Turmeric Curcumin's Anti-Inflammatory Properties and Benefits
In a nutshell, inflammation is just your body’s response to stress or damage; it is a crucial part of the body’s natural defense system when it senses injury or infection.
Think about what happens when you stub your toe or pinch your finger. You experience some redness, pain, and swelling. That’s your body’s way of responding to the injury and starting the healing process.
Some inflammation is necessary. We’d never be able to heal from injuries or bounce back from illnesses without it. A similar process happens when you’re sick and have a fever; the increase in your body temperature means your immune system is fighting off the infection. Too much inflammation, however, can be harmful to the body, causing secondary diseases such as heart disease.
Acute VS. Chronic Inflammation
A distinction is often made between acute and chronic inflammation.
Acute Inflammation (short-term) is a sign that the body is naturally trying to heal itself. Once the trauma is under control, the immune cells leave the site of injury and everything goes back to normal.
Acute inflammation is quite easy to notice, typically only occurring when you are sick or injured. Acute inflammation might make the affected area feel tender, painful, swollen, or warm to the touch. If you are sick, you might get a fever or a runny nose. This type of inflammation goes away by itself as you recover.
When doctors say inflammation, they are usually referring to this acute inflammation, which is the body’s natural immune system response to potentially dangerous invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Unfortunately, our bodies and immune systems do not always correctly identify the substances that are likely to harm our health. Sometimes, inflammation occurs even when there are no dangerous micro-organisms present, in which case it can cause illness.
Inflammation is a major factor in chronic diseases such as arthritis, asthma, and psoriasis. When the tissues of the body swell, the results can be painful. For example, inflammation often causes symptoms such as aching joints, stiffness, fever, headache, and fatigue.
Chronic Inflammation (long-term) is more problematic as the immune cells are unable to switch off. This type of inflammation isn’t so obvious, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a health risk.
Chronic inflammation typically occurs deeper within the body in your tissues and organs. If you're particularly alert, you might notice that you feel especially fatigued, achy, or anxious, or you might experience digestive troubles. For many people, though, chronic inflammation doesn't seem to cause any immediate symptoms at all. It doesn't typically go away without some lifestyle changes.
If left alone, the immune cells responsible for the inflammation can become uncontrollable, attacking the body’s cells and destroying tissue. Chronic inflammation might not feel like a big deal, but over time, the wear and tear on your body can lead to some serious health issues.
The risk of heart disease, for example, is an incredible threat with many Americans pre-disposed by the time they reach adulthood, just because of lifestyle habits!
Inflammation plays a role in all the following diseases:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- Parkinson's disease
Could you have chronic inflammation?
Keep reading to learn more about what inflammation is, why it matters, and how you can avoid it.
The Basics of Turmeric
Turmeric is called the Spice of Life time and time again. Thanks to the many benefits that come from the extracts of this simple root, it has traversed decades of knowledge from medicine men in Eastern Asia, to doctors in laboratories here in the United States.
Healers in India used to call this root a miracle, and no doubt that it was back then.
Just because we have modern medicine, however, doesn’t mean that it ceases to be a miracle; it just means we understand it better.
In fact, this little root has been shown to provide arthritis and joint pain relief that many compare to Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, all without the harmful side effects!
Within curcumin, there is a little substance called curcuminoids. The main one is called curcumin. This compound contains most of the benefits, but it’s unfortunately hard for our bodies to absorb.
We’ve learned that mixing in an extract from black pepper – we use Bioperine® - your body can absorb up the compound 2000% better than without it.
This increased rate of absorption not only helps you achieve you desired results quickly, but also helps you achieve better results. This is fantastic news if you’re looking for pain relief and don’t want to eat fresh turmeric with every single meal.
We’ve covered this subject far more in-depth on our article Turmeric VS. Curcumin, so if you’re looking to learn more, check it out!
Many studies have found evidence that this root has anti-inflammatory effects on various parts of the body, which may help explain turmeric’s ability to treat or prevent serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Of course, everyone’s body is different, and the results can differ depending on how often and in what form you take your curcumin supplement. By taking a curcumin supplement with black pepper, you can expect to see significant results in as little as five to six weeks. This is under two months, and better results than common NSAIDs.
Who knew a little root could help you feel younger, look better, and best of all, help you become healthier?
