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Curcumin - Wiki Page


What is curcumin?

Curcumin refers to the active compound found in the Turmeric root, botanically known as Curcuma longa and a member of the Zingiberaceae, or ginger family. Most research focuses on the curcumin constituents found in turmeric, but the root has been used traditionally as a remedy for various diseases including gallbladder and liver conditions, low appetite, cough, rheumatism, and sinusitis, especially in the Ayurvedic tradition of Indian origin.

In recent times, the biological and pharmacological actions of curcumin have been established and include its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticoagulant, anti-microbial, and hypotensive activity. Curcumin supplements are perhaps most targeted toward reducing inflammation systemically and therefore assisting with pain relief.

Curcumin primarily affects inflammation through inhibition of the arachidonic acid cascade including involvement in major inflammatory pathways such as phospholipase, lipo-oxygenase, COX-2, leukotrienes, thromboxane, prostaglandins, and nitric oxide.

Curcumin is a safe, promising, natural antioxidant, and having a wide range of biological functions makes it a useful supplement for a range of conditions, but predominantly those associated with pain and inflammation.

What is curcumin used to treat?

Curcumin is often used to treat any condition associated with inflammation, as it can help alleviate some of the pain resulting from this. Recent studies have elucidated its ability to inhibit inflammatory cell proliferation and is therefore useful in treating mild osteoarthritis, where it has been shown to be particularly successful. Along with many other conditions resulting in chronic systemic inflammation like blood-sugar resistance issues, certain neurodegenerative diseases, and many skin conditions.

Most of the research supports the use of Curcumin in mild osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the joint affecting aging populations worldwide.  Due to its underlying inflammatory cause, curcumin has demonstrated the prevention of apoptosis of chondrocytes, suppression of proteoglycan release, as well as involvement in inflammatory mediators such as cyclooxygenase and prostaglandin expression, and inflammatory cytokines in chondrocytes. As such, studies repeatedly show reduced use of concomitant analgesics and side-effects during treatment.

Digestive disorders are also a growing field of study in the area of curcumin supplementation, where abdominal discomfort may be decreased and symptoms significantly improved in conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and a range of Inflammatory Bowel diseases. This is due to a range of actions, not least of all its anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and immune-modulatory properties, which help address the progressive damage to the gut caused by aberrant inflammatory responses of the microbiome.

Are turmeric and curcumin the same thing?

Yes is the short answer, turmeric refers to the entire plant or more correctly, the root. Whereas Curcumin is the active constituent extracted to make the curcumin supplement and is essentially the therapeutic agent of the Turmeric.

What are the side effects of curcumin?

Curcumin is by and large a very safe spice to use even at therapeutic doses. In a small percentage of people, it may cause some gastrointestinal upset, but will subside once the supplement is stopped, or dosage adjusted. It is generally best tolerated when taken with food.

What are the benefits of curcumin?

Reducing Inflammation is one of the primary benefits of curcumin, with such a broad mechanism of action this means it is useful for any number of conditions where chronic inflammation and pain is associated. A large number of studies has elucidated curcumin’s ability to target multiple inflammatory pathways including its role as an inhibitor of the arachidonic acid cascade, as well as via phospholipase, lipo-oxygenase, COX-2, leukotrienes, thromboxane, prostaglandins, nitric oxide, collagenase, elastase, hyualuronidase, and TNF-alpha mediation, amongst others. Another mechanism which is thought to support the anti-inflammatory activity of Curcumin, is its ability to increase Nitric Oxide levels, therefore increasing vasodilation. This can help to improve localized pain by increasing blood flow and vasodilation.

Improving joint mobility and reducing mild aches and pains in mild osteoarthritis is one of the benefits resulting from Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory action. Curcumin has been shown to significantly reduce pain scores in patients with mild osteoarthritis, as well as reducing negative impacts of mild osteoarthritis on social function.

Providing a significant antioxidant boost through its curcuminoid content improves antioxidant status in the body, providing a protective environment against oxidation, free-radicals, and inflammatory states. It not only exerts free-radical scavenging activity but appears to increase the activity of endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione. Curcuminoids have also been shown to help optimize liver function through enhancement of phase 2 detoxification, as well as sequestering hepatic and serum iron, as iron is an oxidative element to the liver, curcumin may provide further hepatic protection.

Does Curcumin Require Black Pepper or Piperine for absorption?

Whilst most supplements may add Piperine to aid in the absorption of Curcumin so that its therapeutic benefits are felt, the spice can also be just as well absorbed by adding a phospholipid component to the molecule. It is also one of the reasons to take your curcumin supplement with a food, as the lipid or fat component of the meal will aid its absorption.


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