FAQ on Curcumin

round brown powder on white surface

What is Curcumin?

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice of the ginger family that is used to make curried dishes in India, South-east Asia and the Middle East. Turmeric has long been used as a household remedy in India, and in Ayurvedic medicine. Recently it was discovered that Curcumin is the active component of this spice that is responsible for all the benefits traditionally associated with Turmeric, and lends it its unique yellow colour. The chemical name for Curcumin is diferuloylmethane.

What does Curcumin do?

Curcumin prevents and treats a number of maladies. In India, Turmeric has been an ingredient of simple home remedies and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Curcumin is a pain-reliever and a detoxifier. It is good for your heart, stomach, liver and even your skin. Its activity has been demonstrated against a myriad of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

Is there clinical proof of the effects of Curcumin?

Cancer, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and arthritis are just a few of the diseases against which Curcumin’s efficacy has been proven in clinical trials. Although most of the studies have been done in vitro or on animals, these results have been demonstrated in human subjects too.

How much Curcumin do I need?

Diet practitioners reckon that a person should start with 400 mg to 600 mg of Curcumin a day. If there is a need for more Curcumin, you may increase the dosage, based on your doctor’s recommendations, provided that there are no undesirable effects.

Can I get enough Curcumin through my food?

Most people in the West do not have enough Curcumin in their system, since their food does not contain Turmeric typically. Yet, it is possible to get the recommended daily dose of Curcumin by eating Asian curries, which contain Turmeric. Another way is to sprinkle Curcumin/ Turmeric on your regular food. It is estimated that every 100 g of Turmeric contains 3-5 g of Curcumin.

Does Curcumin have any side effects?

Curcumin is generally considered safe for consumption. Doctors often prescribe it as a natural, non-toxic remedy. Reports of side effects are uncommon and are generally limited to mild gastric distress. In a Phase I study conducted on human subjects, Curcumin was found to be safe when up to 8 grams was consumed each day for three months.

Just to ensure one’s safety, practitioners recommend that people take low doses of not more than 500 mg/day, to begin with. The dosage can be increased if need be. Side effects are uncommon, but every person’s threshold of tolerance is different so consult your doctor to understand how much you Curcumin your body requires.

How should I take Curcumin?

Certain reports indicate that Curcumin is more efficient when taken on an empty stomach than if it is taken along with one’s food. Thus it is recommended that you take Curcumin approximately one hour before you eat. If you are using Curcumin powder, you can have it with milk, yogurt, coconut milk or other fluids.

How does Curcumin work?

The ancient Indian Ayurvedic literature describes Turmeric as an agent that can suppress inflammation. Research in the last century has revealed that this anti-inflammatory activity is actually due to the active ingredient, Curcumin. Curcumin works by inhibiting the activity and synthesis of the enzymes implicated in inflammation. In addition, its activity can modulate up to 700 genes. It is a natural detoxifier, anti-amyloid and antioxidant. It stimulates the immune system and stops the onslaught of debilitating diseases. It lowers the bad cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol content in the blood. Thus, Curcumin actually takes a number of different paths to benefit the human body.

Does Curcumin work against cancer?

Research evidence points to a lower incidence of certain cancers in people who consume Curcumin as compared to people who do not. Curcumin has been shown to help impede and treat countless forms of cancers. A number of mechanisms have been suggested to explain its anticancer activity. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory activity is important in obstructing cancer since inflammation plays a key role in the promotion of cancer. Laboratory data indicates that Curcumin can inhibit tumour initiation, proliferation, and invasion. It stops the growth of new tumour blood vessels (called angiogenesis) and slows the spread of cancer (metastasis). Curcumin stops cancerous cells from invading normal tissue. It inhibits certain cell-signalling pathways and causes cancer cells to die. In addition, Curcumin enhances the activity of chemotherapy drugs and reduces its unpleasant side effects.

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