Happy Friday Friends!
Forgive me for the shorter post tonight but the beautiful evening caught my attention and pulled me outside for a late night walk.
I do have an interesting topic though and it’s also just as sunny…looking.
If you didn’t know, curcumin is the phytonutrient that gives turmeric it’s yellow-orange colour and it’s become quite buzz worthy lately for a number of reasons
Although turmeric has been used for decades in other cultures (Indian especially) for healing and other medicinal purposes, we tend to be a bit slow to hop on the whole ‘natural healing’ thing here so curcumin is only getting some spotlight now.
So what things are scientists interested in with this compound?
~Treatment of Alzheimers
~Chronic disease related to inflammation
….and many others
How does it combat these illnesses?
Apparently one of it’s major properties is that it interferes with some cell signalling pathways, so for things like cancer, getting in the way of pathways that include apoptosis, metastasis, proliferation, etc could make a beneficial differences in the cancer cell invasion in the body (source).
So it is said that it does all these things, is there actually research supporting these benefits?
What does the research say?
A 2007 review done that highlighted some of the current research discussed how studies have found that curcumin is quite potent in a a number of the above problems. Here are a few findings mentioned:
Suppresses inflammatory transcription factors
Inhibitory effect on specific tutor growth in mice
Neuroprotective roles from metal-induced neurotoxicity
Potent antioxidant roles –> interferes with the formation rate of hydroxyl free-radicals
So it seems as though the research is looking quite positive but there is a big question to answer…
Can I just eat it and get the benefits?
I’m sure that including it in some dishes (great seasoning, especially along with other Indian spices) can be beneficial but the studies that have looked into the effects of this spice have been using clinical doses which are probably much more then what you would simply sprinkle on a dish.
So overall, probably you need some capsules if you really want to test it’s effects. There was a problem initially with using it as it’s lack of water solubility made it very difficult to absorb due to having a poor bioavailabliilty in the body. However, with some lab time, scientists have been able to overcome the problem with man-made derivatives (often found in capsule form). (Source)
Other interesting findings is that some compounds also help with its absorption. One I found was the substance called peperine (comes from black pepper). (Source)
So do I need it?
Well no, it’s not a necessary thing to run out and get but I thought it was interesting to share because it could help in future treatments of major disease, whether alone or in combination with other treatments. The great thing is that IT’S NATURAL and thus has not been associated with any negative consequences even in supradoses. Additionally, it’s obviously much more cost effective then pharmacological drugs (which also tend to ruin your health while fixing one issue).
So more of an interesting tidbit, but hey, if you want to see if it helps with healing post-training if you’re hitting the gym intensely or are an athlete, send your results my way as I would love to hear them.