TURMERIC/CURCUMIN OUTPERFORMS STATINS
It’s difficult to refrain from hyperbole when reviewing the natural nutrient curcumin, found in the curry spice turmeric. It may well outperform statins and other arthritis, heart and dementia drugs – all without side effects.
Probably the most prestigious database for health researchers is the US National Library of Medicine, Institutes of Health. This is the conclusion of a meta-survey, published on their site under the heading Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials.
“Extensive clinical trials over the past quarter century have shown the safety and efficacy of this nutraceutical against numerous diseases in humans.
“Promising effects have been observed in patients with various pro-inflammatory diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel disease, gastric ulcer, gastric inflammation, psoriasis, acute coronary syndrome, atherosclerosis, diabetes, renal conditions, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and chronic bacterial prostatitis.”
The meta-survey makes the very important point that almost all drugs are ‘mono-targeted smart drugs’ – that is, they target just one pathway in the development of a disease.
Yet, as the authors further point out, cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological diseases, metabolic diseases, as well as cancer, are caused by abnormalities in multiple pathways.
“Thus, attacking only one of these multiple pathways is highly unlikely to be effective.”
In contrast, a compound that helps prevent multiple pathways from creating the abnormalities that lead to disease is a true wonder nutraceutical – ie. a natural compound that has pharmacological effects. And that’s exactly what curcumin does.
Curcumin fights so many life threatening and diminishing illnesses is because it is an all-rounder.
“It has been shown to exhibit anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer activities.” – MD Anderson Cancer Center
So curcumin fights excess free radicals and inflammation simultaneously – and since these two threats lie at the heart of almost all age-related disease, you can see why it is a vital component of a nutritional supplement that should extend health.
Anti-inflammation – fighting the underlying causes of ageing and age-related illness
In all, there have been over 5,000 studies on curcumin and its preventative effects. But why does it have such a positive effect on such a wide variety of illnesses?
A key reason is that it fights a problem that probably the majority of people over 50 suffer from.
That problem is chronic, sub-clinical inflammation. ‘Chronic’ means continuous and ‘sub-clinical’ means undetectable – at least without a specific test called a CRP test.
Because you don’t feel or see this type of internal, tissue-damaging inflammation, Time magazine has called it ‘The Silent Killer’. And suggests that,
“Instead of different treatments for heart disease, Alzheimer’s and colon cancer, there might be a single remedy that would prevent all three.”
New Scientist recently confirmed that chronic inflammation is involved in “… muscle wasting and glaucoma, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and arthritis, heart failure and high blood pressure, cancers, and lung, liver, kidney and skin disorders.”
Russell Tracy, Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry, University of Vermont College of Medicine, is clear: “Inflammatory factors predict virtually all bad outcomes in humans … having heart attacks, having heart failure, becoming diabetic … becoming fragile in old age … cognitive function decline, even cancer to a certain extent.”
If inflammation is the driver of so many age related diseases, then anti-inflammatory compounds and diets are vital to improved health and longevity.
Curcumin is possibly the strongest natural anti-inflammatory nutrient ever discovered, switching off a range of inflammatory genes, via a protein complex called the NF-kB pathway. This is really significant because the MD Anderson Cancer Center has found the NF-kB pathway was active in a great majority of early cancers.
There is a lot of current research on curcumin’s anti-cancer properties. Because there are over 200 different types of cancer, cancer develops via multiple pathways. As we’ve seen, curcumin affects multiple pathways, increasing the activity of some, inhibiting the activity levels of others. And one promising direction is its use in combination with chemotherapy drugs.
Curcumin also may have anti-ageing effects. When researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies fed old mice with curcumin they found that their blood vessels were normalised with reduced brain inflammation and lower levels of oxidation.
A recent study even showed that turmeric stimulates the production of immune cells called macrophages and in doing so was able to remove a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis – the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.
Yet another study showed it is effective against the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which causes gastritis, peptic ulcers and is implicated in gastric cancer.
In another significant study, a group of healthy 40-60 year-olds were given either a placebo or lipated curcumin ie. curcumin in or with oil.
Within 4 weeks the curcumin group saw a reduction in triglyceride levels (heart protective), a reduction in beta amyloid proteins (dementia protective) and a reduction in free radical formation (protection against abnormal cells).
The reduction in beta amyloid proteins is very significant. Research shows that curcumin can cross the blood brain barrier and not only helps inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta-amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, (ie. preventative) but also breaks up existing plaques associated with the disease (ie. may well help improve an existing condition).
People with Alzheimer’s tend to have higher levels of inflammation in their brains, and curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory.
Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the activity of COX2 and 5-LOX enzymes, which are pro-inflammatory. That same protective effect has direct implications for preventing or alleviating osteoarthritis – because COX2 and 5-LOX are drivers of the inflammation behind this condition too.
Even more effective when bio-availability can be improved
Pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, cholesterol reducer, potential cognitive enhancer, even skin improver and immune booster – yet the effects of this wonder nutrient can be further improved.
Curcumin has one drawback – it normally has low bioavailability UNLESS it is consumed at the same time as oil. The best choice for that would be alongside Omega 3 oil, because that not only helps increase bio-availability but adds another level of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect.
Based on the results of many clinical trials, you need to look for a standardised curcumin at a preventative dose of 250 mg per day – higher for an existing condition. (Standardisation means that the active ingredients are concentrated and made up to a consistent level).
To see a combination of curcumin with Omega 3 and other natural nutrients (lycopene, vitamin D3, green tea catechins, polyphenols) that have multiple pathway effects, including positive effects on gene expression, check out the premium supplement NutriShield. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button below.
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Subash C. Gupta, Sridevi Patchva, and Bharat B. Aggarwal Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials The AAPS Journal: January 2013, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 195-218
Disilvestro RA, Joseph E, Zhao S, Joshua B. Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lipidated curcumin in healthy middle aged people. Nutr J. 2012;11(1):79. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-79.[PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
Gupta SC, Patchva S, Koh W, Aggarwal BB. Discovery of curcumin, a component of golden spice, and its miraculous biological activities. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012;39(3):283–299. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2011.05648.x. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
Dhillon N, Aggarwal BB, Newman RA, Wolff RA, Kunnumakkara AB, Abbruzzese JL, et al. Phase II trial of curcumin in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2008;14(14):4491–4499. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-0024. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]