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Curcumin: The Colorful Nutraceutical

CurcuminJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Medicines derived from plants that have biological or pharmacological activity have played a fundamental role in both ancient and modern medicine. Commonly known as turmeric, this close relative of ginger is a brilliantly colored phytopolyphenol compound isolated from the rhizomes of the Curcuma longa plant. In addition to its culinary uses, turmeric is known to contain a broad spectrum of synergistic pharmacological properties, most notably powerful antioxidant activity, impressive inhibitory effects on proinflammatory cytokines, and the ability to prevent blood platelets from forming clots. For over 4,000 years, turmeric has been utilized in Traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease.

Utilized for both prevention and therapy, turmeric is well-documented as an Ayurvedic treatment for inflammatory skin and bowel conditions and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and hepatic disorders. More than 100 components have been isolated from turmeric, including turmerone, a volatile oil, and flavonoid curcuminoids, which are found to be natural antioxidants comparable to vitamins C and E. Turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimutagenic, antidiabetic, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties, as well as cardio and hepatoprotective pharmacological activities.

The use of turmeric as both a spice and a remedy is known to be safe and non-toxic. The FDA’s own clinical trials determined that turmeric and its active component curcumin is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). While studies are ongoing as to efficacy of curcumin compounds in western medicine, from its centuries-long history we can conclude that turmeric has a host of potential benefits for both daily and long term medicinal usage. A comprehensive review of over 700 studies on turmeric’s health benefits published by ethnobotanist James A. Duke, PhD., concluded that turmeric appeared to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic debilitating diseases with virtually no adverse side effects.

Research suggests that turmeric may be helpful to prevent or alleviate the following:

Osteoarthritis: Studies on the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated improved function, as well as reduced pain and swelling in arthritic conditions. As a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six COX-2-inhibitors, which block the COX-2 enzyme that promotes pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Neurodegenerative conditions: More than 50 studies have shown that turmeric extracts contain multiple natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance believed to be responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric’s powerful antioxidant, circulatory and anti-inflammatory effects may be useful in the prevention or treatment of Parkinson’s and other conditions. Curcumin may also boost levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a brain hormone that increases growth of new neurons and fights degenerative processes in the brain.

Cardiovascular disease: Early studies have shown that turmeric may be helpful in the prevention of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Its anti-clotting compounds may also prevent blood clots from building up on arterial walls. The inner lining of the blood vessels, or the endothelium, is vulnerable to oxidative stress, and endothelium dysfunction can lead to cardiovascular events. Studies suggest that curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may improve endothelial function, thereby supporting proper regulation of blood pressure, blood clotting and other functions.

Indigestion: Turmeric stimulates the gallbladder to produce the bile necessary for digestion and has been shown to reduce gas and bloating. The German Commission E, charged with determining which herbs can be safely prescribed, has approved turmeric for digestive problems.

Ulcerative colitis: Those in remission from ulcerative colitis who supplement with curcumin have been shown to be significantly less likely to have a flare up of symptoms as opposed to those who don’t supplement.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or are taking blood thinning, diabetic, or acid reducing medications, please consult your healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation program.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality formulations in support of overall heath:

Ayur-Curcumin ...Ayur-Curcumin (Turmeric) by Douglas Laboratories: One capsule provides 300 mg of curcuma longa standardized to 90% curcumin in support of joint and tissue function. Gluten, wheat, yeast, soy, dairy, sugar and artificial ingredient free.


Curcumin 500 with...Curcumin 500 with Bioperine® by Pure Encapsulations®: One capsule provides 500 mg of curcuma longa standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids in support of healthy liver, colon, and musculoskeletal function and a healthy inflammatory response. The addition of Bioperine® black pepper extract helps to enhance the bioavailability and absorption of curcumin. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


C3 Curcumin ComplexC3 Curcumin Complex® by Designs for Health: C3 Curcumin Complex provides a unique patented composition of three bioactive, health promoting curcuminoids in support of the body’s natural processes. Gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Liposomal CurcuminLiposomal Curcumin by DaVinci Laboratories of Vermont: This C3 Complex® with liposomal delivery has been clinically shown to provide antioxidant, brain, cardiovascular, digestive and immune support. Non-GMO formulation.


Curcumin Topical...Curcumin Topical Cream by Neurobiologix: This topical cream applied directly to the skin helps to reduce inflammation, provides free radical protection and supports arterial and whole body health.


