Turmeric, the famous spice with a golden yellow colour, has been used as medicine for thousands of years. There are claims that it is, in fact, among the most potent nutritional supplements known to man.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is one of its main components and has numerous health and wellbeing advantages. What are those wellness claims, and what does the science say? In this article, we’ll investigate the potential wellbeing advantages of turmeric and curcumin, when is best to a turmeric supplement, how long until you can reap the benefits and whether it’s best to take it alongside natural healing extracts such as CBD.
What are Turmeric and Curcumin?
Turmeric, a flavourful member of the ginger family that gives curry its vibrant yellow colour, powerfully influences the flavour and appearance of food when added to dishes. It is cultivated from the roots of a flowering plant that primarily grows within the tropics.
Turmeric has a long history of use as both a spice and in traditional medicine and is famous for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. In more recent times, scientists have started to investigate the claims that turmeric contains active ingredients with potent therapeutic properties.
The active ingredients in turmeric are known as curcuminoids, and the main curcuminoid is called curcumin. Curcumin is the component that gives turmeric its distinct yellow colour and is credited with the majority of turmeric’s possible wellness benefits.
What are the Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin?
Turmeric is classed as an adaptogen because it can help the body maintain balance and handle external stressors more effectively. Below we have listed the top evidence-based benefits to wellness that turmeric and curcumin may provide. It’s important to note that research into the effects of turmeric and curcumin on humans is at the preliminary stage but the evidence so far indicates promising results.
1. Turmeric Helps to Promote Healthy Skin
Turmeric may effectively treat an array of skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema and acne. This is due to its potent antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Further research is required, but scientists believe that taking turmeric orally and topically can be helpful for certain skin conditions.2. Curcumin Has Potential as an Anti-Aging Treatment
Evidence shows that curcumin’s powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may help to slow down the ageing process and postpone the onset of age-related disease. This is because curcumin inhibits NF-kappaB, a protein complex that drives the ageing process.
3. Turmeric May Help Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Turmeric is fast developing a reputation for effectively treating some symptoms of arthritis. Many types of arthritis are characterised by joint inflammation, and several studies have shown encouraging results after observing the effects of turmeric on arthritis symptoms. In some cases, the results indicated that turmeric was even more effective than common anti-inflammatory medication.
4. Curcumin Has Natural Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Turmeric’s ability to fight inflammation is largely credited to its main active ingredient, curcumin. Experts believe that taking turmeric regularly can help reduce inflammation all over the body, including the joints.
5. Curcumin May Help in the Treatment of Diabetes
Curcumin may be helpful in the treatment of diabetes by reducing insulin resistance. Animal studies have shown that curcumin can improve insulin sensitivity and help prevent the development of diabetes, but further human studies are required to confirm.
6. Curcumin May Help Treat Depression
Curcumin has demonstrated potential as a treatment for depression and in one small study, showed that it had similar results to Prozac when taken by a group of people suffering from depression. Additionally, curcumin can elevate levels of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), a protein that is often depleted in cases of depression. Curcumin may also increase dopamine and serotonin levels.
7. Curcumin is a Powerful Antioxidant that Can Fight Harmful Free Radicals
Curcumin is an antioxidant which can help protect the body against free radicals; these are unstable atoms that damage cells and are found in cigarette smoke, alcohol, some processed foods and industrial chemicals. Increased exposure to free radicals can significantly alter our chemical makeup and even lead to diseases and common conditions such as arthritis, cancer and heart disease. Curcumin and turmeric may be able to protect cells by battling the free radicals that we are exposed to.
8. Turmeric May Support the Immune System
Research has shown that turmeric may support the immune system by acting as an immune modulator that enhances the body’s immune response. Curcumin may also suppress some pro-inflammatory molecules known as cytokines and boost our antibody response.
