Turmeric and Curcumin Background
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the spice that gives curry its yellow color, is argued by many to be the most powerful herb on the planet. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in both food and medicine fighting and potentially reversing disease. Turmeric benefits are incredibly vast and very thoroughly researched. Some contend that it not only prevents heart failure but also can repair damage that has already been done. Some of the most common uses for turmeric also include: joint diseases, liver diseases, diabetes, nervous system disorders, kidney function, brain function and diseases. On top of all that, people use it to treat acne as well as other skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
How it Works:
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases. The body is under constant attack from oxidative stress. Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these atoms, called free radicals, scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. Free radicals tend to react and cause damage with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA. The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is that they protect your body from free radicals. Turmeric and curcumin are a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to their chemical structure. In addition, turmeric boosts the activity of your body's own antioxidant enzymes
Aside from containing powerful antioxidants, turmeric also happens to be an anti-inflammatory. Our bodies produce two prostaglandins, cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2, known respectively as COX-1 and COX-2. While COX-1 is important in our bodies and necessary for proper blood clotting, COX-2 is only associated with inflammation. Aspirin prevent inflammation by blocking production of both prostaglandins, but turmeric only blocks production of COX-2. Turmeric allows us to stop inflammation without affecting other important body functions.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain. This hormone greatly contributes in multiplying and increasing the amount of neurons in your brain. It has been found that many brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of BDNF, including depression and Alzheimer's disease. Remarkably, turmeric can actually increase brain levels of the crucial growth hormone BDNF. Possibly delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function. In fact new studies are also showing that turmeric may be able to prevent Alzheimer's and slow down the disease's progression in patients who already have it.
Curcumin, one of the components in turmeric, has been known to help "clean" the liver, which in turn improves liver function. As a result, the liver is able to get rid of more LDL cholesterol. The same principles applied here could mean that turmeric can be helpful with treating digestive illnesses, like inflammatory bowel disease. Furthermore, many believe its ability to speed up metabolism can assist with weight loss. Researchers believe it is able to stop the production of NF kappa-B, which is the main culprit responsible for inflammation in the bladder. This unique ability makes turmeric a useful treatment for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis as well. This powerful antioxidant also helps fight bladder infections. When our bodies get infected, oxygen molecules are damaged and they turn into free radicals. They move throughout our bodies causing damage by stealing electrons from other molecules. This causes a nasty chain reaction. As we discussed earlier, antioxidants help stabilize these free radicals and keep them from doing harm. Antioxidants can also be preventative, which means that eating turmeric might just keep you from getting a bladder infection in the first place.
Perhaps one of turmeric's most exciting benefits is its potential ability to prevent cancer and even slow down the spread of cancer that has already developed. It's shown promise in the area of slowing the spread of cancerous cells. Indian men who ingest turmeric regularly rarely develop colon cancer. In the case of colon cancer, turmeric's role as a powerful antioxidant is probably most significant. Cells throughout our bodies are constantly being turned over but in the colon, this process happens much faster and much more often. If free radicals get into the colon, they can disrupt this turnover and cause damage resulting in colon cancer. Turmeric's antioxidant properties prevent this from happening. Some reports indicate that turmeric has been capable of slowing down the spread of tumors in mice. As cancer cells spread and a tumor grows, transcription factors control the process. Curcumin, one of the main components in turmeric, actually shuts down many of these transcription factors. It can't stop them completely, but it slows down the process considerably. While more time and resources are needed to unlock the full potential of turmeric, early results are encouraging.
It has been said that chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world. The World Health Organization ranks chronic diseases as the greatest threat to human health, which is anticipated to increase for the next 30 years in the United States. Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. It is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects and has a tremendous list of benefits. Having been used for thousands of years and still currently helping people with: Alzheimer's disease, cancer, arthritis, depression, brain function, heart health, intestinal issues, joint pain, and so much more. Continuing to be one of the most studied and researched herbs that is scientifically proven, turmeric has great potential to help many people.