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Evidence-based Benefits of Turmeric

29 March 2022
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The benefits of turmeric have been widely known for centuries! This beautiful golden spice has been commonly used in Indian food and Ayurveda for the same amount of time. 💛🧡

It can be consumed on many ways - as a dry spice or freshly grated or juiced.

You can add it to curries, eggs, meat dishes, smoothies, juices and even lattes!

My favourite way to enjoy turmeric is freshly squeezed cold-pressed juices and when it is hard to find fresh turmeric root, I simply use it in liquid supplement form.

Many studies reveal its proven benefits and we will certainly link these articles throughout this blog and leave all references in blog footer.

 

Turmeric spice bowl and spoon

Natural Anti-inflammatory

You may have heard of people using turmeric to help bring down inflammation naturally and this is one of the main reasons why people use turmeric. It is well-documented in studies such as this one, of how turmeric can help here.

It's the curcumin compound that holds the key to this wonder spice! Curcumin has been shown to effectively improve inflammation and improve symptoms of many conditions and disease.

Not only that, but curcumin also has antioxidant, anti-tumour and other biological activities in the body, in which we will discuss here in this article.

How it May Help Pain & Arthritis

Many folks suffering with arthritis have turned to turmeric (as well as supplements that contain chondroitin + glucosamine) for relief from arthritic/joint pain. People with back pain also take turmeric to help bring down inflammation and reduce pain. These people also found acupuncture to be helpful as a complementary therapy on top of the turmeric use.

 

Arthritic hands

Preventative Measure

When researching/writing this article, I discovered that turmeric has been (as quoted in PubMed) "used with COVID-19 due to its wide range of antiviral properties"*. It shows promise in many diseases. 

Gastro-protective Qualities

In a different PubMed article, they talk about the fact that curcumin in turmeric has been proven to be anti-ulcer and said that curcumin is an "anti-ulcer potent agent".

This may be helpful for people with H.Pylori or others prone to stomach ulcers.

Good to know!

Digestion, Stomach, Gut Health & The Gut Microbiome

How exactly, does turmeric aid in digestion and gut health? That's a great question and we hope the following information helps to explain things...

Turmeric helps to support digestion, the stomach, gut health and the gut microbiome in the following ways:

  1. It supports the gastro-intestinal system
  2. Helps the stomach endure digestive acids by increasing gastric wall mucous (remember that mucous is protective by nature)
  3. Helping to increase absorption in the intestine
  4. Helping to promote good intestinal flora/bacteria and minimise bad bacteria/bad gut flora
  5. Shown to help ulcerative colitis relapse
  6. Shown promising for IBS sufferers (may help to reduce pain, bloating and gas).

    IBS

    Glowing Skin

    Eating turmeric (and using it as a face mask) can really help to give one glowing skin. Because turmeric is loaded with anti-ageing antioxidants, this helps to mop up the free radicals that age us fast!

    Turmeric has also been known to help with psoriasis, acne scars and other dermatological conditions.

    Age-related Diseases

    Rapid ageing and age-related diseases are fuelled by inflammation (even low-grade) and oxidative stress so if you can bring these things down, it may help to slow the ageing process and also help with oxidative stress and age-related diseases.

    Curcumin is the substance with powerful potential to do just that and improve the health status of our ageing/elderly population.

    Turmeric and Depression

    Turmeric has been shown to help with mild depression and also MDD (major depressive disorder).

    It's not exactly clear on how turmeric can help with these common mental health issues but it is believed that there is a link to depression and inflammation that is chronic.

    Turmeric may be effectively used on it's own or enhanced even further with adding the herb- saffron.

     

    Depression

    Help Lower Risk of Heart Disease

    Turmeric has been shown to have great promise when it comes to heart health, thus potentially helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    Acting as a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, it works in 2 ways:

    • It suppresses COX enzyme (cyclooxygenase)
    • Inhibits a gene that amplifies pro-inflammatory molecule production

    The way that it helps to protect the heart ♥️ is by helping to decrease free radicals and lowering triglycerides.

