The Health Benefits of Curcumin
Curcumin benefits include potent anti-inflammatory effects and anti-cancer properties. It contributes to the alleviation of cognitive decline associated with ageing, it promotes cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of diabetes. Many hundreds of studies have indicated significant evidence of its potential against several chronic diseases. Curcumin has shown beneficial effects against several types of cancers, and research has shown that it has even reduced the severity of radiation dermatitis in breast cancer patients.
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin or diferuloylmethane is a polyphenolic compound with a yellow colour and is the active ingredient in the golden spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) and is also present in limited amounts in ginger. Curcumin is both a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and a potent antioxidant. The curcumin content of turmeric is relatively low, in the region of about 3-5% by weight.
Curcumin vs Turmeric
To illustrate the difference between turmeric and curcumin: whereas turmeric is the root of the Curcuma longa plant, a member of the ginger family, curcumin is the active ingredient within turmeric. Traditionally Turmeric has been used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis. The Benefits of Turmeric as a supplement are so numerous that over 10 000 studies have been conducted into its healing efficacy and disease prevention characteristics.
Despite the impressive health benefits of curcumin, some of the significant problems with curcumin supplements according to studies include poor absorption, metabolism and bioavailability. Research, however, has revealed means of overcoming these problems.
Coyne Healthcare Bio-Curcumin, for example, utilises BCM-95 in its supplement. BCM-95 has been scientifically proven to be a highly efficient and effective way to supplement with Curcumin.
A Pilot Cross-Over Study to Evaluate Human Oral Bioavailability of BCM-95… View Research Paper
There is an urgent need to find ways and means to enhance the bioabsorbability of curcumin so that its potential beneficial effects can be realized clinically. Results of the present study indicate that the proprietary formulation BCM-95®CG (Biocurcumax™) largely meets such a demand.
Lipolife Liposomal Curcumin uses liposomal encapsulation to improve bioavailability. A liposome is a nano-sized sphere or vesicle made from a phospholipid called phosphatidylcholine, which is the same substance found in our cell membranes. Liposomal encapsulation is a process that fills these bubbles with curcumin to provide a very effective method of bypassing the destructive elements of the gastric system and aiding the encapsulated nutrient to be delivered to the cells and tissues.
Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin View Research Paper
In rat oral administration of liposome-encapsulated curcumin (LEC) showed high bioavailability of curcumin. In addition, a faster rate and better absorption of curcumin were observed as compared to the other forms.
Curcumin as an Arthritis Treatment
Curcumin has been found to reduce inflammation and the pain and stiffness related to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Curcumin blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, including cyclooxygenase-2, the target of the active ingredient of a leading anti-inflammatory drug. Some recent studies have shown that curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and modifies immune system responses.
A 2010 clinical trial found that a turmeric supplement standardised to 75 per cent curcumin combined with phosphatidylcholine (liposomal encapsulation) provided long-term improvement in pain and function in 100 patients with knee Osteoarthritis.
A 2012 study found that a curcumin-based product utilising BCM-95 reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active Rheumatoid Arthritis better than a leading nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis: View Research Paper
Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.
Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: View Research Paper
This systematic review and meta-analysis provided scientific evidence that 8–12 weeks of standardized turmeric extracts (typically 1000 mg/day of curcumin) treatment can reduce arthritis symptoms (mainly pain and inflammation-related symptoms) and result in similar improvements of the symptoms as ibuprofen and diclofenac sodium.
Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis: View Research Paper
The promising in vitro results and the interesting clinical observations gathered here for curcumin should refocus efforts to develop therapies based on new formulations of curcumin.
Curcumin as a Cancer Treatment
Researchers have studied Curcumin extensively for its ability cause the programmed apoptosis of, or its ability to kill, various types of cancer cells. It also has been shown to act as chemotherapy and radiation-therapy sensitiser, meaning that it helps sensitise the tumours to cancer therapies, in turn making the treatments more effective. Also, studies have shown that curcumin protects healthy tissues from the side-effects of these therapies. A phase I clinical trial studied the effects of administering curcumin to 25 patients with precancerous changes in various organs. This study appeared to demonstrate that curcumin could prevent the precancerous changes from becoming cancer.
