The Health Benefits of Turmeric

By on April 1, 2008

turmeric

Turmeric powder is made from the Curcuma longa shrub by fist drying and then crushing the stalk of the plant.

Turmeric was used in ancient times on the Indian subcontinent to treat various illnesses such as rheumatism, body ache, skin diseases, intestinal worms, diarrhoea, intermittent fevers, hepatic disorders, biliousness, urinary discharges, dyspepsia, inflammations, constipation, leukoderma, amenorrhea, and colic.

The health benefits of turmeric include possible cancer prevention, promising Alzheimer’s treatment, and powerful anti inflammatory properties.

 

Health Benefits of Turmeric

  • Cancer Prevention
    A growing body of research suggests that curcumin, the major active constituent of the dietary spice turmeric, has potential for the prevention and therapy of cancer.

    Animal and in vitro studies have demonstrated that curcumin has the potential to fight tumors occurring from prostate cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer and liver cancer.
    In a search for alternative and preventive therapies for prostate cancer, a laboratory study was conducted on the ways in which curcumin could interfere with the growth factor signaling pathways in prostate cancer cells. The results indicated that curcumin might be a novel modality by which one can interfere with the growth pathways of the prostate cancer cell and prevent it from progressing.

    In a human study involving chronic smokers ingesting turmeric over a period of thirty days, results showed a significant drop in the cancer causing compounds of tobacco smoke.

    All these studies suggest that curcumin has enormous potential in the prevention of cancer.

  • Alzheimer’s
    Preliminary studies suggest that turmeric has a potential role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, and further studies are underway in this regard.

    Alzheimer’s involves amyloid beta (Abeta) accumulation, oxidative damage, and inflammation, and risk is arguably reduced with increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory consumption. Turmeric’s phenolic pigment curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and can suppress oxidative damage, inflammation, cognitive deficits, and amyloid accumulation. When fed to aged mice with advanced amyloid accumulation, curcumin labeled plaques and reduced amyloid levels and plaque burden. This data suggests that low dose curcumin effectively disaggregates Abeta as well as prevents fibril and oligomer formation, supporting the rationale for curcumin use in clinical trials preventing or treating Alzheimer’s.

    Using blood samples from Alzheimer’s patients, researchers have found that bisdemethoxycurcumin, the active ingredient of curcuminoids found in turmeric root boosted immune cells called macrophages to clear amyloid beta.

    In-vitro studies have found curcuminoids (a mixture of curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin) found in turmeric, to possess acetylcholinesterase (Alzheimer’s has been linked to a deficiency in the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine) inhibitory and memory enhancing activities, demonstrating that curcuminoids mixture might be better than curcumin as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.

  • Anti-inflammotory
    Studies have shown that curcumin also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties, by inhibiting levels of cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme instrumental in the creation of molecules that causes inflammation.
  • Arthritis
    In vivo studies have demonstrated the possibility of turmeric in the treatment of arthritis, but further studies are required to establish effectiveness.
Nutrient Values of Turmeric per 100g

Calories
354kcal

Energy Value
1481kj

Total Fat
9.88mg

Carbohydrates
65g

Protein
8g

Dietary Fiber
21g
Sugars
3g
Sodium
38mg
Zinc
4.35mg
Potassium
2525mg
Vitamin C
25.9mg
Magnesium
193mg
Copper
0.603mg
Calcium
183mg
Iron
41.42mg
Vitamin E
3.1mg
Vit. B3 (Niacin)
5.14mg
Vitamin B6
1.8mg
Vit. B1 (Thiamine)
0.152mg
Vit. B2 (Riboflavin)
0.233mg
The consumption of supplemental doses of turmeric can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels, thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.

References:
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
4. Aggarwal BB, Kumar A, Bharti AC. Anticancer potential of curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies. Anticancer Res. 2003 Jan-Feb;23(1A):363-98. PMID: 12680238.
5. Ringman JM, Frautschy SA, Cole GM, Masterman DL, Cummings JL. A potential role of the curry spice curcumin in Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2005 Apr;2(2):131-6. PMID: 15974909
6. Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo JN, Kuscuoglu N, Wilson J, McCaffrey G, Stafford G, Chen G, Lantz RC, Jolad SD, Sólyom AM, Kiela PR, Timmermann BN. Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Nov;54(11):3452-64. PMID: 17075840.
7. Tang M, Larson-Meyer DE, Liebman M. Effect of cinnamon and turmeric on urinary oxalate excretion, plasma lipids, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1262-7. PMID: 18469248.
8. Dorai T, Gehani N, Katz A. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. II. Curcumin inhibits tyrosine kinase activity of epidermal growth factor receptor and depletes the protein. Mol Urol. 2000 Spring;4(1):1-6. PMID: 10851300.
9. López-Lázaro M. Anticancer and carcinogenic properties of curcumin: considerations for its clinical development as a cancer chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agent. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Jun;52 Suppl 1:S103-27. PMID: 18496811.
10. Pari L, Tewas D, Eckel J. Role of curcumin in health and disease. Arch Physiol Biochem. 2008 Apr;114(2):127-49. PMID: 18484280.
11. Ahmed T, Gilani AH. Inhibitory effect of curcuminoids on acetylcholinesterase activity and attenuation of scopolamine-induced amnesia may explain medicinal use of turmeric in Alzheimer’s disease. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2008 Oct 1. PMID: 18930076.
12. Yang F, et al. Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo. J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 18;280(7):5892-901. Epub 2004 Dec 7. PMID: 15590663.
13. Milan Fiala, et al. Scientists Isolate Chemical In Curry That May Help Immune System Clear Plaques. University of California. 2007.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Adrian



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>