One Spicy Root: The Health Benefits of Turmeric
Learn the benefits of turmeric and ways to use it
You may have eaten turmeric in a curry, added it to a smoothie, or enjoyed a golden milk latte at your local coffee shop. Turmeric is a multi-purpose spice, used in a range of recipes and in traditional Ayurvedic medicinal practices.
Turmeric is a root that closely resembles ginger. Available fresh and as a ground spice, turmeric has a distinct yellow color that comes from curcumin. Curcumin is a substance in turmeric with diverse health benefits, including musculoskeletal health, cellular health and antioxidant defense.1 ‡
Keep reading to learn:
- What turmeric and curcumin are
- The health benefits of turmeric
- How to use turmeric
Before making changes to your diet, nutrition, and exercise routine, consult your healthcare practitioner. Always discuss any vitamin and mineral supplements you are taking or plan to take, since these may interact differently with medications and health conditions.
As always, feel free to contact us with your questions about our vitamins, minerals, supplements, and other products.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that originates from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. This spicy root is native to Southeast Asia and is often referred to as Indian saffron or turmeric root.1
Available fresh in root format or as a ground spice, turmeric has a distinctive yellow color. This yellow color comes from the curcumin in the root. Curcumin and related substances in this spice (known as curcuminoids) are responsible for the health properties of turmeric.1
What is curcumin?
Curcumin is the major active compound in turmeric. It is believed to have health benefits including supporting healthy liver, colon, musculoskeletal, and cell functions, may enhance antioxidant defense, and support the body’s natural detoxification system.1 ‡
What are the Benefits of Turmeric?
The benefits of turmeric have been suggested by centuries of traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine and throughout the world.1 Concentrated, or isolated curcumin has been the subject of over 3,000 studies over the past several decades.
The health benefits of curcumin include:
- 1. Joint health. Turmeric has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for occasional joint discomfort.2,3 In a 3-month clinical trial, 200 mg of curcuminoids per day from Meriva®, an enhanced-absorption curcumin supplement, maintained healthy C-reactive protein levels and provided significant benefit in joint comfort, mobility and quality of life.4 A subsequent clinical trial found similar benefits over an 8-month period in a larger population.5 CurcumaSorb provides Meriva at this clinically supported dose, which makes is a good choice for individuals seeking support for joint health.‡
2. Antioxidant support. Preclinical data show that curcumin can boost the activity of A protein called Nrf2, which can enter the cell’s nucleus to promote healthy expression of genes that are part of the body’s antioxidant defense system.6 ‡
3. Detoxification. Curcumin’s effects on Nrf2 also support the expression of certain detoxifying enzymes. Known as “phase II detoxification enzymes,” these proteins help cells properly eliminate a variety of unwanted substances.7 ‡
4. Gut health. Preliminary studies suggest that curcumin supports gut health by balancing immune mediators and supporting the integrity of intestinal tissue.8 ‡
5. Brain health. Studies indicate that curcumin maintains cellular health in various tissues, including the brain, where it maintains healthy immune cell activity.9-11 ‡
6. Muscle recovery from exercise. Sustained and unaccustomed physical activity, or eccentric exercise such as downhill running, often results in muscle soreness. In a randomized single-blind pilot trial, 20 moderately active men received either 1 g Meriva® (200 mg curcuminoids) twice daily or placebo prior to a downhill running session and continued for 24 hours afterwards. Subjects in the curcumin group reported reduced leg soreness. MRI data confirmed a reduction in immune mediators that contribute to post-exercise muscle discomfort.12 ‡
7. Eye health. Some research suggests that curcumin supports the health of the cornea and retina.13,14 ‡
Ways to Use Turmeric
Supplements are the only way to obtain an effective dose for the indications above. Curcumin from Pure Encapsulations contains Curcumin C3 Complex®, a patented curcumin formulation that has been extensively studied in published human trials conducted at a number of hospitals and universities.
If you’ve tried curcumin before and it hasn’t provided the benefit you expected, we suggest trying one of these enhanced absorption formulas:
Curcumin 500 with Bioperine combines Curcumin C3 Complex® with piperine, which enhances absorption.15
CurcumaSorb provides Meriva®, the clinically studied, easily absorbed form of curcumin to help support musculoskeletal, digestive, liver, and cellular health. Meriva® is over 20-fold more bioavailable than standard 95% curcumin.16,17 Published human clinical trials support its effectiveness for maintaining joint, eye and muscle health.3-5,14,16,17 ‡
While supplements are the only way to obtain the amounts used in studies, you can boost your total curcumin intake through food sources:
- Cook with turmeric. Both turmeric spice and fresh turmeric root are popular ingredients in soups, stews, curries, and desserts. Use fresh turmeric root just as you would fresh ginger, peel the root and then grate or chop the root and add it to your recipes. Keep in mind the bioavailability of turmeric is low when cooking with it – so think of it mostly as a flavor and color enhancer.4
- Add turmeric to tea and lattes. Add turmeric to your morning smoothie, use the fresh peeled and grated root to make tea, and use the ground spice as a key ingredient in golden milk or turmeric lattes. Some recipes for turmeric tea and lattes include black pepper to help enhance absorption and a natural sweetener to lessen the bitter flavor of turmeric. However, the black pepper you use in the kitchen is unlikely to provide enough piperine to significantly boost curcumin absorption.6
Discuss any supplements, including turmeric and curcumin supplements with your healthcare practitioner.
Use our Purely For You personalized supplement plan to provide you with tailored wellness recommendations to meet your specific nutritional needs.
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1. Turmeric, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (Accessed December 6, 2021) https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric
2. Jurenka JS. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53
3. Belcaro G, et al. Phytother Res 2014;28(3):444-50.
4. Belcaro G, et al. Panminerva Med 2010;52(2 Suppl 1):55-62.
5. Belcaro G, et al. Altern Med Rev 2010;15(4):337-44.
6. Ashrafizadeh M, et al. Curr Mol Med. 2020;20(2):116-133.
7. Lin X, et al. PLoS One. 2019 May 21;14(5):e0216711.
8. Seiwert N, et al. Nutr Cancer. 2021;73(4):686-693.
9. Ghasemi F, et al. Neurotox Res.2019 Jul;36(1):12-26.
10. Di Meo F, et al. 2019 Oct 11;11(10):2426.
11. Zhang L, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006 Sep;10(1):1-7.
12. Drobnic F, et al. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2014;11:31.
13. Mazzolani F, Togni S. Clin Ophthalmol 2013;7:939-45
14. Kapoor S. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B 2013;14(1): 85-6.
15. Shoba G, et al. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6.
16. Marczylo TH, et al. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2007;60(2):171-7.
17. Cuomo J, et al. J Nat Prod 2011;74(4):664-9.
18. How to cook with turmeric: 16 easy recipes to get you started (Accessed December 6, 2021) https://www.today.com/food/how-cook-turmeric-super-healthy-trendy-root-t43536