The opioid crisis is an ongoing battle and it is more important than ever to start utilizing natural remedies to treat symptoms and diseases. One natural supplement that has become increasingly popular is curcumin, also known as turmeric. Curcumin is the active substance in turmeric, a common spice most often used in curry and other dishes in Southeast Asia and China. Additional benefits of curcumin are continually being researched as it is proving to have a wide range of benefits, twelve of which I have addressed below:
1. Fights Inflammation
The most popular benefit of curcumin is its ability to control and reduce inflammation. Inflammation may be an underlying cause for many of the other symptoms and diseases that curcumin benefits and likely can be traced back to reduced inflammation. Studies have found that curcumin is more effective than both aspirin and ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory.
2. Natural Pain Reliever
Second to curcumin’s ability to fight inflammation is its ability to manage pain. Curcumin has the ability to naturally activate the opioid system which serves as the body’s pain-relieving response. This response is also what helps to treat and affect the following diseases and symptoms.
3. Boosts Skin Health
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, consuming curcumin can speed up wound healing, decrease acne, control psoriasis, and improve the overall appearance of skin. To enjoy the skin-improving benefits of curcumin, it can be consumed internally or applied topically, however when applying topically be sure to spot check in case of an allergic reaction.
4. Manage arthritis
Once again with arthritis, the effects of curcumin come from its anti-inflammatory abilities. Studies on patients with arthritis have actually shown that curcumin is just as, if not MORE effective than arthritis prescription medications.
5. Treat or Prevent Certain Cancers
As research gets more and more advanced with treating cancer, researchers have spent an extensive amount of time studying the effects of curcumin on cancer. Amazingly, curcumin has proven to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing! In addition to just being able to fight the cells, curcumin has also shown to be able to re-sensitize patients to chemotherapy and other cancer-fighting drugs.
6. Manage Diabetes
One study conducted looked at the ability of curcumin to lower glucose levels and it turns out that curcumin is 400 times more potent than metformin (a common diabetes drug) in activating an enzyme. In addition to having some effect on reducing insulin resistance, curcumin also significantly reduced pain resulting from nerve damage.
7. Combat Obesity
Curcumin may also help to reduce the growth of fat cells, therefore reducing obesity and its negative health effects.
8. Reduce Depression Symptoms
Studies have been done to compare the effects of curcumin vs fluoxetine (PROZAC) on patients with major depressive disorder. These studies concluded that curcumin may be used as an effective treatment method for patients with mild depression.
9. Aids in Detoxification
Our world and the foods we eat are often filled with toxins and therefore our bodies are also filled with these toxins, which ultimately puts a strain on our liver and causes it to function at less than ideal. Supplementing with curcumin can help the liver to efficiently detoxify the body and eliminate the harmful toxins.
10. Regulate Cholesterol
The biggest issue with high cholesterol is that it is often treated with a statin or prescription medication. Although the medication will lower cholesterol, it is not addressing the actual cause and has many dangerous side effects. Curcumin is beginning to be used as a natural alternative to treat high cholesterol by addressing the underlying issues and more importantly doing so without the additional negative side effects.
11. Blood Clots
The use of curcumin greatly reduces the instances where blood platelets concentrate in one area eventually resulting in clots. Due to this process, it has been suggested that curcumin may become a recommended treatment method for vascular thrombosis.
12. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Studies have been done combining curcumin and ulcerative colitis medicine and have shown that the combination reduced flare-ups and relapses of this chronic disease. Further research is also being done to explore the benefits of curcumin not only ulcerative colitis patients but also patients with Crohn’s disease. The main reason that curcumin may be a safer treatment option is due to the fact that many anti-inflammatory prescription medications actually affect the intestinal lining which actually makes the condition worse.
The best benefit of all in consuming curcumin for the above-listed issues is that there is no risk of other side effects as there often is when consuming other drugs.
One important thing to remember if you choose to use curcumin for its benefits is that consuming curcumin in its spice form, turmeric, your body will not absorb enough to reap the benefits. Curcumin has a low absorption amount and therefore it is recommended to take in a supplement form. Others have suggested that consuming with pepper helps the body to absorb more of the important nutrients.
If you have specific questions about the benefits of curcumin or if taking it in supplement form could be right for you, be sure to ask. We are always here to help!
Yours in health, Dr. Alex
Project Wellness Company, Madison WI