The benefits of curcumin
My motorcycle tour around Rajasthan in India last year was a feast for my senses, including of course my taste buds. Most curry recipes contain the brilliant yellow spice turmeric. It has also been amainstay of Indian Ayurvedic medicine where it is used for its antiinflammatory, antioxidant and immune supporting qualities. I use it in supplements mostly for its antiinflammatory function and it can be helpful for those with osteoarthritis.
The active ingredient in turmeric is the yellow pigment curcumin which makes up about 5 per cent of turmeric powder. While the benefits of curcumin have been part of Indian healing for centuries, it is now the focus of Western scientific research.
Scientists have identified the potent anti-inflammatory capacity of curcumin, noting that it acts on the same pathways as many common anti-inflammatory drugs without the common side effects.
An excellent study titled “Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis” (Henrotin et al, Springerplus 2013) investigated the application of curcumin in osteoarthritis. The study concluded “curcumin represents a new paradigm since it is not yet a recommended intervention in OA but should be considered based on its safety and efficacy”.
The study outlines the impact of curcumin on several antiinflammatory pathways, including inhibiting the highly inflammatory enzyme COX-2. This enzyme is the target of most anti-inflammatory drugs and while effective, these drugs come with a range of side effects. There are a number of products available now that use high potency curcumin extracts rather than straight turmeric. This is much more effective than turmeric alone. Just 200mg of 95 per cent curcumin is like having a full teaspoon of turmeric. Curcumin is especially effective when combined with high grade chondroitin and glucosamine. Feel free to call me with questions.
John Arts (B.Soc.Sci, Dip Tch, Adv.Dip.Nut.Med) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health Ltd. For personalised advice, contact John on 0800 423559 or email email@example.com. Join his full weekly newsletter at www.abundant.co.nz.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.