In the past decade there has been a great deal of interest and hundreds of studies researching the potential health benefits of curcumin. What researchers know so far is that curcumin contains polyphenols and curcuminoids that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-amyloid properties and may be beneficial in treating a wide range of health conditions.
Traditionally, curcumin has been used for many centuries in India and Asia because of its numerous potential benefits. It has been widely used for food, cosmetic, and medicinal purposes. Curcumin is the active component in turmeric that provides the distinctive bright yellow color to curry and also provides the health benefits of turmeric and turmeric extract.
Potential health benefits of curcumin include the following:
Animal studies suggest that turmeric may lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”) and total cholesterol in the blood. Preliminary human research suggests a possible similar effect in people.
Laboratory and animal studies show anti-inflammatory activity of turmeric and its constituent curcumin. Curcumin may help relieve the pain associated with arthritis by reducing inflammation in the joints.
Turmeric has been used historically to treat rheumatic conditions. Laboratory and animal studies show anti-inflammatory activity of turmeric and its constituent curcumin, which may be beneficial in people with osteoarthritis.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin combine to help keep the heart healthy, scientists speculate. In several studies, patients treated with curcumin showed less plaque buildup in the arteries.
The volatile oils in turmeric seem to offer anti-bacterial protection when applied topically to injuries to the skin.
Tests in laboratory dishes show that curcumin made melanoma skin cancer cells more likely to self-destruct in a process known as apoptosis. The same research team has found that curcumin helped stop the spread of breast cancer tumor cells to the lungs of mice.
Although research is ongoing, and the results are not conclusive, there are many possible curcumin benefits, and it has tremendous potential for health improvement.
How much do you need?
So how much do you need to consume to reap the benefits of curcumin? According to researchers, there are currently no recommendations but most studies used 1200mg of 95% standardized curcumin. Pregnant women and anyone with gallstones should avoid curcumin because it increases bile production.