It’s important to remember that it is not an all-or-nothing supplement, either. As your body starts to absorb the curcumin in your system, you’ll start seeing results – often within the same week of taking your supplements.
Of course, if you don’t care for pills, you may prefer to take your standardized curcumin extract in a glass of milk. You can also add your extract into one or two meals each day to receive the benefits.
On Turmeric, Inflammation, and Replacing Common NSAIDs
Curcumin is one of the strongest anti-inflammatories found in nature. It targets inflammatory pathways at the molecular level. It is so effective that it has been proven in studies to be just as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the negative side effects. If you’re like many people who experience arthritis and joint pain symptoms, you’re probably tired of traditional NSAIDs and painkillers. Looking through the world of “holistic medicine”, however, can be tough when you have to decipher what is true and what is hype.
You’ve probably heard how various herbs and spices can help heal wounds and prevent various ailments, providing a miracle cure for this or that disease. Many of these claims, however, don’t take the time to back up their evidence with scientific studies. In fact, some of these herbs and spices haven’t even been studied enough to prove or disprove anything yet.
It’s a wonder how many companies get away with it, especially when the public is fact-checking and reading up on products more than ever.
Why would anyone, company or not, want to supply the public with information that keeps them in the dark about remedies that can potentially replace their harmful NSAIDs?
Don’t believe they’re harmful?
The effects of many modern medications are not fully understood today. We should know this, with the number of FDA warnings that come out every few years, advising people about the risks of using over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen or Naproxen.
So why do they continue selling them?
“There is no period of use shown to be without risk.”
- Judy Racoosin, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Director of FDA’s Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products.
Unfortunately, most of the public ignores these warnings, if they even notice them at all. We are becoming more and more accustomed to pills, packets, and supplements overflowing the pharmacy aisle and our everyday lives. Watch a new TV show, and every other commercial is a new medication debuting. Advertisements for the next best health supplement on your local grocery store’s window, and an increasing number of pills and medications are showing up in our favorite magazines and books!
When you think about it that way, it’s almost hard to believe we think of the natural “alternatives” many of these medications came from.
There is hope.
We discussed what Turmeric is all about in the section above, but now we’re going to get into the heart of this subject: the anti-inflammatory properties of a standardized curcumin extract.
Of course, Me First Living produces a standardized supplement with added Bioperine® for absorption, but we also want to help you make an informed decision about your supplements. Check out our Turmeric Buyer’s Guide to find out which extract suits you best.
Benefits for Heart Disease
Doctors believe that inflammation may play a role in the development of certain, highly-dangerous cardiovascular diseases, such as ischemia and atherosclerosis.
A recent publication from the Vascular Biology Laboratory studied the effects of Turmeric’s main compound curcumin on atherosclerosis. The study found that curcumin can reduce this condition by reducing the amount of fat that circulates in the blood. In addition, curcumin also prevents the fat molecules from forming plaques in the arteries in the first place.
Curcumin also reduces the amount of inflammation that occurs alongside atherosclerosis. This, in addition to other heart health benefits is a promising start for curcumin reducing the risk of heart disease.
Benefits for Diabetes
As doctors and medical researchers improve their understanding of diabetes, they are beginning to understand the significant role that inflammation plays in the development of this serious health condition.
Diabetes affects millions of people in the United States alone. It is a condition where blood glucose levels are consistently too high. This happens because the body cannot use insulin efficiently enough to move the glucose molecules out of the blood and into cells where they can be used or stored.
In Type 1 diabetes, this problem occurs because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
In Type 2 diabetes, the body simply does not respond correctly to insulin.
Inflammation plays a central role in both types of diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, the immune system selectively destroys pancreatic cells through inflammation. Fortunately, curcumin may help fight high blood sugar and reduce cell destruction through its anti-inflammatory properties.
People typically develop Type 2 diabetes because their fat cells produce too much of a certain protein called Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNFA.) Curcumin inhibits the production of this inflammatory protein, helping keep insulin resistance at bay.
A 2014 study in the Journal of Biomedical and Environmental Science found that Curcumin may indeed have anti-diabetic effects in patients with Type 2 diabetes, lowering the amount of glucose stored in their blood. Curcumin additionally had an effect on the levels of hormones involved in inflammation – a promising sign for diabetes suffers!
Benefits for Allergies and Asthma
Both allergies and asthma involve inflammation. When the passage linings of the lungs and airways swell, patients often find it very difficult to breathe. They may wheeze or cough, struggling to get enough air.
