Curcumin is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is found in the spice, turmeric. The two words are sometimes used interchangeably, but the technical difference between the two is that turmeric is the yellowish powder used to flavour foods, while curcumin is a chemical contained within turmeric.
Taking turmeric on a daily basis is definitely something for you to consider. It is difficult to get enough of the active compound by using it as flavouring only. There are many good quality supplements that can be easily purchased at your local health food store. I would recommend supplementing with turmeric 2-3 times a day. Why? Let’s take a look at the 4 best reasons to add turmeric to your regime:
1. Turmeric can positively affect insulin and triglyceride blood levels helping to balance blood sugar and regulate cholesterol. This can positively affect food cravings, mood, hormones and also help to prevent diabetes
2. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties can help manage common skin conditions like acne and eczema. It also improves skin quality and reduces the rate of aging.
3. Turmeric delays liver damage from unavoidable environmental toxins and also helps protect the liver from the effects of alcohol, drugs and other toxins.
4. Reduction in joint inflammation and pain. Curcumin lowers the production of prostaglandins (responsible for inflammation, pain, and swelling) in our bodies. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added curcumin to their treatment plans had lessened pain and improved mobility, while those who didn’t take the supplement didn’t show improvements.
You’re probably wondering if there is a downside. Unless you are pregnant or taking blood-thinning medications, there are few side effects or risks in taking turmeric. There have been some cases reported of nausea and stomach upset, however, this is rare and usually at very high doses. Certainly, if you are unsure or have other health conditions, always speak with a health care provider before starting any regular supplementation.
Overall then, turmeric can potentially improve health and well-being. Consider if a trial of turmeric supplementation is right for you. If so, take it for 4-6 weeks and see if you notice a difference.
Dr. Michelle Lockyer
Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857752/
Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097/