Curcumin – The Active Ingredient In Turmeric
urmeric, the little golden pod filled with fragrance and antibodies is a part of the spice family without which any Indian household’s pantry is never complete. Turmeric contains a compound known as “Curcumin”, which is an active ingredient in turmeric which is known for its powerful biological activities. Curcumin aids in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. Several experimental trials have demonstrated its effectiveness in the role as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Equipped with just the information that turmeric has properties that help in keeping us healthy and that curcumin has loads of benefits for fighting against various infections and diseases, I got curious to understand a little more about this wonder spice. Here’s what I found.
- Osteoarthritis- osteoarthritis, a chronic joint condition is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. While there are many pharmaceutical options available, they are not without any side effects. Therefore, there is increased interest in alternative treatments including dietary supplements and herbal remedies for the same. One such compound that has gained popularity is the curcumin, known for its anti-inflammatory. A study in mice published in the June 2016 issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy found that curcumin significantly slowed the progression of OA, and a topical treatment provided pain relief. There has been a study where there were significant improvements in the pain and physical function scores of 40 people who were given curcuminoids along with piperine for six weeks.
- Diabetes - Diabetes like osteoarthritis is another most commonly seen chronic disease affecting people worldwide. The multi-aspect nature of diabetes makes lifelong drug therapy and lifestyle modification, extremely challenging. Hence, we can find numerous research conducted to find more natural remedies to help in the easy management of diabetes. It has been seen that the intake of curcumin extract over a period of 10 days is seen to help reduce/stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal - Our grandmothers have always sworn by the anti-bacterial properties of turmeric and they are not wrong. Curcumin has antimicrobial properties that are further increased by exposure to light, thereby reducing the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Curcumin is therefore one of the ingredients in many anti-bacterial ointments that we find in the market. Curcumin disrupts the fungal cell membranes and is often used along with anti-fungal medicines for quicker relief.
- Depression - Depression is a disorder with symptoms such as disrupted sleep patterns, lack of motivation, and anxiety. Several studies have been conducted to explore the benefits of curcumin towards the treatment of depression, as its one of the naturally available compounds. It has been known to target many pathways and found that treatment with curcumin altered the biomarkers of depression and also improved the mood of the patients. This little wonder compound is fast becoming one of the most studied natural compounds and is gaining importance as a multi-faceted healer. Since it's a natural compound, there are no known side effects even with increased dose, making it a viable option for treating numerous diseases.
Curcumin can be extracted and made into supplements with higher potency than the turmeric itself and one can find many products in the market that have pure curcumin extracts. As said earlier, curcumin does not have any side effects, and as such accidental overdose will not result in any harmful effects. Sports enthusiasts, fitness buffs, and people who just want to keep themselves fit tend to use the products.