6 Health Benefits from Turmeric (Curcumin)

Short Read

  • Turmeric is a common spice that has been used and revered for thousands of years
  • Turmeric contains many beneficial compounds, but an antioxidant called curcumin appears to provide the most benefits
  • Curcumin has shown to help reduce inflammation, provide antioxidant benefits, and also has benefits in brain, cardiac, and metabolic health.
  • Curcumin isn't easily absorbed, so special formulations are needed to raise blood levels enough to experience the full health benefits observed in clinical research

Tell me More!

We’ve all heard that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but perhaps we need to add a third “food group” into the mix and also aim to eat more spices.  As medical professionals are increasingly looking back to natural foods for their healing properties, they are learning that there are quite a few natural spices that contain potent and healing ingredients.  Amongst the spices, there is one that seems to stand out the most with regards to its safety and potential to address a wide variety of ailments, and that spice is turmeric.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is an Asian spice produced from the Curcuma longa plant, which is closely related to ginger.  The plant has yellow/orange rhizomes (like ginger) that are dried and ground to create a fine yellow powder that is most commonly known for its use in curries and other Asian and Indian dishes. 

Turmeric is also commonly used as a natural yellow food dye in foods like yellow mustard, chicken stock, pickles, and much more.  The spice has been used for thousands of years in cooking and medicine and is even considered sacred among many cultures that use it in religious ceremonies and festivals.

what Makes Turmeric so Special?

Researchers have been looking at turmeric to determine what makes it so special, and have discovered that it contains several phytonutrients and antioxidants with some potent biochemical properties. 

Perhaps the most important of these compounds is an antioxidant called curcumin.  There is a growing body of evidence that shows curcumin exhibits a wide variety of beneficial effects throughout the body.  It is most well-known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects but is even being looked at for its ability to boost the immune system, promote good mental health, and protect the brain and heart. 

This is why we have included curcumin in several of the Pinnaclife Supplements including Joint Health, Mood Support, Sleep Support, and Brain Health.

6 Health Benefits of Curcumin:

  1. Inflammation: Curcumin is an extremely potent antioxidant that reduces inflammation by preventing oxidative damage and by reducing several pro-inflammatory molecules including TNF-α, COX 1 and 2, α1-acid glycoprotein, and myeloid differentiation protein.1–3 It has been shown to have similar efficacy for pain and inflammation as some NSAIDs, without all of the risks.  Almost all diseases have an inflammatory component that contributes to many of the symptoms and complications.  The fact that curcumin can help address inflammation is likely part of the reason it has been shown to be beneficial in so many disease states.

    Curcumin is included in Pinnaclife Joint Health to help address joint pain related to inflammation and arthritis.

  2. Cardiovascular Disease:  Supplementing with curcumin has been linked to improved cholesterol levels (lower LDL and higher HDL), fewer fatty streak lesions in the aorta, decreased peroxidation of LDL cholesterol, and protection from some cardio-toxic anti-cancer treatments.4 Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties provide additional protection against some of the common causes and complications of cardiovascular disease.

    Perhaps you've heard that some NSAID pain medications can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. This is one reason I recommend incorporating heart-healthy curcumin to address inflammation instead of frequent and prolonged use of NSAID medications.

  3. Exercise and Endurance: Curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve recovery time following exercise-induced muscle damage.5  The heart is also a muscle, so the benefits seen in muscles during exercise are also likely behind some of the cardio-protective properties seen with curcumin.
  4. Anti-Cancer / Chemoprevention: Curcumin has been shown to have protective effects against a number of types of cancers, while also protecting cells from chemical induction of cancers with known carcinogens.6–12 The effects are thought to be from a combination of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, DNA-protective, and enzyme inducing effects.13
  5. Brain Health / Neurotransmission / Cognition / Stress: Curcumin has been shown to protect against neurological damage from both free radicals and inflammation.  It has been shown to modulate levels of various neurotransmitters and to increase levels of an important compound that stimulates neuronal growth called "brain-derived neurotrophic factor."14–18

    Curcumin is included in Pinnaclife Brain Health, Mood Support, and Sleep Support because of it's neuroprotective effects as well as regulation of neurotransmitters that help promote feelings of calm and relaxation.

  6. Immune Health: Curcumin has been shown to favorably regulate the activity of immune cells including T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells.  At low doses it was also shown to enhance antibody responses.19

Absorption Problems with Curcumin:20

While we know that you can get curcumin by incorporating more turmeric in your diet, you are not likely to gain all of the benefits of curcumin without the use of special dietary supplements.  One of the major problems with curcumin is that it does not get absorbed very well from the digestive tract.  This means that even when you eat a large amount of turmeric, very little curcumin gets absorbed into your blood stream. Using fresh turmeric root should provide more health benefits than dry powdered spices - especially if the spices have been sitting in your pantry for a long time.

Fun Fact: A compound in black pepper called piperizine increases your body's absorption of curcumin from turmeric. So always be sure to add black pepper when you cook with turmeric!

Supplements that simply use turmeric powder or basic extracts also have limited absorption - special preparations are needed to get significant amounts into the blood stream.  

Improved Absorption of Curcumin

To get the most benefit from curcumin, it is best to use supplements with special preparations that improve the absorption into the blood stream. Pinnaclife supplements incorporate a specially modified type of soluble curcumin that has been shown to be readily absorbed through your digestive tract into the blood stream, delivering the healing properties of curcumin directly to cells throughout your body.

This is a distinguishing feature of the Pinnaclife supplements that makes them unique to many other turmeric or curcumin containing supplements on the market.  We know that simply adding turmeric into our supplements would not provide you with adequate amounts of curcumin, so we made sure to find an ingredient that would meet your needs and deliver results both safely and affordably.

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  • Pinnaclife-science-based-nutrition-kyle-hilsabeck

    Kyle Hilsabeck, PharmD., is the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Affairs at McCord Holdings and licensed by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.  He completed bachelors degrees in biology and biochemistry at Wartburg College before earning his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he completed a community pharmacy practice residency through the University of Iowa where he focused primarily on nutritional aspects of care including the use of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements.  He has taught courses for the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy on vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements and given many presentations on the subject as well.  He has a passion for improving patient care specifically with regards to the safety and quality of the nutritional supplements and health information people use.

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