Turmeric is a spice that has been used for thousands of years and is recognized for its medicinal properties that comes from the curcumin polyphenol that is found in turmeric and aids in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions.
Curcumin vs turmeric
Curcumin is the extract out of turmeric root which contains the anti-inflammatory properties that make turmeric root so popular. But curcumin and turmeric are not the same, so what is the difference between turmeric and curcumin? Only 3-5 % of the turmeric root is curcumin and it is the curcumin that contains the anti-inflammatory properties which is why curcumin powder is way more effective at reducing inflammation than just turmeric root or turmeric powder.
How much curcumin to take?
A general recommended dose for using curcumin is 1000 mg or 1 g which would be nearly impossible to achieve through turmeric powder or root therefore to experience the benefits of curcumin a pure extract of curcumin powder is best.
Curcumin have been approved by the FDA as generally recognized as safe with good tolerability and safety even at higher doses between 4000 and 8000 mg/day.
Curcumin is a fat-soluble nutrient so to improve absorption and bioavailability of curcumin it is best to mix curcumin powder with healthy fats such as coconut milk, in curries with coconut cream, in homemade salad dressings, chocolates or mixed with coconut oil when cooking stir-fries. Pure curcumin powder even blends beautifully in your morning coffee with some cream or MCT oil.
Mixing curcumin with piperine which is a component of black pepper has been associated with an increase in bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. Therefore using curcumin powder in a curry or salad dressing with black pepper is a great way to use food as medicine and enhance the bioavailability of curcumin.
Mixing curcumin powder with phosphatidylcholine will provide a liposomal delivery system to give curcumin powder optimal absorption, bioavailability and delivery inside the cells.
Curcumin for inflammation
The balancing act of managing inflammation is crucial for maintaining a healthy body. Inflammation is not all but bad as inflammation plays a role in the healing response and immune system response but chronic inflammation that is never calmed down or turned off is very detrimental to the body and is at the root of many chronic inflammatory conditions.
Inflammation has been identified in the development of many chronic conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimers, metabolic syndrome, parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease cancer, allergies, colitis, psoriasis, obesity, depression fatigue and autoimmune conditions.
Now that’s a long list if conditions but the implications of chronic inflammation are far reaching throughout the body and curcumin has been shown to help reduce inflammation primarily due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
A healthy inflammatory response is beneficial for the body as inflammation is a healing response by the body to help the body fight pathogens such as bacteria and viruses or by improving blood flow to repair an injury such as a cut or sprained ankle. This is a healthy inflammatory response, but inflammation becomes very problematic when chronic inflammation is always present in the body thus wreaking havoc and damaging body tissues.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and has been shown to match the effectiveness of some NSAIDS without side effects…. Although take note that the amount of curcumin used in this study was in higher dosages than just 1000 mg or the general recommended dosage.
Curcumin also acts as an antioxidant that helps to protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress. If oxidative stress builds up in the body and is not offset by antioxidants such as curcumin inflammation can elevate.
The presence of excess oxidative stress inhibits many important beneficial functions in the body such as detoxification and the MTRR gene which is important for recycling homocysteine and involved in the production of SAMe ….. a very important methyl donor that supports over 200 other functions in the body. Thus curcumin works on so many levels due to its anti-oxidant properties and ability to neutralize reactive oxygen species that cause tissue damage.
Curcumin helps to boost your body's antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase…2 very important enzymes that work to neutralize and reduce free radicals in the body and thus reduce inflammation.
Due to the combination of curcumins antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it can help to improve inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, colitis, joint pain osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome, and many other inflammatory health conditions.