Curcumin: A Staple Health Supplement
There are plenty of problems with Western medicine, but perhaps chief among them is that the institution spends more time and treasure on treating a disease or its symptoms rather than trying to figure out how to prevent the disease in the first place. By their preferences and actions, it seems like they think plain ol' everyday health is downright boring.
So you see study after study on what the effects of this drug or that supplement are on a specific disease or condition. Very, very, few studies concern themselves with what effect a particular compound might have on healthy people.
Case in point, some Ohio State researchers were only able to find a single study on what effects a daily dose of 500 mg. of curcumin had on healthy people. After taking the substance for just a week, subjects had reduced cholesterol and triglycerides, along with an increased amount of antioxidants in their blood.
Given the dearth of such curcumin studies, the Ohio researchers decided to do look at the substance themselves. They already knew of research supporting its use as a pain-reliever, anti-catabolic, and possible anabolic compound, along with how it stimulates fat burning and protects men from prostate cancer, but again, they wanted to know how it affected regular people, and not just some specific condition.
The scientists rounded up 38 people between the ages of 40 and 60 and split them into two groups of 19. They gave 400 mg. of curcumin or placebo to each group for 4 weeks. Afterwards, they noted the following statistically significant changes:
"...lowering of plasma triglyceride values, lowering of salivary amylase levels, raising of salivary radical scavenging capacities, raising of plasma catalase activities, lowering of plasma beta amyloid protein concentrations, lowering of plasma sICAM readings, increased plasma myeloperoxidase without increased c-reactive protein levels, increased plasma nitric oxide, and decreased plasma alanine amino transferase activities."
To put that it in less technical language, triglyceride levels dropped, digestive enzymes of carbohydrates in saliva went up, free radical scavenging abilities increased, the type of protein responsible for plaques in the brain went down, and the amount of blood-pressure lowering nitrous oxide went up (which can boost stamina and increase blood flow to muscles).
They also noted a drop in the levels of a enzyme that helps hair turn gray, which would seem to warrant another study, albeit of longer duration.
What Kind to Use
Each new study on curcumin seems to strengthen the idea that nearly everyone should be taking it, whether for the purposes of increasing athletic ability, or just plain health.
If you're sold on the merits of curcumin, make sure you use a product that contains piperine (a black pepper extract). Curcumin, by itself, is notorious for being absorbed poorly and piperine increases absorption several fold. Biotest® Curcumin is a good choice.
- DiSilvestro RA, Joseph E, Zhao S, Bomser J. "Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lipidated curcumin in healthy middle aged people." Nutr J. 2012 Sep 26;11:79.