Turmeric is a common ingredient that is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat many illnesses. The benefits of taking turmeric are thanks to a compound known as Curcumin.
Many supplements contain Curcumin as it can help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce joint pain (plus a whole lot of other potential benefits).
One downside of Curcumin is that it is not easily absorbed and needs to be paired with black pepper extract (piperine) to increase absorption.
The Benefits of Taking Curcumin
(1) Pain Relief:
Turmeric is often taken to reduce pain.
*Study – A study published in Surgical Endoscopy (2011) found that turmeric was effective at reducing post operative pain and fatigue in patients who had had their gallbladder removed . The study found that turmeric was much more effective than a placebo at reducing pain, with patients requiring significantly less pain relief (painkillers) after surgery.
(2) Anti Inflammatory:
Another use for turmeric is as an anti inflammatory supplement . Because it can reduce pain and inflammation, turmeric is often used to treat joint discomfort caused by arthritis. In addition to inflammation, it can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety (depression and anxiety could potentially also be affected by inflammation of the brain ).
*Study – A 2009 study in the Journal of Alternative & Complimentary Medicine found that Curcumin was as effective as ibuprofen at helping patients with knee osteoarthritis .
(3) Reduce Blood Pressure & Increase Blood Flow:
Curcumin can also help to reduce blood pressure, increase blood flow. It does this by stimulating nitric oxide production which can help to expand blood vessels. The wider your blood vessels are the more blood can flow through them.
Improving blood flow can help with recovery after exercise, and and even exercise performance. This is why many pre workouts contain ingredients that boost nitric oxide.
There are a number of benefits associated with taking Curcumin, and you can see why it is often added to supplements OR taken on its own.
Overall, most of the benefits are linked to inflammation in one way or the other, and the effect that Curcumin has on it. General pain and joint pain are often caused by inflammation so the fact that Curcumin can reduce inflammation makes it effective at tackling these issues
Curcumin and Piperine
As we mentioned at the beginning, Curcumin is a fantastic ingredient in supplements with many benefits. But its absorption is terrible. To get enough Curcumin from turmeric to see any benefits you would need to take massive amounts of turmeric. However, you can increase the absorption of Curcumin by pairing it with piperine.
Piperine is a molecule that comes from black pepper. If you are taking a Curcumin supplement it will almost certainly contain piperine as an ingredient.
Note that sometimes it will be written down as black pepper extract, sometimes it will be written down as piperine, and sometimes it will use Bioperine.
Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has many benefits. It can reduce pain, improve joint health, reduce inflammation, and also helps fight depression and anxiety. It may also help with blood flow, exercise, and recovery, thanks to its stimulation of nitric oxide.
This is definitely a supplement ingredient that you should take a second look at.
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