Turmeric Benefits Fight Against Disease:
The orange Asian herb turmeric has been traditionally used for centuries by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Curcumin is the most powerful active anti-inflammatory compound within turmeric. Curcumin has been shown to be a powerful suppressor of chronic inflammatory mediated disease processes (1). In this article, you will learn 10 powerful ways turmeric benefits the bodies fight against chronic disease.
Many Asian cultures use turmeric in nearly every meal. They rave of its anti-aging and medicinal benefits. Western medicine has just begun to research it its components at a very deep level to better understand all the turmeric benefits and remarkable health properties. Over 570 studies have appeared in the mainstream literature demonstrating curcumin’s cancer protective effects (2).
Turmeric Benefits Blood Sugar Stability:
Curcuminoid polyphenols are the primary antioxidant in turmeric root. Curcumin is the principle curcuminoid and it is responsible for the majority of health benefits attributed to turmeric. The other curcuminoids include desmthoxycurcumin and bis-desmethoxycurcumin.
Blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance are huge factors that promote inflammatory conditions in the body. Elevated blood sugar creates hazardous glucose cross linked proteins called Advanced Glycolytic Enzymes (AGE’s). These AGE’s damage cell membranes, vital enzyme systems and perpetuate inflammatory conditions throughout the body.
Turmeric Benefits Insulin Sensitivity
Curcumin modulates blood sugar and improves insulin receptor function by improving its binding capacity to sugar. Curcumin activates PPAR (peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor) which is a group of key nuclear proteins that regulate gene expression and modulate sugar uptake and utilization in the bloodstream.
Curcumin also reduces the activity of specific liver enzymes that release sugar into the bloodstream while activating enzymes that store sugar as glycogen. Research on type 2 diabetes patients resulted in blood glucose stabilization and lowered triglyceride levels in the group that consumed curcumin (3). In this way, turmeric benefits the bodies ability to balance and stabilize blood sugar and keep inflammation under control.
Curcumin as an Antioxidant:
Turmeric benefits us in due to its anti-oxidant compounds which are the 8th highest concentration of any food on the planet with an Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (ORAC) of 127,068 (4). The curcuminoids boost levels of the bodies most potent antioxidants including glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase. These molecules are critical for the body to limit oxidative stress related damage to the vital organ systems.
Curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammatory mediating prostaglandins, cytokines and other molecules such as interleukin 6, Nuclear Factor Kappa Beta (NF-kb) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF – alpha) (5, 6). With a high enough dosage this has the ability to pull the body out of a strong inflammatory cascade and reset anti-inflammatory behavior at the cellular level.
Curcumin and Cancer:
Research done at the Life Extension Foundation found that curcuminoids target ten factors involved in cancer development (7). This includes chronic inflammation, DNA damage and disruption of cell signaling pathways. Curcumin supplementation was shown to target destruction of cancer cell mitochondria, disrupt the cancer cell cycle and arrest stem cell development that facilitates further cancer cell formation.
There are hundreds of other studies that have shown that curcumin turns on natural apoptotic (cell suicide) switches in cancer cells (8). They also reduce inflammatory prostaglandins that promote cancer cell growth. A study out of China showed that curcumin was able to induce apoptosis within triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells (9). TNBC is a type of cancer that defies conventional chemotherapy and radiation.
Turmeric benefits the bodies fight against cancer by targeting 10 major factors involved in cancer development. You can learn more about these individual factors in this article on the differences between normal and cancer cells. The list of turmeric benefits on these specific characteristics of cancer is in the image below.
Best Dosages of Curcumin:
For optimal curcumin absorption it is necessary to combine the turmeric with good fats such as coconut oil or milk or olive oil. You will also want to add a dash of black pepper for the piperine molecule that enhances curcumin uptake.
For individuals with chronic inflammatory diseases such as cancer it is recommended to supplement with high dose curcumin. Find one that is made with piperine in an enteric coating that protects the nutrient from stomach acid for optimal absorption.
There hasn’t been an official dosage that has been established by the scientific literature. However, studies involving human patients with cancer found that curcumin doses of 3.6 grams or more daily had the best effect (10).
Curcumin regulates tumor suppressor pathways and triggers mitochondrial mediated death in the cancer tissue. Curcumin is anti-angiogenic which means that it shuts down the ability of cancer cells to develop extra blood supply that these cells use to fuel on. This effect makes cancer cells more vulnerable to pharmacological treatments such as chemotherapy and other cancer control drugs.
I highly recommend using turmeric on various foods. I will put it on my meat (chicken, bison, grass-fed beef, lamb, eggs, etc.) after I cook it (not before because I don’t want to damage these precious antioxidants). I simply grill up the meat on a pan in a large amount of coconut oil. After it is cooked, I add a lot of turmeric (usually a few tsps.) and smother it in the oils around the meat and flip the meat around so that the oils collect the turmeric and it stays attached to the meat.
To get the most turmeric benefits, I also add in some black pepper as curcuminoid anti-oxidants are absorbed and utilized more effectively with the use of good fats like coconut oil, olive oil or butter and black pepper. This turmeric zucchini soup here is a great example of this.
Supplemental Fermented Turmeric
While turmeric and curcumin are not FDA approved to prevent, treat, mitigate or cure any chronic disease, my research and experience with it proves that it can be a helpful tool to improve overall health. If you choose to supplement with turmeric or curcumin to improve your health be sure to discuss this with your physician.
When it comes to turmeric supplementation, I am a huge fan of taking supplemental turmeric in a fermented form with other warming digestive supporting and adaptogenic herbs. This is why I use the Fermented Turmeric product from Ancient Nutrition. The fermented form of turmeric activates unique compounds and allows for better assimilation of the beneficial curcuminoids.
With a full-spectrum fermented turmeric blend, organic fermented warming botanical blend, organic ashwagandha extract and an organic fermented bitter botanical blend the Ancient Nutrition Fermented Turmeric is specially formulated to support healthy joints and mobility as well as a healthy response to inflammation.†
Fermented turmeric is a powerful blend of high dose organic turmeric extract a fermented warming and bitter botanical blend and organic ashwagandha extract to reduce inflammation throughout the body and support its ability to adapt to stress.