Liposomal curcumin and its application in cancer View Research Paper
Liposomal CUR formulation has greater growth inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects on cancer cells.
Therefore, the combination of CUR and liposomes may be an ideal strategy in clinical practice to treat cancers.
Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: View Research Paper
…in vitro and animal studies have shown anticancer activities of curcumin for virtually all types of human cancers…
Curcumin: An Anti-Inflammatory Molecule from a Curry Spice on the Path to Cancer Treatment: View Research Paper
Oxidative damage and inflammation have been pointed out in preclinical studies as the root cause of cancer and other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. Epidemiological and clinical studies have suggested that cancer could be prevented or significantly reduced by treatment with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory drugs, therefore, curcumin, a principal component of turmeric (a curry spice) showing strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, might be a potential candidate for the prevention and/or treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases.
Curcumin and Cancer Cells: How Many Ways Can Curry Kill Tumor Cells Selectively?: View Research Paper
Overall, our review shows that curcumin can kill a wide variety of tumor cell types through diverse mechanisms.
Curcumin in combined cancer therapy: View Research Paper
All these facts, tested and confirmed in many different biological systems, have paved the way for research aimed to elucidate the potential beneficial effects of combining curcumin and various anti-cancer drugs in order to establish more efficient and less toxic cancer treatment modalities.
Curcumin as a Treatment for Diabetes
Research had found that curcumin is effective in increasing insulin secretion in insulin-resistant people, and in insulin-resistant individuals, it has also been found to improve insulin sensitivity.
Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review: View Research Paper
Recent research has provided the scientific basis for “traditional” curcumin and confirmed the important role of curcumin in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and its associated disorders. Curcumin could favorably affect most of the leading aspects of diabetes, including insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and islet apoptosis and necrosis.
Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes: View Research Paper
A 9-month curcumin intervention in a prediabetic population significantly lowered the number of prediabetic individuals who eventually developed T2DM. In addition, the curcumin treatment appeared to improve overall function of β-cells, with very minor adverse effects. Therefore, this study demonstrated that the curcumin intervention in a prediabetic population may be beneficial.
Curcumin as a Treatment for Heart Disease
Various studies suggest that curcumin may inhibit the development of atherosclerosis, which are blocked arteries, a primary risk factor for heart disease.
Molecular Cardioprotective Effects of Curcumin: View Research Paper
Curcumin decreases the severity of pathological changes and thus protects from damage caused by myocardial infarction. Curcumin improves Ca2+ -transport and its slippage from the cardiac muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum, thereby raising the possibility of pharmacological interventions to correct the defective Ca2+ homeostasis in the cardiac muscle.
The protective role of curcumin in cardiovascular diseases: View Research Paper
The antioxidant effects of curcumin have been shown to attenuate adriamycin-induced cardiotoxicity and may prevent diabetic cardiovascular complications. The anti-thrombotic, anti-proliferative, and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin and the effect of curcumin in decreasing the serum cholesterol level may protect against the pathological changes occurring with atherosclerosis. The p300-HAT inhibitory effects of curcumin have been demonstrated to ameliorate the development of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure in animal models. The inflammatory effects of curcumin may have the possibility of preventing atrial arrhythmias and the possible effect of curcumin for correcting the Ca(2+) homeostasis may play a role in the prevention of some ventricular arrhythmias.
The Effect Of Curcumin On Lipid Level In Patients With Acute Coronary Syndrome: View Research Paper
The effects of curcumin on total cholesterol level and LDL cholesterol level, there was a trend that the lower the dose of curcumin, the higher the effect of reduction. For HDL cholesterol level, there was also a trend that the lower the dose of curcumin, the higher the effect of increase in HDL cholesterol level.
the administration of low-dose curcumin showed a trend of reduction in total cholesterol level and LDL cholesterol level in ACS patients.
Curcumin as a Treatment for Depression
Many high-quality studies have been conducted into the efficacy of curcumin as a treatment for depression. Curcumin was found to be more effective than placebo treatments, especially after a few months, by a statistically significant margin.
