Flu season is back! Typically right after the holiday season, the pesky virus comes creeping into our lives and forces us to spend the first couple weeks of the new year sneezing, coughing, and blowing our noses. With cold weather and illness in mind, we found a warm, delicious Golden Milk tea recipe on Happy Healthy Life blog. The ingredient we are highlighting in this tea is turmeric, or more specifically curcumin, the compound in turmeric that gives turmeric its distinctive golden color. Curcumin is also a cancer-fighting agent that we use in our Party Time Turmeric Dip, so the post below is a reminder of curcumin’s healthy, cancer-fighting properties.
Overall healthy ingredient profile
There is considerable research on the health benefits of curcumin. It has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help with arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s, cancers, heart disease, metabolic disease, and various other conditions that can arise from chronic inflammation in the body. The other ingredients in this recipe–ginger, cinnamon, coconut oil, cayenne–are also great for you!
Evidence for cancer prevention by curcumin
There have been many clinical trials with curcumin in cancer prevention, particularly for colon and breast cancer. Hundreds of cell and animal studies suggest that curcumin inhibits the development of many cancers, including skin, pancreatic, colon, prostate, liver, esophageal, and multiple myeloma. Curcumin’s multiple diverse mechanisms of action make it an antiproliferative, antioxidant, and a carcinogen blocking agent. Curcumin affects multiple cell signaling pathways including those that mediate inflammation, survival, proliferation, invasion, and metastasis.
♦ Interesting tidbit: In a paper written by Dr. Randy J. Horowitz, the Medical Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, to the American Academy of Pain Management he states, “Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available.” ♦
To improve the absorption of curcumin, piperine, in the form of BioPerine, is often included in these cancer prevention studies. In humans, piperine has been shown to increase the absorption of curcumin by 2000%!
Studies have demonstrated that it reduces inflammation by blocking nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), TNF and COX-2. Laboratory studies have shown NF-kB also plays a key role in cancer by regulating genes that promote proliferation and prevent apoptosis.
Sources of curcumin
As revealed in this week’s blog post, curcumin is mainly found in turmeric, which is part of the ginger family and found in many Indian dishes. You can also find curcumin in other Indian curry powders. It is also used as food coloring in cheese, butter, and mustard.
Turmeric and curry powder are good sources of curcumin, but they are not easily absorbed in the digestive tract, so taking curcumin supplements is commonly recommended for best results. That said, be wary of turmeric curcumin supplements that lack quality and contain mostly filler ingredients. Look for at least 95% pure curcumin supplements.
Turmeric appears to have benefits in amounts normally found in food, while larger doses although often well-tolerated may have adverse health effects. Recommended doses are 1 to 3 grams daily for dried root, 400 to 600 milligrams three times daily for standardized powder, and 15 to 30 drops four times daily for tincture. Check with your health care professional before determining a dosage.
If you are being treated for diabetes and high blood pressure, turmeric may increase the strength of your medication. You can check here for a list of medication with which turmeric interacts negatively. Be sure to also check with your doctor or pharmacist before using turmeric daily.
♦ Additional suggestion: Adding black pepper to recipes containing turmeric can help increase the bioavailability of curcumin.
We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about turmeric and curcumin! If you have any questions about this agent, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will direct you to our agent expert.