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Benefits of Turmeric

turmeric

(photo credit)

First and foremost, I am not huge into supplements. I’m typically pretty skeptical because the bottom line is: they are not regulated. There are soooo many different brands and types of supplements that it’s hard to really know what you’re consuming. Something worth a shit or just $20 dollars worth of filler?

I only take a couple of supplements: fermented cod liver oil, a probiotic, and now, turmeric. I don’t take a multivitamin because I don’t really see a reason to. I think your best bet is to try and get your multivitamins from food. Anyway, back to turmeric.

I’ve seen turmeric used as a supplement kind of floating around the internet for some time now. Then I had a friend tell me about how she’s been taking it for joint pain.

I picked it up and decided to give it a try since I’ve been having shoulder pain, (basically) chronic hip pain, and off and on neck pain. The neck and hip come and go and have now for years. I’m blaming hip from long distance running and neck from sleep and possible workout injury. I realize a smart person would say, “go to the doctor.” But I’m either stupid or an egomaniac and think I know all the answers…or assume the answers would be “rest.” Am I right? (Yes. I am right).  I feel like I have rested too. I’ve given my hip tons of rest, but the pain still comes.

Anyway, these “injuries” haven’t been debilitating, just inconvenient. Since the shoulder pain was somewhat new (been about 4 months), a few weeks back, I took a solid week off of exercise to let it rest. The pain continued after that week. So, that’s when I bought some turmeric and have been using it since then.

This might just be coincidence, but I think I’m a believer? My shoulder hasn’t been bothering me at all. My hip and neck haven’t been acting up either. I’ve probably been taking the turmeric twice a day now for about 3 weeks (maybe 4). I haven’t done anything else differently so I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the turmeric has helped?

I’ll get back to why I started taking the turmeric in the first place.

(Potential) Benefits of taking Turmeric:

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: 

Turmeric has a compound in it called Curcumin. Turns out curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The effects of curcumin have actually been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs. This is great news! You get the effects of a painkiller without the potential side effects (source).

Because of its’ ability to fight inflammation, consuming turmeric could also help fight heartburn or acid reflux.

It may protect the brain…

There is another (less studied) compound in turmeric that may promote repair of stem cells in the brain. This compound is called Aromatic turmerone. The study that claims these potential effects studied rats with the same stem cell that humans have. The incredible thing about this (potential) find is that these stem cells help with recovery from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers or stroke.  So maybe this compound could be used in the future for treatment? Let’s hope! (source).

It may help to prevent heart attacks:

There was a study involving bypass patients and what the study found was that patients given curcumin three days prior to surgery and 5 days post surgery had less heart attacks than the patients given a placebo. 30% of the placebo group experienced a heart attack post surgery compared with 13% of the curcumin group. This could be (again) because of curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Interesting stuff!  (source).

There are more potential benefits out there too like cancer prevention, delaying diabetes, and anti-depressant effects.

Consuming Turmeric as a Supplement:

One thing about it is, the turmeric spice (what’s in your kitchen cabinet) contains a very small amount of the curcumin. In order to get an effective dose, you need a more concentrated version. That’s where the supplements come in.

Another thing that’s very important to remember with turmeric is the curcumin is poorly absorbed in the blood stream. Taking the turmeric supplement with black pepper (or piperine), however, helps aid in the absorption. So, make sure your supplement has that added to it or you consume black pepper with it (some people eat a few peppercorns).

This is the turmeric supplement I bought off Amazon. Like I said, I think it’s working? This is the first time I’ve noticed a “difference” when taking a supplement. There might be something to it…

I’ve also noticed there are “health drinks” coming out that contain turmeric. I can’t speak to any of those, but I do know people make what is called “Golden Milk,” a turmeric concoction.  I haven’t tried this yet, but there are tons of recipes online. One I found sort of intriguing was posted by Epicurious.

golden-milk

(Photo from Epicurious)

The primary ingredients are turmeric, coconut milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, honey, and some peppercorns. Sounds interesting and looks delicious, right? I’ll have to try it and report back.

My Takeaway

So far I have to admit, I’m a believe in turmeric as a supplement. Like I said, I’ve never really seen results from a supplement and have always been skeptical since they could be made of horse shit for all we know. I think the “health community” may be on to something though with this turmeric..

Do you use turmeric as a supplement? Thoughts?

**One thing to keep in mind is turmeric as a supplement is NOT regulated by the FDA. It is NOT medication. Before you take any supplements, talk to your doc. Do your research.**

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