While many health benefits of turmeric curcumin have been long-known, now it is proven to improve bone density. Read here to learn more about the benefits of turmeric curcumin and how much to consume for significant results.
Turmeric (biological name: Curcuma longa) is a root herb of the ginger family, with an orange-colored rhizome (a root, tuber, bulb). Dried and ground, the rhizome is commonly used as a coloring agent, a spice (found in curry), and for its innumerable health benefits.[i]
India remains one of the most prominent producers of turmeric, along with Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Jamaica. Turmeric has been used in India and the Middle East for thousands of years as a common spice in Indian dishes.[ii]
Additionally, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times, when its anti-inflammatory abilities were discovered. Through the years, extensive studies, including over 10,000 peer-reviewed articles, demonstrate a wide variety of potential health benefits, deeming turmeric the “Spice of Life.”[iii]
The compounds in turmeric that make it useful for herbal medicine are called curcuminoids. Curcumin is the most active compound of eight curcuminoids and constitutes 77% of curcuminoids.[iv]
The chemical properties of curcumin enable it to act as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, autoimmune and cancer inhibitor, antidepressant, anticoagulant, antimicrobial, anti-aging agent and more. For example, curcumin stimulates bile production in the digestive tract, helping to relieve bloating, gas, indigestion and other bowel disorders. It lowers levels of blood cholesterol and blood sugar and helps to prevent atherosclerosis, blood clots and diabetes.[v]
(Benefits of curcumin.[vi])
Forms of Turmeric Curcumin
Turmeric is a classic spice in Indian cuisine and curry powders. It is also available in an essential oil form, in some pain and/or inflammation relieving ointment, and in capsule and powder form as a dietary supplement.[v]
How Much Do I Take?
Turmeric contains approximately 2% – 5% curcumin by weight, so a teaspoon of turmeric weighing 2.3 grams, contains about 0.045 gram curcumin, or 45 milligrams. (Do not confuse turmeric with curry, as curry is a blend of ingredients.)[v]
While turmeric is effective even in very small quantities (i.e. a serving of a turmeric-spiced dish), studies indicate that much higher dosages may be required for significant results. In addition, used regularly, sustainable relief from joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may be achieved. As such, curcumin may demonstrate similar effects to that of a prescription medication, but with fewer side effects.[ii]
To gain health benefits from turmeric, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking 1 to 3 grams of dried, powdered turmeric root per day, about 1/2 to 1.5 teaspoons. The recommended dosage for standardized curcumin powder is 400 to 600 milligrams, three times per day.[v]
When choosing powdered turmeric root, be advised that extracting curcumin from the turmeric root involves exposing it to an extremely harsh chemical (i.e. hexane, dry cleaner fluid, nail polish remover). Since curcumin is fat-soluble, and these constituents bond with chemicals, then a chemical residual may remain with the curcumin.
Choosing an organic whole food turmeric source can avoid this. And when that source is fermented, it dramatically increases the bioavailability of curcumin, among other benefits. Fermentation transforms this amazing root into a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that the body can more easily recognize and assimilate into the cellular structure. In clinical research, one-half teaspoon of fermented turmeric powder was shown to have 24 times the curcuminoid activity of a curcumin extract. [According to Cindy Key, Certified Nutritionist, former New Chapter Account Executive and client of The Thermogram Center. She states:
The human cultures that live the longest with the least amount of degenerative disease do not consume isolated curcumin: they consume the entire root.
If choosing encapsulated turmeric root, consider a source that provides curcumin as a standardized extract to ensure potency and to minimize differences between batches.[vii] Also consider that the ingredient piperine (from black pepper) in a curcumin formula may increase the absorption of curcumin into the bloodstream by up to 2,000%.[viii]
Consider the product information resources listed in “For More information” below. I am often asked what products I use as a Better Breast Health – For Life!™ author and the lead educator at The Thermogram Center, Inc. Keep in mind that products that work well for my body may not work well for you and vice versa. Please make informed purchase decisions with qualified functional medicine/health providers.
My approach is twofold: to consume organic whole-food sources, fermented when available, and to achieve recommended dosage levels.
If one rounded teaspoon yields 50 mg of curcumin, and the fermented form provides 24 times more curcuminoid activity than standardized curcumin extract, then one teaspoon of fermented turmeric may represent the equivalent of 1200 mg of standardized curcumin extract.
I choose the organic whole-food source, fermented and cultured turmeric powder product: New Chapter Turmeric Curcumin and consume one capsule at each, breakfast and dinner.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, turmeric is “generally regarded as safe” when eaten in foods and at recommended dosages.[v] The Linus Pauling Institute reports that single oral doses of curcumin as high as 12 grams caused no adverse effects.[vii] At extremely high doses, using turmeric/curcumin medicinally carries some risk of side effects, which include indigestion, nausea and diarrhea.[ix]
Exercise caution and check with your doctor before taking curcumin or turmeric supplements if you are diabetic, pregnant or breast-feeding, have gall stones or if you take medications that thin the blood, reduce stomach acid or lower blood sugar, as curcumin can exacerbate these conditions.[x] Since turmeric has relatively high oxalate content, individuals with gout or kidney stones should limit turmeric to one teaspoon per day or consider using curcumin formulas instead.[xi]
Turmeric is used extensively by Eastern cultures where people have statistically lower incidences of many cancers, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Illnesses that thrive on inflammatory conditions are also less common in the East. Turmeric reduces inflammation in the body, thus giving it enormous potential in fighting disease. Minimal side effects occur from using turmeric in food or as household remedies.[ix]
For More Information
GoodHealth: 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
HealthLine: 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
SelfHacked: 37 Proven Health Benefits of Curcumin
Dr. Axe: Turmeric Benefits
Bone Building Benefits: