Antioxidants have become a hot topic in combating disease in recent years, and the list of these substances has grown thanks to extensive research which has been conducted and disseminated to the public. A particularly powerful antioxidant is curcumin. Curcumin, an extract which is derived from turmeric, has been used in Asian curries for many centuries and has also been used for treatment of arthritis and other health conditions. Only recently has curcumin received attention from the United States regarding its remarkable benefits as a potent antioxidant.
Perhaps the most exciting potential benefit of curcumin is that it may help to prevent and treat cancer by inhibiting cancer cell growth and the growth of blood vessels which feed into tumors. There is some speculation that curcumin can prevent cancer cells from multiplying and is also capable of causing self-destruction of cancer cells. As if this wasn’t enough, there is a possibility that curcumin may prevent Alzheimer’s Disease by decreasing the accumulation of amyloid which characterizes this disease.
Here is a list of other benefits which curcumin confers:
· Accelerates wound healing
· Acts as a cleanser for the liver
· Regulates metabolism and assists in weight loss
· Reduces LDL cholesterol and raises HDL levels
· Decreases severity of inflammatory skin disorders such as psoriasis
· Acts as a natural painkiller
If these reasons are not enough to compel you to add curcumin supplementation into your meal plans, consider the fact that curcumin reduced the COX-2 enzyme in the body, thus decreasing the pain and swelling of arthritis. In fact, recent studies revealed that curcumin was even more effective than ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) in its anti-inflammatory effects. One particular study in Italy which was conducted on 50 patients, all of whom had confirmed knee osteoarthritis, found a 58 percent decrease in reported overall pain and stiffness as well as an improvement in physical functioning among the curcumin group versus the control group.
How To Take Curcumin
Some individuals may prefer to ingest curcumin in the form of straight turmeric powder which can be added to meals or tea. However, I prefer to take curcumin in capsule form. If you opt for the capsule version, look for formulations which contain piperine, or black pepper extract. Piperine augments the gastrointestinal absorption of curcumin. Recommended daily dosage is 400 to 600 milligrams per day. For acute flare-ups of arthritis or other musculoskeletal pain, you can double the dosage until the acute phase abates.