4,000 years of medical experience tell us that curcumin (the main active ingredient in turmeric) is potent medicine.
In just the last 25 years, doctors and researchers have published over 3000 articles and studies considering turmeric and its applications.
We have long recognized that food is medicine. Foods and spices carry nutrients and other elements that our bodies need to thrive.
So why all the buzz about turmeric?
- Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. This is by far the most powerful application of turmeric. Study after study extols the virtues of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs, even beating out aspirin and ibuprofen. Curcumin fights inflammation on a molecular level by blocking a molecule that travels to the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. If you have PCOS, you should know that inflammation is the root of most of our life-threatening and simply irritating symptoms from heart disease to acne.
- Turmeric boosts antioxidants. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules which interact with organic substances in your body such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA and are thought to be behind aging and many diseases and conditions (cancer, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, arthritis, preeclampsia). In addition, curcumin boosts the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. It’s a one-two punch!
- Turmeric lowers the risk of heart disease. Curcumin improves the function of the endothelium- the lining of your blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is a major cause of heart disease and keeps the blood vessels from regulating blood pressure, blood clotting and other factors that can cause direct harm. Small studies have even demonstrated that curcumin works as well as exercise and the common drug Atorvastatin. Add this benefit to curcumin’s work on inflammation, oxidation and free radicals, and you have lessened many of the drivers of heart disease.
- Turmeric fights depression. Curcumin fights depression in several ways. First, curcumin boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF). Depression is commonly linked to reduced levels of BNDF and a shrinking hippocampus, the part of the brain with a role in learning and memory. In addition, curcumin may boost serotonin and dopamine, improving mood. Finally, in a recent study, researchers compared three groups- one took Prozac, the second took curcumin and a third took both. The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared the best.
- Turmeric aids detoxification. Curcumin stimulates production of bile in the gallbladder. The bile is then used by the liver to eliminate toxins as it filters your blood. For women with PCOS, this can be particularly critical since a healthy liver can remove harmful environmental toxins and well as excess androgens and estrogen.
Choosing the right combination of whole foods and supplements can fight disease, and, for women with PCOS, eliminate symptoms. Unfortunately, the main ingredient of turmeric (curcumin) is only about 3% by weight. Studies suggest dosages as high as 1 gram per day, much higher than you could get using turmeric in your foods. To gain real benefit, you need a high quality supplement like PCOS Diva DeFlame which contains Curcumin C3 Complex.
A word of caution: When taken in excess, turmeric can cause nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, or dizziness. Do not take turmeric with diabetic medications or if you are trying to conceive, pregnant, breastfeeding, have GERD, bile obstruction, gallstones or if you are taking anti-coagulation drugs. Turmeric will slow blood clotting, so do not take it if you are undergoing surgery.
Aggarwal, Bharrat. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. By Sahdeo Prasad. 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC/Taylor & Francis, 2011. N. pag. Print.
“Curcumin – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com. Examine.com, n.d. Web.
Gunnars, Kris. “10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin.” Authority Nutrition. Authority Nutrition, 12 Mar. 2014. Web.
Kulkarni, SK, Ashish Dhir, and Kiran Kumar Akula. “Potentials of Curcumin as an Antidepressant.” Hindawi. The Scientific World Journal, Oct. 2009. Web.
Maithilikarpagaselvi, N., MG Sridhar, RP Swaminathan, and R. Sripradha. “Preventive Effect of Curcumin on Inflammation, Oxidative Stress and Insulin Resistance in High-fat Fed Obese Rats.” J Complement Integr Med. J Complement Integr Med, 4 Feb. 2016. Web.
Pham-Huy, Lien Ai, Hua He, and Chuong Pham-Huy. “Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health.” International Journal of Biomedical Science : IJBS. Master Publishing Group, June 2008. Web.
Takada, Y., A. Bhardwaj, P. Potdar, and BB Aggarwal. “Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents Differ in Their Ability to Suppress NF-kappaB Activation, Inhibition of Expression of Cyclooxygenase-2 and Cyclin D1, and Abrogation of Tumor Cell Proliferation.” Oncogene. Oncogene, Dec. 2004. Web.
“Turmeric For Uterine Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” Turmeric for Health. Turmeric for Health, 2015. Web.
Wongcharoen, W., and A. Phrommintikul. “The Protective Role of Curcumin in Cardiovascular Diseases.” Int J Cardiol. Int J Cardiol, Apr. 2009. Web.