Benefits of the Turmeric Extract Curcurmin, or Curcumin
Much research has done lately on the potential health benefits of curcurmin. Curcurmin is a flavonoid found in turmeric, the spice used in many Indian foods that gives it a yellow color (it is a main ingredient of curry powder). Curcurmin has long been used in traditional Indian Aruveydic medicine, but it is only recently that scientific research has started on it in the Western world.
While the benefits of curcurmin are yet to be properly established, the range of potential health benefits from curcurmin are truly amazing.
Curcurmin, it is thought, has anti-inflammatory properties. This could make it useful in pain relief as well as the treatment of other conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular disease, for example. It may also be useful in the treatment of diabetes and osteoporosis.
The anti-inflammatory properties of curcurmin, along with suggested antioxidant benefits, mean it could also have anti-aging benefits and be helpful to overall general health. Curcurmin my also have antiviral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal health benefits.
The Spice Turmeric:
It is also thought that curcurmin may be beneficial in the treatment of a number of cancers.
Curcurmin may also be beneficial to women who suffer from breast cancer as a result of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It was found to slow the growth rate of this type of tumor in rats significantly.
Curcurmin may also be of benefit in cases of multiple myeloma, the blood cancer. Researchers from the University of Texas found that curcurmin stopped the cells in this type of cancer from replicating. It also killed remaining cancer cells. Curcurmin may also be beneficial in counteracting prostate and skin cancers.
Benefits on the Brain:
Another potential health benefit of curcurmin is its affect on the brain. Californian scientist studied the effect of a combination of synthetic curcurmin and vitamin D3 on Alzheimer's disease. It was found that this treatment could stimulate the immune system into cleaning the brain plaques that cause Alzheimer's. In Indian cultures where curcurmin is regularly consumed as part of the diet, incidents of Alzheimer's disease are rare.
Curcurmin has also been shown to act in a similar way to a MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) anti-depressant drug. This stops the dopamine in the brain from breaking down. Treatment for Parkinson's disease is based on similar ways of maintaining dopamine levels in the brain, so curcumin could also be found to be useful in this regard.
Curcurmin is currently being developed to treat burns produced by radiation therapy. Previous research has also shown that it may be helpful in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Potential Problems and Solutions:
While the potential health properties of curcurmin are impressive, there is a potential problem in our reaping the benefits from eating it. We don't absorb curcurmin into our bloodstreams easily. Researchers, however, are looking for potential solutions to this. They are developing 'synthetic curcuminoids' that may be more easily assimilated.
Also, more naturally, piperine (in black pepper) may actually enhance the effects of turmeric, allowing a greater absorption of curcurmin by the body. The Indian cultures who seem to benefit from consumption of turmeric use spice combinations in curries which seem to support this idea.
It is important to remember that the research into the health benefits of curcurmin, or curcumin, are at the moment preliminary. However, many people choose to take curcurmin supplements and, while proper diagnosis and treatment of serious conditions is essential, there is no harm in including more turmeric in your diet. You may well reap the health benefits in the long term.