Curcumin For The Treatment Of Major Depression: A Randomised, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Study: View Research Paper
From weeks 4 to 8, curcumin was significantly more effective than placebo in improving several mood-related symptoms, demonstrated by a significant group x time interaction for IDS-SR30 total score (F1, 53=4.22, p=.045) and IDS-SR30 mood score (F1, 53=6.51, p=.014), and a non-significant trend for STAI trait score (F1, 48=2.86, p=.097). Greater efficacy from curcumin treatment was identified in a subgroup of individuals with atypical depression.
Efficacy And Safety Of Curcumin In Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial: View Research Paper
The primary efficacy variable was response rates according to Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, 17-item version (HAM-D17 ). The secondary efficacy variable was the mean change in HAM-D17 score after six weeks. We observed that curcumin was well tolerated by all the patients. The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D17 scale was higher in the combination group (77.8%) than in the fluoxetine (64.7%) and the curcumin (62.5%) groups; however, these data were not statistically significant (P = 0.58). Interestingly, the mean change in HAM-D17 score at the end of six weeks was comparable in all three groups (P = 0.77). This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.
Efficacy Of Curcumin, And A Saffron/curcumin Combination For The Treatment Of Major Depression: A Randomised, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study: View Research Paper
CONCLUSIONS: Active drug treatments comprising differing doses of curcumin and combined curcumin/saffron were effective in reducing depressive and anxiolytic symptoms in people with major depressive disorder.
Curcumin as a Treatment for Cognitive Decline
Rates of cognitive decline were found to be lessened with the inclusion of curcumin in the diets of people suffering from cognitive decline.
Curcumin and cognition: a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of community-dwelling older adults: View Research Paper
A battery of clinical and cognitive measures was administered at baseline and at the 6-month and 12-month follow-up assessments. A significant time×treatment group interaction was observed for the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (repeated-measures analysis; time×treatment; F=3·85, P<0·05). Subsequent analysis revealed that this association was driven by a decline in function of the placebo group at 6 months that was not observed in the curcumin treatment group.
Curcumin as a Therapeutic Agent in Dementia: A Mini Systematic Review of Human Studies: View Research Paper
Dementia is a leading health problem worldwide, with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) representing up to 60% of all dementia cases. A growing interest has recently risen on the potential use of natural molecules in this condition. Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound traditionally used in Indian medicine. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have found a protective effect of curcumin in AD.
Curcumin as an Antioxidant
Curcumin has a two-pronged effect against free radicals: it both inhibits free radicals and stimulates the body’s production of antioxidants such as glutathione.
Improvement In Oxidative Stress And Antioxidant Parameters In Beta-thalassemia/Hb E Patients Treated With Curcuminoids: View Research Paper
RESULTS: The increased oxidative stress in beta-thalassemia/Hb E patients was shown by higher levels of MDA, SOD, GSH-Px in RBC, serum NTBI, and lower level of RBC GSH. Curcuminoids administration resulted in improvement of all the measured parameters as long as they were administered. After 3 months withdrawal of treatment, all parameters returned close to baseline levels.
CONCLUSION: Curcuminoids may be used to ameliorate oxidative damage in patients with beta-thalassemia/Hb E disease.
A Pilot Study Of The Antioxidant Effect Of Curcumin In Tropical Pancreatitis: View Research Paper
RESULTS: There was a significant reduction in the erythrocyte MDA levels following curcumin therapy compared with placebo; with a significant increase in GSH levels. There was no corresponding improvement in pain.
INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: Oral curcumin with piperine reversed lipid peroxidation in patients with tropical pancreatitis.
What People are Saying
Bio-Curcumin has drastically reduced the pain of my arthritis, and the swelling is practically gone too.
I am delighted. My teeth also feel much healthier, ‘cleaner’ as if plaque formation is reducing and I continue to have no inflammation.
I was taking two large capsules of another brand of curcumin for my arthritis pain and it was helping but not enough. Within a few days of taking just one, smaller, capsule of Bio-Curcumin per day, my arthritis pain is almost completely gone.
Curcumin benefits, when taken as a supplement, are extraordinary and include anti-inflammatory effects, anti-cancer properties, the alleviation of cognitive decline, and the reduction of the risk of diabetes. In South Africa, we have a selection of many excellent curcumin supplements that utilise either BCM-95 or liposomal encapsulation to increase bioavailability.