Curcumin can help reduce the symptoms of asthma and allergic reactions. This is done by reducing the activity of certain enzymes that cause inflammation in the first place.
Benefits for Joint Pain
Especially as we age, we begin to see just how many places our bodies can ache, whether it’s from abnormalities in the spin, muscles, tendons, or other parts of our bodies.
These abnormalities can be caused by a variety of lifestyle habits such as poor nutrition, mental and physical stress, or certain medical conditions. There are hundreds of studies that review joint pain and arthritis troubles and how curcumin reduces the underlying inflammation; and by extension, reducing the pain it causes.
No matter the cause, there’s no arguing that inflammation hurts. Many of these studies compare turmeric to common NSAIDs and have proven curcumin supplements to be just as – if not more – effective than many popular over the counter NSAIDs.
Benefits for Other Conditions
Medical researchers have discovered inflammation plays an important role in many chronic health problems. As a result, medicines and supplements that can help reduce this inflammation are becoming more sought-after treatments. Conditions that inflammation affects ranges from the skin to the digestive system; even brain fog!
Researchers have suggested using a proven curcumin supplement to treat a wide range of conditions can be helpful. Many of the conditions studied include inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and renal ischemia. Some studies are even looking into the potential benefits of using curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects as a complementary treatment for cancer.
Everyday people are excited about the benefits as well, with many of our customers reporting incredible benefits from our curcumin supplement, from pain relief of chronic aches and pains, improved circulation, elevated energy levels, and increased concentration and memory in just one week.
One particular study has shown an overview of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, six clinical trials were evaluated for turmeric’s – or more specifically, curcumin’s – safety. Out of those six, none showed potential for toxicity, which leads many researchers to believe that curcumin is indeed safe, though they’re continuing efforts on studying the subject.
What Can You Do to Prevent Inflammation?
There is no quick-fix for preventing or reducing inflammation.
Inflammation is a major health risk, but many people don’t realize they have it until they’ve developed a secondary health problem because of it. Remember, there are two types of inflammation – the one that burns and aches, and the silent one that keeps you fatigued, or brain fogged. Much of the time, chronic inflammation is caused by a variety of lifestyle factors. That’s good news, because it means you have more control over your inflammation levels than you might have thought before.
There are, however, ways to act now and protect your health for years to come. A healthy, balanced lifestyle can prevent – and sometimes even undo – the damage of chronic inflammation.
Aside from taking safe and natural supplements to help reduce the amount of inflammation in your body, the best way you can protect yourself from future inflammation is to create healthy, sustainable habits.
Start by looking at your diet.
A diet high in processed carbs, meat, and fat, is a major trigger for inflammation. Cut your risk by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, choosing whole grains over refined, and reducing your meat and dairy consumption.
Eating several servings of cold-water fish, such as salmon or mackerel, each week can help replace red meat and leave you with a more balanced diet. Fish is a source of rich, omega-3 fatty acids, proven to help reduce inflammation.
Remember to stay hydrated and avoid drinking too much alcohol. If you do this, you have your liquids under control.
Next, look at how healthy your lifestyle is outside of diet. If you smoke, now’s the time to quit. Smoking is one of the most inflammatory things you can do to your body.
Getting light exercise throughout the week will also help your body stay inflammation free. In general, aim for 5 days of light exercise per week; but always listen to your body and let it rest if you’re sore and tired.
Lastly, don’t overlook the importance of relaxation! Even if all your other habits are healthy, chronic stress can cause inflammation by raising a hormone called cortisol.
If you can drop unnecessary activities or obligations that stress you out, do so. Avoid overscheduling yourself or taking on more than you can at once.
Don’t forget to take some time every day to do something that rejuvenates you, even if you have to schedule it into your day. Look at relaxation as an investment in your health, because, it is!
Me First Living – Is It Right For You?
If you suffer from an inflammatory disease, you may wonder whether the Me First Living turmeric supplement could be a suitable treatment for you.
Before you start taking any new supplement, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor and find out whether turmeric is likely to be safe and effective for you. For most people, taking a turmeric supplement is a safe way to manage their conditions, along with taking medications prescribed by their doctor or healthcare professional.
Check out a more in-depth article on the full benefits of turmeric, all backed by science.