Curcumin is one of the safest and most powerful bioactive plant compounds
DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CURCUMIN AT A GLANCE
Curcumin is a remarkable nutrient. Clinical evidence shows that:
♦ CURCUMIN is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
♦ CURCUMIN can be as effective as Prozac in lifting depression
♦ CURCUMIN contributes to heart health by supporting free flowing arteries. It may be as effective as statins for dealing with atheroma.
♦ CURCUMIN appears to have several roles in an anti-cancer regime
♦ CURCUMIN improves mobility and reduces joint pain in arthritis sufferers
It has many proven medical benefits for brain, heart, joint health and even cancer risk reduction.
Curcumin is both anti-inflammatory and a powerful anti-oxidant. Derived from the bright yellow root of turmeric, curcumin has only one disadvantage – it is not well absorbed into the bloodstream by itself.
But its bioavailability is enhanced by an astonishing 2,000% when it is ingested along with piperine which is, itself, derived from black pepper. And yet further enhanced in the presence of an oil because it is fat soluble – which is why the combination with Omega 3 in NutriShield is ideal.
Look for curcumin in supplements that is ‘standardised’ as an extract at a level of 95%, as this obviously means it has very high levels of the bioactive compound.
7 Positives for Health
1. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory
Curcumin has been found to block the action of a strongly pro-inflammatory molecule called NF–kB. This switches on genes that lead to inflammation. It has also been shown to lower levels of a key marker of inflammation called CRP – C-Reactive Protein.
2. Curcumin is a powerful anti-oxidant
Curcumin’s anti-oxidant action can slow or stop the chain reactions involved in free radical damage.
3. Curcumin protects the brain
Over and above its anti-oxidant effect as a brain neuron protector, curcumin may have another brain health role.
Studies show that curcumin can increase levels of BNDF, a hormone that is responsible for youthful brain function, and this may delay age-related brain deterioration.
4. Curcumin improves heart health by reversing the hardening and narrowing of arteries
The endothelium is the normally smooth lining of your blood vessels including your arteries. It helps regulate blood pressure and blood clotting and is involved in the inflammatory response. “Endothelial dysfunction” is a cause of atheroma – the dangerous narrowing and eventual hardening of the arteries.
But atheroma and endothelial dysfunction are reversible – and an 8 week study showed that curcumin was as effective as the commonly prescribed statin, atorvastatin.
5. Curcumin can ease pain and increase mobility in arthritis
Studies show that it inhibits a pain enzyme called Cox-2 – a mode of action rather like NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs).
But the advantage of curcumin is that it is natural with no side effects. Over 20 studies confirm that it supports joint mobility and pain relief.
6. Curcumin has multiple roles in combating cancer
A significant number of studies show that curcumin exerts what one researcher calls “multiple different suppressive effects on human cancers including breast cancer.”
The effects include inhibiting blood supplies to tumours, slowing their spread and even initiating the death of cancer cells.
7. Curcumin can slow ageing by preventing the shortening of telomeres
Telomeres are the protective little caps at the end of double-stranded molecules of DNA. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. Once they get too short, the cell can no longer divide, and it becomes inactive and dies. The shortening of telomeres is a known marker of ageing.
Curcumin has been shown in several studies to prevent the shortening of telomeres.
Supplement with curcumin
Read more detail about the health benefits of curcumin below. There’s no question you’ll want to include it in your daily supplement regime.
There are 250mg of 95% Curcuminoid extract in every daypack of NutriShield Essentials and NutriShield Premium, supplements designed by Dr Paul Clayton, former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine.
More on all these health benefits of curcumin
The latest medical evidence is clear – chronic (ie. continuous) inflammation within tissues and cells is a key driver of almost every degenerative disease.
Inflammation is certainly a factor in heart disease, in metabolic syndrome, in Alzheimer’s, in obesity and diabetes, in arthritis and in certain cancers which start from sites of inflammation and makes the spread of cancer more likely.
So anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients should be in the front-line of your preventative health strategy.
Curcumin has been found to block the action of a strongly pro-inflammatory molecule called NF–kB. This switches on genes that lead to inflammation. It has also been shown to lower levels of a key marker of inflammation called CRP or C-Reactive Protein.
Oxidative damage occurs when our bodies metabolise oxygen and create energy. So some oxidation is inevitable. But the process also creates free radicals which react with and damage cells, DNA, mitochondria and fatty acids in the body.
If the body has excess free radicals and insufficient anti-oxidants to neutralise those free radicals, then oxidative damage occurs.
In everyday life, oxidative or free radical damage is the process by which fat goes rancid and apples turn brown.
In the body, oxidative damage manifests itself eventually as:
- Fatigue and premature ageing (via damage to mitochondria – the cell “energy factories”)
- Wrinkled skin
- A trigger for cancer (via damage to DNA)
- Brain ageing and neurogenerative disease such as senile dementia (via damage to neurons)
- Atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of arteries)
- Degenerative eye disease – since the eye is an organ with intense oxidative activity and needs high levels of anti-oxidants to protect its unsaturated fatty acids.
An anti-oxidant can slow or stop the chain reactions involved in free radical damage.
