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Curcumin – The Master Anti-Inflammatory Herb

Madhura Mohan

Posted on April 14 2020


Turmeric (scientific name: Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous perennial plant of the ginger family whose history of medicinal use stretches back over 4000 years. The wonderful herb has been revered for ages and has received an amazing recognition both from the medicinal and culinary world.

The health benefits of turmeric are incredibly vast and are well researched. Wondering why am I talking about turmeric while the topic is on curcumin? That’s because you have got to know where the curcumin comes from.


What is Curcumin?


Turmeric contains several chemical compounds known as curcuminoids. Curcumin is the primary curcuminoid and an active substance found in turmeric root which is what makes turmeric a “functional food”.


Quick Facts On Curcumin

  • Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and the one that gives the spice the characteristic yellow colour.

  • Curcumin is a natural antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory benefits and benefits related to slowing the aging process.

  • Curcumin is fat-soluble meaning it has to be taken with fat for better absorption by the body.

  • An average turmeric rhizome has just about 2% to 5% curcumin. In that sense, it takes about 25 kilos of turmeric to make just 1 kilo of curcumin.

  • Curcumin can be extracted from turmeric to produce supplements that have a much higher potency than turmeric.

Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is becoming popular for its well-researched benefits and has been internationally recognized. While there appear to be countless therapeutic benefits to curcumin supplementation, most of these benefits are due to curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


Curcumin Is Very Popular In The Sports Nutrition Sector

The antioxidant benefits of curcumin combined with its potential to modulate inflammatory pathways have made it very popular in the sports nutrition sector. Yes, curcumin is the most sought after herbal recovery supplement today in the sports nutrition sector because of its potential to reduce inflammation and soreness caused by strenuous exercise. Before we go ahead and learn the benefits of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory agent, you must get some knowledge on what is inflammation. Here we go…


What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation is what the common man perceives as characterized by swelling of the body organ, redness, and pain. That’s right, but why is inflammation caused?                       

Inflammation is the body’s immune system responding to irritants or threats. Inflammation is caused because of a series of transformations that happen in our biological tissue after we meet muscle strain or trauma.

Inflammation is actually good in the sense that it attracts the immune system to fight invaders, begins sealing wounds, increases blood flow to the area inflamed. In the short-term, inflammation can be termed as safe and beneficial. However, in the long term, inflammation can be extremely damaging.

As per the research studies, persistent, low-level inflammation is associated with the alteration of cell signalling pathways, which results in increased levels of inflammatory markers, lipid peroxides and free radicals causing cell damage. Inflammation may eventually initiate and promote disease states including obesity, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, inflammatory bowel disease and even cancer.


How Does Curcumin Help With Inflammation?


The most important benefit of curcumin is its ability to affect inflammation across multiple pathways. Oxidative damage is the major contributor to inflammatory response, which may lead to functional decline of an individual. Curcumin’s role comes here… Curcumin, being a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, inhibits inflammation through inhibition of key inflammatory markers in the body. It exerts a protective role against inflammation by scavenging free radicals and suppressing other inflammatory mediators.

Curcumin can counter the damaging effect of free radicals produced during your workout. The free radicals if left unaddressed will damage the polyunsaturated fats in lipoproteins and cell membranes. This damage can lead to impaired cell function and an inflammatory response that can lead to inflammation. Curcumin prevents the production of pro-inflammatory genes at the source by blocking the DNA transcription.

The best part about curcumin is it is able to manage inflammation along multiple pathways throughout the body all at the same time.


Is The Supplementation With Curcumin Useful?

While the health benefits of curcumin are far-reaching, supplementation with curcumin is the most beneficial way to experience the benefits of curcumin without adding heaps of turmeric to everything you eat and drink.


Curcumin Safety


Curcumin has a good safety record, also there are no known negative interactions with any other substances, including medications either. Unlike synthetic drugs that only work on one inflammation pathway in the body, curcumin may provide cellular protection on so many levels. While there are chances that the counter anti-inflammatory drugs may cause side-effects and the body may develop resistance to it, curcumin which may have a potency equal to that of commercial drugs and the best part it does not cause a side-effect.

People with certain health ailments like gall bladder disease, kidney or other ailments are advised to consult the physician before embarking on supplementation with curcumin.


Well, there is so much more that could be written about curcumin, and here in this article, I have tried to give sufficient info on its anti-inflammatory effect…


Curcumin promotes the delayed onset of muscle soreness after physical exertion, encourages healthy inflammatory response and aids in accelerating muscle recovery…







Also read: Everything you need to know about brown rice protein

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