BLOG 286 TURMERIC
Turmeric is that bright yellow substance you see me put drops in my water and suck down three times per day. Some studies show it is the most effective nutritional substance there is. I have personally felt the benefits of this spice, so let us take a look at how turmeric can be helpful to us.
Beginning with the basics, turmeric is the spice that makes curry look yellow. It also makes mustard look yellow. It is a relative of ginger. Popularity of its use began in Indian cultures, but we now know there are medicinal properties in this spice as well. Curcumin is the component of turmeric which carries its health benefits. It is most well- known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Low level inflammation is extremely important. Some studies have stated that turmeric out performs some pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to its effects on some diseases.
Let’s look at some of the diseases turmeric has been found to help and/or alleviate. I found research done by James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the, American Botanical Council publication, HerbClip, to be very informative. When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, “Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease” (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html). Its benefits when it comes to Arthritis are really amazing: “Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme” (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html). Cancer also made the list in which turmeric has been found to effective in the, “Prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html).
Oh there are more. The list continues: “Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, 3 days before surgery and continuing for 5 days after surgery can lower the risk of a heart attack following bypass surgery” (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html) . My diabetic clients might find it interesting to read, “Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 9 months can reduce the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html) .
Other ailements it has been known to help include liver problems, ring worm, and even depression. Heart burn and indigestion can also be alleviated. This remedy is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, and gallbladder disorders (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html).
Turmeric can be taken in liquid or capsule form. It is important to understand that a substance such as this is not regulated the same way in which a pharmaceutical drug is by the FDA. Therefore, not all products are created equal. Furthermore, it can interact with other medications you are taking. For example, “Turmeric may slow blood clotting, so people taking drugs with the same effect, like anticoagulants, should be cautious about taking turmeric supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/18/turmeric-health-benefits-curcumin_n_5978482.html). Because it does help reduce blood sugar, diabetics should of course proceed with caution as to not make their blood sugar too low. It can affect fertility in men as well, but anyone with hormone sensitivity should be careful using it. If one has an iron deficiency be careful because it can impact the absorption of iron.
I like using this natural product myself and have felt the positive effects of less swelling in my knee post-surgery as well as my elbows from lifting weights a lot. Some of my clients have started taking it as well. We are all different though when it comes to our bodies. Sharing little tricks are always helpful on our fitness journeys so that we can strive towards feeling our best. After all, we are tearing apart our muscles before we build them back up (hypertrophy). If turmeric sounds like a supplement you might want to try, besides sprinkling a little on your food, always consult your doctor first. I’m not a doctor YET, only the voice of reason and maybe even the drill sergeant on your fitness journey.