kidney stones will rise if the turmeric is over ingested as well. A study found that participants who took higher turmeric content had more urinary oxalate levels binding with calcium and forming kidney stones.
According to some medical experts, curcumin can stimulate the uterus, encouraging the uterine lining to break apart increasing the chances of miscarriage. Pregnant women should, therefore, consult their doctors before taking it.
Signs of possible side effects due to curcumin ingestion include:
- Stomach Ulcers
- Stomach pain
Factors Influencing Side Effects
- Dosage(high versus low)
- Terms of administration
- Co-administered drugs and supplements
Check with your doctor, if the therapeutic benefit of curcumin ingestion is outweighed by the side effects. From bloating to indigestion, it can cause a lot of problems if taken in excess or with the wrong medication. If you want to take the compound for its capacity to heal health problems, be sure you can tolerate it. If you are experiencing mild side effects and continued benefits, supplementation may be beneficial.
Opt for discontinuation if low or divided doses do not work. In the end analysis what matters is that you should be benefiting this bioactive, polyphenol rich compound,
Curcumin is beneficial in a number of ways. It is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory bioactive compound in turmeric which has been used for warding off cancer, healing wounds, pain management, improvement of cardiovascular and digestive health and many other benefits. Tap these advantages and use it for a healthy and vibrant life.