Health Benefits of Turmeric as a Natural Supplement

Many who follow trends in the supplement industry will know that Turmeric is the hottest product on the market today (no pun intended!).

But What Is Turmeric?

The second edition of the book entitled Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects by CRC Press gives a good read on Turmeric and the U.S. National Library of Health Bookshelf highlights some of its content especially the chapter where turmeric is referred to as “the golden spice” and there discusses a lot of the health benefits of turmeric as a natural supplement.

Turmeric is derived from natural plant products used throughout our human history for health and medicinal purposes, and most popularly used by the holistic practitioners of India (Ayurveda), who turn to plant-based supplements and medications to treat most ailments. For medicinal use, turmeric dates back at least 4000 years. It is a common and native tropical Southeast Asian spice. An essential ingredient for curry dishes, this yellow powder is well pronounced in smell and taste; bitter, a bit acrid, and quite sweet to the taste. It is otherwise known as “Indian Saffron” and as a supplement used in extracted form, it is referred to as Curcumin.

What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?

Over 3000 publications give credence to the contribution of turmeric to modern medicine and these just cover the last 25 years. It is interesting to know that early history records one of the earliest prescription of turmeric for relieving negative effects of food poisoning in the body and this is way back in 250 BC!

A 2013 report discloses a number of potential therapeutic uses for curcumin, some of which are Cancer Therapies for colorectal cancer (the second leading cancer death in the U.S.), Pancreatic Cancer (fourth cause of cancer death worldwide), Breast Cancer (second cause of cancer death among women), Prostate Cancer, and Lung Cancer. It also has potential benefits for those with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Peptic Ulcer, Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Lupus Nephritis, Diabetes, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, and even Alcohol Intoxication.

bone and joint health with Turmeric and curcumin extractGood news for those who suffer chronic inflammation of either one or more joints! Studies indicate that turmeric or curcumin consumption can help people with joint and arthritis issues. It is used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. If you have gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Try dosing up on curcumin supplements. Combine it with exercise combinations and modifications in lifestyle, and see improvements firsthand. One study conducted recorded that 18 participants with rheumatoid arthritis were administered with curcumin which their bodies tolerated well with no adverse effects. Improvement was noticed by these 18 patients and in another study of 45 participants, improvements were also noticed.  [Curcumin is the core ingredient in our new bone and joint formula, which you can read about here] and [with more emphasis on the glucosamine / chondroitin content, here]

The Arthritis Foundation of Georgia, USA highlights turmeric as a cleansing agent and inflammatory enzyme blocker which pain medications like Celecoxib functions as. Curcumin enhances the immune system and on a longer period helps effectively reduce or prevent joint inflammation. A 2010 study administered Meriva supplements in 100 patients who suffer from knee OA and did better to reduce pain and swelling as compared with NSAID and Diclofenac. 

The foundation recommends 400 to 600 milligrams of Curcumin 3 times a day or .5 to 1 gram of powdered root daily. Arthritic conditions may require two doses of 500 milligram each daily. LiveStrong on the other hand recommends 250 to 500 milligram doses at three times each day. Capsules are freeze-dried and are preferred over tablet forms because tablets undergo heating and stabilizers are added. This reduces potency.

Turmeric in Food

There are many ways to incorporate turmeric into your daily diet. . Make some scrambled eggs or frittatas and sprinkle some powder on top. Roast some veggies like potatoes and cauliflower and sprinkle some on them. Scatter some turmeric into rice grains while cooking them. Put some in your vegetable soup. Blenderize some fruit and veggie smoothies and put some turmeric in before processing the concoction. Prepare salad dressings with olive oil, pepper, turmeric, and salt mix.

Some Precautions

The University of Maryland Medical Center gives some caution to using turmeric. Though generally safe, some side effects may be observed and consumption may interact with other medicines, supplements, and herbs being taken. Observe your body for certain reactions when you first take it and check if it’s compatible with your routinary diet. Consult with a health professional first should you suffer from a pre-existing condition or medical problem like diabetes, heart problems, and etc.

Large amounts of turmeric for an extended period of time may trigger digestive problems like stomach upset and acidity. Turmeric tends to lower sugar levels in the blood so when taken by diabetics, this may trigger hypoglycemia. It also acts as a blood thinner so you may most probably need to discontinue use at least two weeks before undergoing surgery. Be sure to disclose this to your doctor before the procedure is scheduled. Else you may be at risk for bleeding. Turmeric coupled with blood thinners like Warfarin, Aspirin, and Plavix may strengthen blood thinning effects. It may also interact with Ranitidine, Pepcid and other stomach acidity medications.

Turmeric in Recent News

In Time Magazine’s January 2017 article, Amanda MacMillan casts doubts on the efficacy of turmeric and disputes the benefits it claims to provide. Basing from the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry January 2017 publication, the article goes on to say that the benefits may actually be limited since turmeric has been found difficult to be absorbed by the body. The new research though does not consider much of the documentation made on clinical studies which resulted in a positive view of turmeric’s health properties.

Firsthand testimonies cannot be refuted as well. Take Victoria Stewart for example. She is a breast cancer survivor and has been cancer-free for four years as of her Huffington Post interview in 2012. She switched from regular medicines to a diet of superfood mix and turmeric and that is what she credits her good health condition to.

Bottomline is this, each body is different and people react to substances differently. Try it for yourself and see how it will affect and benefit you. It is a natural substance anyway. With the right dosage and the right type of food or capsule preparation, you have all to gain and nothing to lose. 

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