Turmenic is a very famous spice, the basic ingredient in curry. Its health benefits have been known for a long time, and as science advances, more and more of its effects are coming to light. Turmenic (Curcuma longa) is a widely used in Asian traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-infective properties.
Turmenic belongs to the ginger family and has a distinctive yellow colour due to the curcuminoids it contains. The main active substance in turmenic is curcumin (one of the curcuminoids), curcumin, a polyphenol. Polyphenols are known for their strong antioxidant - oxidative stress, protective properties against damaging free radicals. Curcumin is a particularly strong antioxidant, thus reducing inflammation.
Before we go into the details of its effects, it is important to know that the extract of turmenic, curcumin, is very poorly utilized on its own, having almost no effect - as it is not fully absorbed and, if absorbed, it is quickly degraded. Therefore, curcumin should be combined with piperine (black pepper extract) and such a supplement should be chosen, thus increasing the benefit of curcumin by a factor of 20.
Curcumin can exert its antioxidant properties in a number of ways: on the one hand, it directly neutralises free radicals (reactive oxygen and nitrogen radicals). It also has an indirect effect: it stimulates the activity of enzymes that neutralise free radicals.
Inflammatory cells release free radicals, so curcumin also has anti-inflammatory effects due to its anti-free radical activity. It also reduced the amount of compounds that stimulate the production of inflammatory cells.
Oxidative stress and inflammation can be the basis of many diseases, so turmenic provides preventive protection against many diseases. Among others: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, cancers, cardiovascular diseases and others.
Curcumin can increase the brain's serotonin ('happy hormone') levels, which can improve mood, concentration, memory and brain function in general.
It can also lower cholesterol levels and has anticoagulant effects, reducing the risk of thrombosis and protecting against atherosclerosis. Because of its inhibitory effect on a hormone responsible for cell growth, it protects against cardiac enlargement and the risk of heart attack. The anticoagulant effect is explained by the fact that curcumin inhibits the formation of blood clotting complex (called factor FXa).
Turmenic also has anti-cancer effects, inhibiting the contact between cancer cells, and in the absence of contact, cancer cells undergo so-called programmed cell death (apoptosis).
Curcumin is available in many different forms, including capsules, tablets, creams, energy drinks, soaps and cosmetics. Curcumin is considered "generally considered safe" by the FDA. Studies have found it to be safe in doses between 4000 and 8000 mg. But there have been studies that found no side effects at 12,000 mg of curcuminoids per day.