9. Curcumin May Help Protect Eyes from Degeneration
Interestingly, topical curcumin treatment shows promise in protecting the eyes against degeneration. Further human studies are necessary, but preliminary research on rats given curcumin eye drop solution showed that retinal cells were significantly impacted in those that did not receive curcumin solution, in contrast with those that did.
10. Curcumin May Help Delay the Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease
Turmeric and curcumin have also been shown to boost brain health. They can improve memory and cognitive function, while also protecting against age-related decline. This makes them a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
11. Curcumin May Help Alleviate Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
There are also encouraging results from studies observing curcumin’s impact on osteoarthritis (OA). Pain and stiffness significantly decreased in OA sufferers taking curcumin supplements as opposed to the control group.
12. Curcumin May Help Reduce Your Chance of Developing Heart Disease
Curcumin is thought to be beneficial to heart health. It can improve the function of the endothelium; the membrane that surrounds the heart and blood vessels internally. The endothelial membrane helps to regulate blood pressure. Studies have shown that curcumin supplements can improve endothelial function, but further human research is required to obtain robust results.
Is Turmeric More Effective When Taken with CBD?
Turmeric and CBD oil offer many similar benefits to wellbeing, so does it make sense to combine the two? There is no evidence to say that using turmeric and CBD together will have any adverse effects, and it is possible that combining the two could amplify their effects. Many wellness brands now offer products that are infused with turmeric and CBD, such as the fast-acting Relief + CBD Oil, so that you can easily and conveniently enjoy the benefits of both. Additionally, taking turmeric with oil helps to boost curcumin absorption into the bloodstream.
Is it Good to Take Turmeric Every Day?
To achieve the desired benefits noted through research, you will have to take turmeric supplements daily rather than adding the spice to meals sporadically. There is no established recommended daily value for turmeric or curcumin, and as supplements are unregulated, it is advisable to start with a lower dose and build up gradually.
Turmeric and curcumin do not absorb particularly well into the bloodstream. Some experts recommend taking turmeric supplements alongside black pepper, which contains a compound called piperine that increases the turmeric and curcumin’s bioavailability.
Are There Any Risks to Taking Turmeric?
For most people, turmeric is a safe supplement. However, some people should take caution with turmeric:
- If you are pregnant, enjoy turmeric in small amounts. Higher levels found in supplements may affect oestrogen levels.
- Turmeric boosts bile secretion and should be avoided in large amounts if you have gallstones or liver disease.
- Some components of turmeric inhibit iron absorption. Avoid high quantities if you have iron-deficiency anaemia.
- Speak to your GP before taking turmeric supplements if you are on medication.
How Long Does It Take Turmeric to Work?
Turmeric won’t provide a quick fix, unfortunately. It takes a while for curcumin to accumulate in your system, but then you should begin to notice some improvements in your wellbeing. This could take up to 8 weeks, depending on various factors such as body weight, metabolism, etc. It’s important to take turmeric regularly and consistently to reap the benefits.
Can Turmeric Raise Blood Pressure?
It’s unlikely that turmeric will raise blood pressure. While more extensive human research is required, preliminary studies indicate that turmeric and curcumin have a positive influence on the heart by enhancing the health of the endothelial membrane, which helps to lower blood pressure.
Do You Take Turmeric in the Morning or at Night?
When you take turmeric depends entirely on your preference; some enjoy turmeric in the morning as a boost to their day, while others prefer it in the evening to help lower inflammation. As with most supplements, consistency is key. Whenever you take turmeric, we recommend taking it with a meal since healthy fats help to increase the absorption of curcumin.
While studies are preliminary, turmeric and curcumin show enormous potential as a treatment for many ailments and possible prevention of several age-related diseases. The benefits of turmeric may be enhanced when taken in combination with CBD oil. You will be required to take turmeric supplements to achieve many of the desired benefits. Turmeric is generally considered a safe substance to take but consult your GP if you are pregnant, anaemic, on medication or suffer from gallstones or liver damage.