The ben­e­fits of cur­cumin

Hamilton Metro News - - Health & Wellbeing -

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 john@abun­dant.co.nz. Join his full weekly news­let­ter at www.abun­dant.co.nz.

Turmeric has anti-in­flam­ma­tory and an­tiox­i­dant qual­i­ties.

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