What is Curcumin?
You have probably come across a spice called Turmeric before and used it in many of your meals. Curcumin is the yellow pigment that gives Turmeric its color; it is also associated with curry spice and a little bit with ginger. Curcumin is a type of compound called curcuminoids which are often found in the root of turmeric plant. Turmeric can either be used whole and fresh or dried and pounded into a powder. The Turmeric itself only contains about 2-4% of the desirable curcuminoid compound called curcumin. This is why curcumin is often sold in the form of supplements made of concentrated extracts.
Turmeric has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for years. However, modern science has revealed that it is the curcumin compound in the turmeric that gives the health benefits and this has led to the commercial production of curcumin with black pepper supplements in the form of powders and capsules. Unlike the whole turmeric, the curcumin supplement contains little or no contaminants at all making it much more potent in its use.
Curcumin has the potent anti-inflammatory effect on the human body. These anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial since they protect the body against some forms of cancer progression. Besides being anti-inflammatory, Curcumin also has additional anti-cancer effects that are currently under heavy research for both cancer prevention and treatment. There have been a couple of successful clinical trials but there is still some way to go before it can be labelled a cure for cancer.
Curcumin is also a potent anti-oxidant. The effects of inflammation and oxidation are known to cause quite a number of health problems and progress the effects of aging. Curcumin helps to alleviate cognitive decline associated with age such as Alzheimer’s, improving heart health by reducing the lipid and plaque levels in the arteries. Research has also shown that curcumin can reduce the risk of diabetes and is a great treatment for the side effects of diabetes.
In general, curcumin has poor oral bioavailability. In order to increase what is absorbed from what is consumed, it is advisable to take supplements that have been enhanced with other agents that enhance the absorption of the compound such as piperine extracted from black pepper. The only time you do not need to pair curcumin with an enhancement is when you need the colon anti-inflammatory benefits.
You should consume the recommended dosage of curcumin, which is currently set at a maximum of 8 grams a day. In case you are on any other kind of medication, consult your doctor before taking the supplement.