Turmeric is touted as one of the best nutritional supplements. Turmeric is a cousin to ginger. Most of its benefits are linked to curcumin, which is the main active ingredient in turmeric.
Important to know: Most studies showing the benefits of turmeric use extracts, not the spice. You may need to seek out highly concentrated supplements in order to see significant benefits. Curcumin becomes more effective when taken with piperine (exists in black pepper).
Benefits of Turmeric
1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Turmeric/Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory. Some studies suggest that curcumin is as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs without the side effects.
2. Antioxidative Effects
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and also boosts the body’s natural antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which are responsible for aging and many chronic diseases.
3. Improved Brain Function
Curcumin helps to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which acts like a growth hormone in the brain. This suggests that curcumin can be beneficial in preventing and treating brain diseases, however more studies need to be done to confirm this. Increasing your BDNF levels can improve memory and overall brain function.
4. Helpful in Preventing and Treating Medical Conditions
With the anti-inflammatory and antioxidative benefits of turmeric/curcumin, it’s clear that this supplement can help with preventing and treating many medical conditions. Common diseases that would be targeted are osteoarthritis, hypertension, heart disease, depression, and even cancer.
The information on how much turmeric to consume is still highly variable in studies, making it difficult to give a proper recommendation. You are more likely to see benefits by using a turmeric/curcumin extract from a reputable company rather than by using a spice from the grocery store. Do some research before you buy the first turmeric supplement you see.
Corey Hall, PT, DPT