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What is Curcumin?


Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, is a traditional Indian curry spice. It is also used as a yellow food coloring and has been used in traditional medicine in India and Ancient Egypt for at least 6000 years.

Several natural substances have greater antioxidant effects than conventional vitamins, including various polyphenols, flavonoids and curcumenoids. Natural substances are worth further exploration both experimentally and clinically.

Curcumin is an antioxidant extract from the spice turmeric that produces a wide range of health benefits. Recently, many studies on health benefits associated with curcumin have been reported. In the present study, an attempt has been made to test individual curcuminoids, such as curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin, for their antioxidant activities by in vitro model systems.

Water and fat-soluble extracts of turmeric and its curcumin component exhibit strong antioxidant activity, comparable to vitamins C and E. Study showed curcumin to be eight times more powerful than vitamin E in preventing lipid peroxidation.

Taken in group arrangements such as C-complex, curcuminoids are three times as potent in neutralizing free-radical molecules. Curcumin has the ability to reduce oxidative stress. curcumin's role as an antioxidant have the ability to down regulate nitric oxide formation where Nitric oxide is a key element in inflammation and may contribute to carcinogenesis.

Curcumin, also known as diferuloylmethane, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and may help prevent the development of a variety of conditions related to oxidative and free-radical damage, including cataracts, heart disease, and cancer. Cancer patients should be taking 2000 mg to 4000 mg a day of curcumin extract with a heavy meal. In a wide range of cancer cells, curcumin has been shown to induce cell shrinkage, chromatin condensation, DNA fragmentation and block cellular signal transduction, all of which are characteristics of apoptosis.

Apart from antioxidant property curcumin plays an important role in Alzheimer's disease, it is a powerful detoxifier, its anti inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant roles may be clinically exploited to control many diseases.

Curcumin benefits:
In a recent review article about the anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin, it was found that curcumin has been demonstrated to be safe in six human trials and has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity. As a non-steroid al anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), curcumin offers excellent anti-inflammatory (including anti-arthritic) action with no known toxicity. This medical use has been studied in clinical trials, animal models, and laboratory studies.

Research has shown several mechanisms that could be the source of curcumin's anti-inflammatory activity. This makes sense, since natural products have historically played a significant role in human health including the treatment and prevention of inflammatory conditions. When we eat a varied diet, a certain amount of anti-inflammatory products are ingested which all react along different pathways. This allows the body to use the natural ingredients in a balanced manner against over response of inflammation.

Why anti-inflammatory products are important:
Inflammation is a natural response of the body to damage. That damage may be a cut, a bruise, or a long term illness. There are a number of balanced chemical cycles and reactions which characterize the inflammation response in the body. Sometimes the balance is lost, and a state of chronic inflammation develops.

Rheumatoid arthritis, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, and diabetes, are examples of long term inflammation. There may even be a link between inflammation and such diseases as cancer and arteriosclerosis. Treating Alzheimer's Disease patients with NSAID's has been shown to improve their cognitive state.

One of the easiest uses of turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties is on skin problems. If you have a skin wound or ulcer, or a patch of psoriasis, simply apply a paste made of turmeric and water and put a Band-Aid on it overnight. Many times this simple treatment can clear up a simple skin lesion.

Curcumin as a leading NSAID:
Many other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs cause alarming side effects such as stomach upset, heartburn, and nausea, increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, skin reactions, and serious stomach and intestinal bleeding. Aspirin is an exception to the heart attack and stroke risk, as it has been shown to lower those risks.

Curcumin has been shown to be highly tolerable and non-toxic in clinical trials and safety trials. Turmeric and its extracts have been used in folk remedies by many cultures for years, and there may be evidence that populations eating high levels of turmeric derive health benefits from their dietary intake.

Like some other phytonutrients, curcumin has a strong basis in scientific research for the claims being made about its anti-inflammatory effect. This bolsters ones confidence in using it as a relatively safe NSAID.

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