    Studies performed on both mice and rabbits, where the animals were fed turmeric over a period of time. The mice that ate the turmeric experienced 20% less arterial blockage compared to the mice that were not given any turmeric.

    Turmeric and Cancer

    Research into this area is ongoing but there isn't enough evidence to show that turmeric consumption prevents cancer.

    What is promising though, is the lab studies on animals that suggest curcumin slowing the spread of cancer, plus its consumption may make chemotherapy more effective.

    I personally believe that if we eat well (are adequately nourished and are absorbing our nutrients properly), manage emotional stress/release traumas, detoxify efficiently and spend less time on tech and more time connected to nature, that we drastically reduce our risk of developing cancer.

    Gut health must also be a focus as most disease begins in the gut.

     

    Cancer

     

    Turmeric, Memory & Neuroplasticity

    The curcumin in turmeric shows promise for cognition and neuronal plasticity (neuroplasticity).

    Because we live in the modern world where most of us experience stress regularly, this chronic stress can be so corrosive to our health and also the health of our brain and nervous system.

    What chronic stress does to our brain, is that it induces spatial cognition, neuroendocrine and plasticity irregularity. 

    Curcumin in turmeric has been said to help here on a therapeutic level and also with memory, though the exact mechanisms are not fully known.

    The studies are ongoing.

    Turmeric on Neurotransmitters

    Curcumin may help to improve mood and depression because of its positive effect on the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. 

    With mounting evidence of the positive effect turmeric can have on the gut and its microbiome, I wonder if this may also help with mood and mental health issues as the gut plays a huge part in mental health!

    Food for thought don't you think? 🤔

    BDNF-Booster (brain-derived neurotrophic factor)

    It has been shown to help boost brain health and as a potential preventative measure for brain degeneration because of a few factors such as:

    • Its ability to boost BDNF
    • Its powerful anti-inflammatory effects
    • Its ability to help decrease oxidation
    Brain Health

     

    BDNF is brain-derived neurotrophic factor and this is a certain type of protein that your nerve cells produce. Before we get into the nitty gritty of what BDNF does, it's important to mention that low BDNF levels have been strongly linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

    It stands to reason that something that can boost BDNF levels would be potentially very beneficial in preventing such life-crushing conditions. 

    Turmeric has shown great promise to help boost BDNF levels in the mice that were tested on. BDNF levels were improved and restored in diabetic mice when treated with curcumin (from turmeric).

    It has been shown in numerous studies (such as this diabetic mice study) that curcumin consumption decreased oxidation also.

    Back to BDNF...

    BDNF is an important key to a healthy brain as it acts as a type of natural 'brain fertiliser' (if you will), helping to enrich the brain cells, keeping them growing and functioning.

    BDNF also helps to grow NEW neurons and plays an important role in brain circuits - allowing for the travel of brain signals.

    So as you can see, BDNF is one super important protein and when it's low, you increase your risk of developing neurodegenerative issues such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. 

    Of course there is no cure-all but we can certainly do things to improve BDNF levels and one of those things (as mentioned), is to consume more turmeric. See our recommendation here.

     

     

    *Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is to be taken as health advice as there are instances where the use of antibiotics are necessary and even life-saving. We are simply offering information that goes against the status quo. Please do your own research and talk to your trusted healthcare provider when making decisions regarding your health.

     

    References:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8572027/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8340568/

    https://www.the-rheumatologist.org/article/turmeric-the-evidence-for-therapeutic-use-for-arthritis/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731878/

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334085904_THERAPY_FOR_LOW_BACK_PAIN_WITH_ACUPUNCTURE_AND_TURMERIC

    https://turmericaustralia.com.au/turmeric-digestion

    https://www.healthline.com/health/turmeric-for-skin

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2827376/

    https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/turmeric-for-depression

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5542678/

    https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15020152

    https://nbihealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Turmeric-for-Cardiovascular-Disease.pdf

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19540859/

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24476477/

    https://www.healthiswealthnaturals.com/blogs/blog/what-is-bdnf

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