Curcumin. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/curcumin#section=Top
Turmeric, the Golden Spice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
Pharmacological Activities of Turmeric (Curcuma longa linn): A Review. https://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/pharmacological-activities-of-turmeric-curcuma-longa-linn-a-review-2167-1206.1000133.php?aid=18775
3 Reasons to Eat Turmeric. https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/3-reasons-to-eat-turmeric/
Medicinal and pharmacological properties of Turmeric (Curcuma longa): A review. http://www.academia.edu/10986107/Medicinal_and_pharmacological_properties_of_Turmeric_Curcuma_longa_A_review
Turmeric Overview. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric
Endothelial Dysfunctions: Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Therapy, and Outcome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1993955/



The Impressive Health Benefits of Turmeric

TurmericJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

Medicinal herbs that promote healing and support health have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese, Indian and Ayurvedic medicine.  Turmeric is freely used in Indian cuisine and is responsible for the yellow color of curries.  Research shows that elderly villagers in India, who consume turmeric daily, have some of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s disease.  The advantages of turmeric and its chief active component, curcumin, are almost too numerous to list.  Curcumin contains curcuminoid polyphenols, which are the primary antioxidants and anti-inflammatories found in the turmeric root.  These antioxidant properties are the reason for the majority, but not all of the health benefits associated with turmeric.   

A member of the ginger family, brightly colored turmeric was first cultivated in the Himalayan region as early as 3000 B.C.  In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has a low glycemic index, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar.  It contains health benefiting essential fatty acids, healthy levels of vitamin B6, choline, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin C, and good amounts of minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc and magnesium.  On the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) scale, turmeric is considered the fourth most antioxidant rich herb.

Curcuminoids boost the levels of the body’s own potent antioxidants known as glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase, all critical to limiting oxidative stress-related damage to body organ systems.  Its anti-inflammatory properties are considered strong enough to greatly reduce or eliminate chronic inflammation and reset the anti-inflammatory behavior at the cellular level.  The many studies that have been done on turmeric generally involve using turmeric extracts that are standardized to include large amounts of curcumin. 

After reviewing 700 studies, Duke University concluded that turmeric appears to have profound effects on certain chronic debilitating diseases without adverse side effects. 

  • Arthritis – The more than 2 dozen anti-inflammatory compounds found in turmeric include Cox-2 inhibitors, which effectively and selectively block the Cox-2 enzymes that cause pain, swelling and inflammation.  Studies show that this multi-faceted herb has demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms by decreasing overall pain and stiffness.    
  • Alzheimer’s disease – Curcumin has been shown to exhibit neuroprotective properties due to its antioxidant capabilities and its ability to stimulate neuron growth and repair synapses.  More than 50 studies reviewed by Duke indicate that turmeric contains natural agents, which block the formation of plaques that slowly destroy cerebral function.  Curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and has been found to boost Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), a brain hormone which increases the growth of new neurons, aiding in the fight against degenerative brain diseases. 
  • Heart Disease – Curcumin is believed to improve the lining of the blood vessels known as  endothelial function.  Endothelial dysfunction is considered a major component of heart disease, as the endothelium aids in blood pressure regulation and blood clotting.  Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also play a role in improved function.  An Ohio State University study found that curcumin contributed to heart health by reducing high levels of triglycerides and increasing levels of nitric oxide, which may help lower blood pressure. 
  • Anti-aging – As inflammation and oxidation are believed to play a role in the development of chronic disease, curcumin has beneficial anti-aging or longevity properties.  As one of the most important herbs for health, turmeric is one of nature’s most effective anti-inflammatories, aiding in the fight against age-related disease. 

For optimal absorption of curcumin, combine it with foods that contain healthy fats such as coconut or olive oil.  Adding some black pepper also enhances the uptake.  To get the full benefits of turmeric, consider supplementing with an extract that contains a significant amount (95%) of curcuminoids, as it difficult to get the full effects from diet alone.  As part of an overall healthy lifestyle plan that includes regular exercise, stress reduction, supplementation and an anti-inflammatory diet, adding this spice to daily meals can be a valuable addition indeed.

Turmero Active (K-75...Turmero Active (K-75) by Apex Energetics features a concentrated source of curcuminoids (95%) that provides 400 mg per serving of turmeric extract.  Black pepper fruit extract is added for enhanced absorbability.  This product is packaged with a syringe, enabling specific serving needs. 
Meriva-SR Curcumin Phytosome (SF775)
Meriva-SR Curcumin Phytosome (SF775) by Thorne Research provides a highly bioavailable curcumin/phosphatidylcholine complex in a unique patented time-release formula.  Provides 1 gram per serving (2 capsules). 
Curcumin by Pure Encapsulations provides 20 mg of turmeric standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids for broad support in maintaining a healthy inflammatory response. 
Curcumin Topical CreamCurcumin Topical Cream by Neurobiologix provides a curcumin extract that can be applied topically on the arch of the soles of the feet to increase systemic curcumin levels in the body.  This product may also be applied to the temples or behind the ear.  Careful application is necessary as natural curcumin pigments will stain clothing and fabric.