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The Health Benefits of Turmeric


Chances are if you have come into my office for a muscle injury, arthritis, stiff joints, or other musculoskeletal issue, we have had a conversation about supplementing with turmeric.  Because of the powerful health-boosting benefits of this ancient spice, I wanted to take the time to write a short article explaining what I feel to be the top 5 reasons to consume it on a daily basis. One important thing to keep in mind is the fact that turmeric has undergone dozens of research studies.  The health benefits that we will discuss in this article have strong science-based findings to back up the claims.  Turmeric has been used in India as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, and now we are seeing more and more reasons why! The bioactive compounds that are responsible for turmeric’s healing qualities are called curcuminoids.  The most notable of these is curcumin.  Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric, and is what is responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties.  The majority of studies conducted center around curcumin.  It is important to note that curcumin does not occur in high enough quantities in raw turmeric to elicit the desired health benefits, therefore taking a supplement high in curcumin is generally recommended. Curcumin is not well absorbed by itself into the blood stream, but the good news is that black pepper can increase the absorbability of curcumin by up to 2000%.  Therefore, when using a curcumin supplement, look for one that contains peperine, which is the active ingredient found in black pepper. Now to the health benefits that I find to be the most important regarding turmeric.  These are only 5 of the science-backed benefits, so keep in mind that more and more studies are being conducted and finding even more reasons to add turmeric into your healthy nutrition program.


Turmeric is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory: Scientist now believe that chronic low-level inflammation is linked to almost every Western disease such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological-based illness such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, and other degenerative diseases.  Curcumin has been shown to be as effective as some prescription grade anti-inflammatories, but without the negative side effects.


It can help reduce Oxidative damage to cells in the body: By protecting the body from free-radical damage, overall health and resiliency to disease increases.  It has also been shown to increase the body’s own production of antioxidant enzymes.


It can improve the brain’s function and decrease risk of brain related diseases: Curcumin increases the brain levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which is a growth hormone that increases the growth of brain cells.  It also works to reduce degeneration of the brain and central nervous system.


It can lower the risk of heart disease: Cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death in the world.  The good news is turmeric has been shown to improve the function of the lining of blood vessels.  This is vitally important in the overall function of the cardiovascular system.  One study found that a controlled-study group using 4 grams of curcumin per day had a 65% less risk of experiencing a heart attack compared to the group using a placebo instead.


It can help with the symptoms of arthritis: It is estimated that nearly 350 million people suffer from arthritis worldwide.  It is a disease that includes women, men, and children.  Nearly 40 million people in the United States suffer from it, and current estimates suggest that almost 250,000 children suffer from arthritis in this country.  A study conducted by Chandran and Goel in 2012, concluded that curcumin is more effective in treating Rheumatoid arthritis that currently prescribed anti-inflammatories. Again, this is a list of only 5 health related benefits offered by turmeric, so further research will continue to bring forth even more reasons to take a daily turmeric/curcumin supplement.  Remember the importance of using a black pepper extract as well in order to boost the absorbability of the curcumin. 


For more information regarding quality turmeric supplements, contact our office at Prana Chiropractic and Wellness via www.pranachiro.com  We always welcome your questions and as with any nutritional supplement, check with your trusted healthcare provider prior to using it.  One important note to keep in mind, if you are currently on blood thinner or have any blood-related disorder, you MUST consult with your healthcare provider before using.  Turmeric can have a slight blood thinning effect, so check with your doctor first!


Dr. Chris

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