As a powerful anti-oxidant, curcumin should definitely be in your supplement, along with at least 500mg of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, beta-carotene and CoQ10. All these, too, are anti-oxidants.
One well referenced study on free radicals and disease summarised the role of anti-oxidants.
‘The human species is not genetically adapted to survive past middle age, and it appears that anti-oxidant supplementation of our diet is needed to ensure a more healthy elderly population’.
Improves brain function
Over and above its role as an anti-oxidant and brain neuron protector, curcumin may have another brain health role.
A hormone called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) is responsible for youthful brain function. Unfortunately this normally declines with age and appears to be a factor in depression and reduced cognitive function. But studies show that curcumin can increase levels of BNDF and thereby may be effective in delaying age-related brain deterioration.
In addition, curcumin (so far only in laboratory tests) has been shown to be able to pass into the brain and help increase the clearance of the beta amyloid plaque cells that characterise Alzheimer’s patients’ brains.
One of the symptoms of inflammation in the brain is what is commonly called ‘brain fog’ – poorer concentration, mood malaise and memory impairment.
The Journal of Psychopharmacology, reporting on a curcumin study on healthy older adults, stated that:
‘One hour after administration, curcumin significantly improved performance on sustained attention and working memory tasks, compared with placebo. Working memory and mood (general fatigue and change in state calmness, contentedness and fatigue induced by psychological stress) were significantly better.’
In another 6-week study, published in the US National Library of Medicine, curcumin at 1,000 mg a day was found to be as effective as the anti-depressant Prozac in reducing symptoms of depression, but better tolerated.
Improves heart health
The endothelium is the normally smooth lining of your blood vessels including your arteries. It helps regulate your blood pressure, and blood clotting and is involved in the inflammatory response. What’s called endothelial dysfunction is a cause of atheroma – the dangerous narrowing and eventual hardening of the arteries.
But atheroma and endothelial dysfunction are reversible – and an 8 week study showed that curcumin was as effective as the commonly prescribed statin, atorvastatin.
This specific function of curcumin amplifies the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin on heart health.
A presenter at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Annual Conference, in announcing his study results, was reported to say that:
“… curcumin supports clean, free-flowing arteries. Patients taking this pill saw 26% of gunk unclogged from their arteries.”
Although the words are hardly couched in the normal dry scientific language, it does capture the huge interest that health researchers now have in curcumin. In fact, one article claims that curcumin may have over 500 health benefits. That seems exaggerated, but the benefits on this page are well documented.
Alleviates the symptoms of arthritis
Arthritis is an inflammatory disease – as are all diseases ending in ‘-itis’.
So you would expect that curcumin could have a role in any natural arthritis treatment – and it does. Studies show that it inhibits a pain enzyme called Cox-2 – a mode of action rather like NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). But the advantage of curcumin is that it is natural with no side effects. Over 20 studies confirm that it supports joint mobility and pain relief.
One summary study in the Journal of Alternative Medicine Review reported:
‘People taking curcumin saw pain scores drop by 60% … and stiffness scores drop by 73%.’
But if you were taking curcumin as a supplement in a case of arthritis, you would ideally add Glucosamine, and co-factor vitamins D and K – as in JointShield.
Curcumin/turmeric can also be used topically to treat strains and muscle aches. Mix to a paste with a little olive oil and apply like an ointment.
Multiple roles in cancer risk reduction
For cancer to grow and form a tumour, it must develop a supply of blood vessels – a process called angiogenesis. That in turn supports metastasis or the spread on cancer cells.
A significant number of peer reviewed studies show that curcumin exerts what one researcher calls “multiple different suppressive effects on human cancers including breast cancer.”
The effects include inhibiting blood supplies to tumours, the slowing of spread and even the initiation of the death of cancer cells.
To date most of these studies have been animal studies or done on human cells in the laboratory. But a study in the Journal of Cell Biochemistry was able to state:
‘We conclude that telomerase inhibitory effects of curcumin underscore its use in adjuvant cancer therapy.’
We do know that many health researchers are using curcumin themselves.
Curcumin could be part of an anti-ageing programme
The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin make it a candidate for a scientifically based approach to slowing ageing, because both inflammation and oxidative damage are deeply involved in ageing.
There is another effect noted in the study quoted above. Curcumin can prevent the shortening of telomeres.
Telomeres are the protective little caps at the end of double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. Once they get too short, the cell can no longer divide, and it becomes inactive and dies. The shortening of telomeres is a known marker of ageing.
So it’s hypothesised that slowing or preventing the shortening of telomeres can slow biological ageing. Omega 3 and vitamin D are other natural nutrients that have been shown to help slow telomere shortening, as have weight loss and regular exercise.
If you are a nutritional supplement user, then curcumin should be in your supplement.
But so should plant derived micro-nutrients like green tea and grapeseed extract and Omega 3. And if you are over 50 when the body needs more nutrients but absorbs less, then add at least carotenoids like lutein, lycopene and beta carotene and CoQ10.
They all have solid scientific backing as helping to prevent long-term health problems whilst contributing to noticeably improved short term energy and ‘feel-good’ status.
They are all included in NutriShield, a supplement designed by Dr Paul Clayton former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine.
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Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive health supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients including polyphenols and flavonoids from fruits, vegetables and other plants like turmeric. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.
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