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Be it because of its aesthetically pleasing rich yellow color or the continuous nagging by doctors and elders to consume more of it, turmeric has a considerably massive presence in our life. For the uninitiated, it is a plant with flowers that belongs to the family of Zingiberaceae and consists of an intriguing chemical compound called curcumin. In fact, it is curcumin which produces the yellow color in the first place.
Considering that curcumin bio supplements are all the rage nowadays, what with all kinds of brands popping up and claiming to have the best one in the market, it makes sense to learn about this glorious chemical, why it’s beneficial for us, what supplements should be consumed and what, if any, side effects can be expected.
But of course, before we go any further, what is curcumin anyway?
Turmeric vs curcumin
Most people think that turmeric and curcumin are the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You read about turmeric curcumin complex on the internet quite often.
Curcumin is the primary curcuminoid in the turmeric plant. Don’t let that sink in, because it’s not going to make an awful lot of sense right now. You see, curcuminoids belong to a class of organic chemical compounds called diarylheptanoids, which consist of two aromatic rings joined by a chain of seven carbon atoms. Their most distinctive characteristic is the bold yellow color that they produce. Turmeric health benefits are numerous; Turmeric pills are used to cure multiple ailments like arthritis and weight loss. Turmeric supplements are also available commercially.
Curiously enough, while curcuminoids are soluble in organic compounds such as alcohols and ketones, their solubility in lipids is very poor thereby making them unsuitable for use as drugs by themselves. Therefore, they need to be combined with compounds such as surfactants to make them effective as drugs.
This begs the question: what do curcumin supplements look like, and why do you need them?
Taking apart a curcumin supplement
A curcumin supplement is available either in tablet, capsule or powder form, in a different color depending on the manufacturer. Among the main peddlers of curcumin supplements are Longvida, Jarrow Formulas, Doctor’s Best, NovaSOL and Theracurmin, with each claim to have an edge over the others thanks to an “additional ingredient” that boosts curcumin’s benefits.
That is to say, it is no different from any other supplement in the market in physical terms. However, its real value lies in what it can do for the human body.
Taking a look at curcumin benefits
To start with, this compound is an excellent antidote for inflammation, which is the reddening and swelling of our skin as a result of injury or infection. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which also come in handy in dealing with arthritis.
Furthermore, lab experiments have shown that curcumin may help prevent or cure a multitude of cancers, including prostate, breast, and skin cancer. It is a soothing remedy for pain, and a convenient cure for acne, due to its antioxidant nature. You simply have to dab liberal amounts of turmeric on the affected regions of your body, and you will see improvements in no time at all. Unsurprisingly, turmeric is a popular constituent when it comes to cosmetics and skin-care products.
It’s not just the body that curcumin has the power to improve; it has a plethora of benefits for the mind as well. For instance, it helps alleviate a host of mental diseases, including Alzheimer’s. One of the biggest consumers of turmeric in this world is India, and it’s also the place with some of the least cases of Alzheimer’s disease. This may be so because curcumin has anti-inflammatory characteristics, and Alzheimer’s starts out as an inflammation in the brain.
Additionally, it is beneficial for depression, be it a mild case or even major depressive disorder (MDD). Once again, the answer to this seemingly magical property may lie in its ability to treat inflammations. Research suggests that there is a link between inflammation and depression. It is not clear if the former causes the latter or vice versa, but there is certainly a positive correlation between them. Therefore, curcumin supplements are able to alleviate depression by eliminating inflammation.
Understanding curcumin dosage
The last thing you want to do is to overdose on a drug because as you probably already know, it’s not pretty. Therefore, educating yourself on the appropriate dosage amounts for curcumin can be worth your while, especially if you plan to consume it over the long term.
The ideal amount for consumption depends on your particular case. Before we get into that though, it is worth noting the difference between natural and synthetic sources of curcumin.
Relying on natural sources will provide you a smaller amount of curcumin as compared to an extract of the similar amount because of the powder form packs in a greater amount of curcumin. For instance, your average Indian diet will provide you with 500-2,000 milligrams of curcumin per day, while an extract of the same amount will provide you a whopping 1,900-2,375 milligrams worth of curcumin.
Generally speaking, when it comes to dosage, the WHO has outlined a suitable daily intake of 1.4 milligrams per pound of bodyweight. If you are suffering from diseases which necessitate the use of curcumin, then you will obviously have to consume different amounts.
For instance, if you are afflicted by osteoarthritis, you need to take 500 milligrams of turmeric extract twice a day for 2-3 months. If it’s high cholesterol which is bothering you, then you will need to consume 700 milligrams twice a day for 3 months. If the regular pill form of curcumin bothers you, you may try to complement your dosage and have fun at the same time via sources such as curry, mustard, and turmeric tea.
Mechanism of action
Every drug performs its function by working in a certain way which involves manipulating our biology for the most part. As far as curcumin is concerned, it is most well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which as we’ve just seen, makes it beneficial in a multitude of ways.
To understand exactly how it’s able to do that (without getting a serious headache, of course), it’s important to realize that things happen in the body thanks to the presence of pathways, which allow signals to be transferred from one part of the body to another. In curcumin’s case, it essentially inhibits a set of cell signaling pathways that are responsible for inducing inflammations.
Side effects refer to the set of unintended (and mostly undesirable) consequences of using a particular drug. Once a person is aware of curcumin side effects, he or she will be able to make a much better and more informed decision with respect to curcumin usage.
While reports of serious side effects are rare, consumers of turmeric or any curcumin supplements have certainly experienced dizziness, headaches, and diarrhea. Moreover, turmeric’s purifying properties can make your blood thinner and cause you to bleed more easily.
Therefore, it is necessary to regulate your dosage, and contact a physician if you are confused as to what to do. In one extreme case, a person who consumed over 1,500 milligrams of turmeric twice per day began suffering from abnormal heart rhythms. You certainly want to avoid that fate.
How and where to buy curcumin supplements
Now that we have a fairly good understanding of curcumin, we can start pondering the question of purchasing it. The particular manufacturer that you want to get curcumin supplements from purely depends on personal preference, but in terms of bioavailability (the amount of the drug which actually enters your circulation), an analysis shows that Theracurmin, NovaSOL, and Longvida are the best options.
You may either get these supplements from your local drugstore or purchase them online; the latter is definitely more convenient as it will offer you a greater range of options to choose from, along with succinct descriptions of each product.