Inflammation to Immunity: The Proven Benefits of Turmeric
Once thought to be a niche supplement, turmeric has exploded into a highly sought-after superfood. And with good reason: it has gained a reputation for its health benefits because of its active ingredient called curcumin.
If you enjoy a good curry, chances are you’ve eaten turmeric as it is one of the main ingredients in South Asian and Middle Eastern dishes.
But turmeric is more than a delicious dinner spice with vibrant color and flavor. It can also promote several health and wellness benefits.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of turmeric and how you can get more of it in your diet.
Turmeric vs. Curcumin: What’s the Difference?
Just a quick note about turmeric and curcumin, as the two are often used interchangeably, can cause some confusion.
Curcumin is the active ingredient found inside turmeric. While turmeric is the food you eat, curcumin is the compound that provides all of turmeric’s benefits.
Turmeric May Lower Cholesterol Levels
Turmeric has been shown to effectively lower cholesterol levels in a relatively short period of time.
One study provided ten healthy individuals with 500 mg of curcumin per day for seven days. Each participant experienced a significant reduction of lipid peroxides. This is the term for when free radicals break down other cells. In this case, lipids were protected against degradation and cell damage.
There was also a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol,” and total serum cholesterol. 
Turmeric Could Promote Liver Health
Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels indicate the degree of inflammation in the liver. When ALT levels are high, the liver is more inflamed.
One study provided participants with either three grams of turmeric or three grams of a placebo every day for 12 weeks.
After the study, the group given the turmeric capsules had significantly lower ALT levels. This suggests that turmeric is an effective way to support liver health and reduce inflammation naturally. 
Turmeric Is Good for Your Nervous System
To say that your nervous system is overly complex is an understatement.
Your nervous system is responsible for all your movements, coordination, and sensory information. Any illness or health issue that impacts the nervous system can cause serious complications.
Studies show that curcumin can act as a protective nutrient for your nervous system in two critical ways:
Curcumin has been shown to prevent cell death and modulate neurotransmitter levels in the brain. As a result, curcumin is considered a beneficial natural ingredient for preventing ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and cataract formation in the eyes.   
Curcumin May Inhibit Cancer Cell Growth
A carcinogen promotes the formation of cancer. The best example of a notorious carcinogen is a high level of radiation.
So, it follows that an anticarcinogen is something that helps reduce the effects of a carcinogen or inhibits the development of cancer.
Studies have demonstrated that curcumin is an anticarcinogen. It has been shown to have an anti-carcinogenic effect on all types of cancer development, with some studies suggesting that it may even play a part in cancer regression. 
How Much Turmeric Do You Need?
Now that you’re convinced of how vital turmeric is for your health, you might be wondering how much turmeric you need each day to see optimal results.
According to the World Health Organization, you should not exceed 1,400 mg of turmeric in a day.
What’s more, it’s not recommended to take elevated doses (e.g., 2,000 mg) for an extended period of time.
With that said, we always recommend touching base with a functional medicine expert. 
Best Ways to Get More Turmeric in your Diet
Incorporating turmeric into your diet naturally is best; however, curcumin is difficult to absorb because it has low bioavailability.
The way around this is to prepare turmeric in dishes or turmeric tea with black pepper because it has been shown to enhance bioavailability.
If you’re taking curcumin as a supplement, check the label and make sure it also has piperine, which is the supplement form of black pepper. You can also take a quercetin supplement for even greater absorption. 
Do You Have Questions About the Benefits of Turmeric?
Before considering a turmeric supplement, it is best to consult a functional medicine expert or nutritionist who can determine your deficiencies and then provide a recommendation for your cardiovascular health.
Give us at 773.878.7330 today to schedule a telehealth or in-office appointment, and we can talk more about how turmeric can benefit your health.
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