What is it?
Curcumin is a yellow pigment and active ingredient found in turmeric root, which may ring a bell due to its use in Ayurvedic medicine. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties which have shown their benefits especially in cancer and chronic diseases. Curcumin also has anti-cancer properties that aren’t related to its anti-inflammatory effects being therefore very studied for this disease.
Curcumin isn’t absorbed well by human body so it’s necessary to use several procedures in order to increase its absortion: special liposoluble preparations, piperine (something which we don’t recommend, since piperine increases intestinal permeability) and consuming it with fatty foods.
Doses up to 8g/day are not related to any adverse events and, as the doses normally used are much lower, we be sure curcumin has a great safety profile.
Benefits of Curcumin:
Antioxidant effect: Curcumin is the most powerful natural antioxidant known nowadays.
Pain control: Curcumin is very effective in pain treatment, no matter whether the pain is rheumatic, post-operative or general. A dose of 500mg of pure curcuminoids is equal to 2000mg of ibuprofen.
Blood pressure: Preliminary evidence suggests that curcumin reduces blood pressure due to its anti-inflammatory effect.
Cariovascular disease: Curcumin reduces triglicerydes, total cholesterol and increases HDL. These three factors are related to lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Anxiety: 1g/day of curcumin notably reduced anxiety in obese women in a well designed study.
Psoriasis: A well designed study showed that, in rats, curcumin is very effective in the treatment of psoriasis. Although there’s lack of human studies, internet is full of stories of people who have seen their psoriasis improve or even disappear thanks to curcumin.
Diabetes: A systematic revision has found that curcumin is effective at reducing hyperglycaemia, insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and destruction of pancreatic cells.
Osteoarthritis: Curcumin is more effective than conventional treatment (NSAIDS) in the treatment of pain and stiffness associated to this disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Curcumin shows same level of benefits than NSAIDS in reducing pain and improving quality of life of RA patients.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: As this disease is tumor necrosis factor mediated, curcumin is highly recommended.
Reduction of inflammation: In laboratory studies, curcumin reduces inflammatory cytokines such tumor necrosis factor and C-reactive protein.
Cancer: Without a doubt this is the disease where curcumin is most promising. For more than 30 years there has been increasing evidence that curcumin blocks metastasis and induces apoptosis of cancer cells. It has been observed that supplementation with curcumin notably reduces the risk of suffering several forms of cancer, especially colon and prostate.
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Crohn’s disease: Curcumin allows to reduce the use of cortisone and other conventional drugs, that may even be ditched by some patients.
Ulcerative Colitis: Five studies have researched the use of curcumin in UC. It is concluded that curcumin increases the time in remission and, combined with 5-asa, is more effective than 5-asa alone.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Although there have been few human studies, an interesting study found improvements in 2 out of 3 IBS patients. Furthermore, its effects on intestinal motility and its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for IBS patients.
Thyroid diseases: Animal studies show that curcumin is able to regulate the activity of the thyroid gland. Therefore, the use of curcumin in patients with hypo and hyper thyroidism is highly recommended.
How to take it?
It depends on the purpose. For a systemic effect (pain control, cardiovascular benefits, diabetes, rheumatic diseases, etc…) it’s necessary to boost the absortion. Three doses between 1000 mg and 3000 mg per day, during meals and with fatty food should be enough.
Method 1: Curcumin with piperine.
Method 2: Curcumin nanoparticles
Method 3: Liposoluble curcumin
For its intestinal anti-inflammatory properties, it will be enough to consume 2000 – 6000 mg/day of non-adulterated curcumin, divided in three doses before meals.
How to improve curcumin’s efficacy?
Curcumin is synergic with other natural anti-inflammatories. Combining curcumin with boswellia, ginger and omega 3 increases their benefits and reduces inflammation and the probability of suffering other diseases such as cancer.
We recommend combining these four products in the treatment of inflammatory conditions:
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Lang, A., Salomon, N., Wu, J. C., Kopylov, U., Lahat, A., Har-Noy, O., … & Kaimakliotis, I. (2015). Curcumin in combination with mesalamine induces remission in patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis in a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 13(8), 1444-1449.
Samanta, L., Panigrahi, J., Bhanja, S., & Chainy, G. B. (2010). Effect of turmeric and its active principle curcumin on T3-induced oxidative stress and hyperplasia in rat kidney: a comparison. Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 25(4), 393-397.
Bundy, R., Walker, A. F., Middleton, R. W., & Booth, J. (2004). Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptomology in otherwise healthy adults: a pilot study. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 10(6), 1015-1018.
Taylor, R. A., & Leonard, M. C. (2011). Curcumin for inflammatory bowel disease: a review of human studies. Altern Med Rev, 16(2), 152-6.
Henrotin, Y., Priem, F., & Mobasheri, A. (2013). Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis: curcumin for osteoarthritis management. Springerplus, 2(1), 56.
Aggarwal, B. B., Gupta, S. C., & Sung, B. (2013). Curcumin: an orally bioavailable blocker of TNF and other pro‐inflammatory biomarkers. British journal of pharmacology, 169(8), 1672-1692.
Zhang, D. W., Fu, M., Gao, S. H., & Liu, J. L. (2013). Curcumin and diabetes: a systematic review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.
Kang, D., Li, B., Luo, L., Jiang, W., Lu, Q., Rong, M., & Lai, R. (2016). Curcumin shows excellent therapeutic effect on psoriasis in mouse model. Biochimie, 123, 73-80.