Curcumin ameliorates multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease in human and animal models (R). Curcumin helps in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (R, R2), and appears to be safe and effective in maintaining remission in patients with inactive ulcerative colitis (R). In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, dosing at 500mg curcumin + diclofenac sodium was found to be effective (R). In Lupus patients, short-term turmeric supplementation decreases blood and protein in the urine along with systolic blood pressure (R). Curcumin protects against autoimmune diabetes (R). Curcumin inhibits autoimmune diseases by reducing inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma and associated JAK-STAT and NF-kappaB signaling pathways in immune cells (R).
I’ve already discussed how curcumin inhibits biofilms and quorum sensing. I’ve also discussed how curcumin is capable of activating the vitamin D receptor, which is important for combating infections. Curcumin also shows anti-viral activity against influenza, adenovirus, coxsackievirus, HIV, and reduces hepatitis C gene expression (R). As an antifungal agent, curcumin (+ piperine) shows activity against Candida albicans, inhibiting hyphae development (R) (R, R2, R3). Curcumin protects against septicemia in mice exposed to the pathogenic bacteria responsible for cholera and reduces mortality rates (R, ). Curcumin combined with antibiotics helps decrease lung inflammation in Pneumoniae (R). .
One of the most interesting things curcumin does for the brain is it increases DHA (R). Curcumin elevates levels of enzymes involved in the synthesis of DHA from ALA in both liver and brain tissues (R). This is significant because even Fish oil/DHA supplements often don’t increase DHA in the brain. Curcumin is protective against cell death in brain injuries caused by rapid blood return (reperfusion) (R). Bioavailable Curcumin used in brain hemorrhaging improves neurological function and reduces brain water content (R). In spinal cord injury, curcumin inhibited cell death and neuron loss, and significantly improved neurologic deficit seven days after injury (R). Curcumin dramatically counteracts the cognitive impairment caused by Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), reduces oxidative damage and normalizes levels of BDNF, synapsin I, and CREB (R). In an animal model of dementia, curcumin prevented memory loss, restored healthy glutathione levels, restored insulin receptor protein levels, and reduced oxidative stress overall (R). Curcumin helps the brain, in part, by inhibiting GSK3b (R). Alzheimer’s / Neurogenesis Bioavailable Curcumin helps create new brain cells in adults and reverses cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin was found effective in reducing amyloid plaque (R). Curcumin (+ piperine) showed strong neuroprotective activity against quinolinic acid-induced neurodegeneration (R), which is caused by inflammation and emotional stress. Curcumin improves learning and spatial memory in adult and aged mice by increasing BDNF and CREB (R, R2). Curcumin can stimulate developmental and adult hippocampal neurogenesis, neural plasticity and repair (R). .
Curcumin is most renowned for helping the body deal with systemic, low-grade inflammation, which is a hallmark of joint pain. This was validated in a study of 367 people with knee osteoarthritis and a WOMAC pain score higher than 5 (out of 20). Participants received either 1,200 mg per day of ibuprofen or 1,500 mg per day of curcumin extract for four weeks. Researchers measured pain, stiffness, function and adverse effects. The two groups both said they were satisfied with their treatment, but those taking curcumin were a little less stiff, and the ibuprofen group had significantly more abdominal pain. .
Recent studies have found curcumin can improve the anticancer effects of chemo in cancer patients, which could mean patients may dial back their chemo dose or render the chemo dose more effective. “Curcumin has also been studied for reducing the side effects of these treatments,” said Anurag Pande, PhD, lead scientist at Sabinsa, a curcumin ingredient supplier, “such as radiation- induced dermatitis in breast cancer patients.” Radiation dermatitis—a skin burn or rash associated with radiation treatment for cancer—has no great treatment, but one study found 6 grams a day of curcumin led to less than one-third of participants complaining of skin peeling, compared to nearly nine in ten of those who took the placebo. .
When major depression strikes, Americans turn to Prozac. The pharmaceutical seems to be effective, but it also features side effects, including anxiety, insomnia and sexual dysfunction. That’s about enough to make a person depressed! A 2013 study compared Prozac with 1,000 mg of curcumin for six weeks. Although the researchers said there was no real difference between any of the treatments, the curcumin-only approach helped 62.5 percent of patients, the Prozac worked for 64.7 percent, and the combination dose worked for 77.8 percent. “Curcumin was found to be equivalent to fluoxetine (Prozac),” researchers concluded. A gold-standard study the next year among those with major depressive disorder found 500 mg twice daily of curcumin took between four and eight weeks to take effect, and worked better with atypical depression—which is both more difficult to treat and the most common type. .
Because curcumin can help fight inflammation and keep blood sugar levels steady, it could be a useful tool to prevent or treat type 2 diabetes. One study followed 240 adults with prediabetes and found that taking a curcumin supplement over 9 months lowered their odds of developing diabetes. Research is ongoing, but a lot of the studies so far have been on animals, not people.
The next time you're under the weather, you may want to sip some turmeric tea. Curcumin might help you to fight off a variety of viruses, including herpes and the flu. (But most of the research on this was done in a lab, not on people.) Keep in mind that turmeric is only about 3% curcumin, and your body doesn't absorb curcumin well, so the occasional cup of tea won't be a cure-all.Curcumin, found in turmeric, stopped the potentially deadly Rift Valley Fever virus from multiplying in infected cells, says Aarthi Narayanan, lead investigator on the new study and a research assistant professor with Mason's National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases
Research on turmeric's ability to protect your ticker has been mixed. Some studies have found that turmeric can lower LDL "bad" cholesterol, while others concluded that the spice has no effect. Scientists continue to look into the heart-protective possibilities of turmeric. One small study found that turmeric can help ward off heart attacks in people who have had bypass surgery.
People with Alzheimer's have chronic inflammation, and turmeric seems to have natural anti-inflammatory effects. So does turmeric fight Alzheimer's? Sorry, there's no strong scientific evidence yet that taking turmeric is an effective way to prevent the disease. man with knee pain 7/13 Arthritis Turmeric has shown promise for its ability to ease joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. However, we need more research before turmeric becomes a go-to arthritis treatment. If you decide to try it for your joint pain, help your body absorb natural curcumin by eating your turmeric along with black pepper. chest xray 7/13 Cancer In lab and animal studies, turmeric has stopped the growth of tumor cells, helped detoxifying enzymes work better, and more. What these studies can't tell us, though, is what will happen in the human body when a person eats turmeric. Plus, there's a chance that turmeric might interfere with some chemotherapy drugs. empty toilet roll 7/13 Irritable Bowel Syndrome Early research, including a pilot study of 207 adults and another one using rats, has found that turmeric could help improve IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain. Like many things we've already covered here, more research is needed. Turmeric is also being studied as a treatment for diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. man with headache 7/13 Headaches Since its relative ginger is a well-known natural headache remedy, it's no surprise that turmeric gets recommended as a headache treatment, too -- especially for migraines. Although people sing its praises online, there's little scientific evidence showing that turmeric can treat or prevent headaches, although one study suggests it could be part of a new approach. woman applies facemask 7/13 Acne Some people claim that putting a turmeric mask on their skin or eating turmeric will help fight stubborn pimples -- perhaps because of the spice's reported antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, there's no hard science to back this up.