- In one study, a curcumin supplement improved endothelial function by 36% compared to a placebo.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Curcumin has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs in its ability to reduce inflammation without the side effects. In various studies, curcumin's potency has been found to be comparable to that of some anti-inflammatory drugs, with reductions in inflammatory markers like CRP by up to 65% in some patient groups.
- Antioxidant Boost: Curcumin increases the body's antioxidant enzyme activity. In specific studies, after curcumin supplementation, participants showed a 50% increase in plasma antioxidant capacity.
- Brain Health and Function: Curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), a growth hormone that aids neuron multiplication. Research has indicated an increase in BDNF levels by up to 76% after curcumin supplementation.
- Joint Health: For individuals with arthritis, curcumin supplementation can lead to significant improvements. One study found that rheumatoid arthritis patients had a 44% reduction in pain scores after taking curcumin.
- Heart Health: Curcumin has been shown to improve endothelial function, which is vital for heart health. In some studies, improvements in endothelial function were comparable to that of exercise, with a 64% improvement in endothelium-dependent dilation.
- Depression Management: There's evidence that curcumin can be beneficial for individuals with depressive disorders. In a controlled trial, patients taking curcumin saw a 62% improvement in their depression scale scores compared to the placebo group.
- Cancer Prevention and Treatment: Curcumin has been studied for its potential anti-cancer effects. While results vary depending on the type of cancer, some in-vitro and animal studies have shown a reduction in tumor growth rates by up to 75%.
- Digestive Health: Curcumin may assist in the management of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease. Some patients have reported a 50% reduction in symptom severity after curcumin supplementation.
- Reduced Risk of Neurodegenerative Diseases: Curcumin has potential neuroprotective effects. In animal models, curcumin supplementation led to a 40% reduction in amyloid plaques, which are associated with Alzheimer's disease.
From the Inside Out: How Turmeric Can Help Keep You Feeling Younger for Longer
Turmeric, a spice that has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for centuries, has recently gained popularity in the Western world for its various health benefits. Curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric, is responsible for many of its therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects. In addition to its potential to prevent and treat diseases, curcumin has also been studied for its potential role in anti-aging.
Chronic low-level inflammation and oxidative stress are believed to play a major role in the aging process. Inflammation can cause cellular damage and impair cellular function, while oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body's ability to neutralize them with antioxidants. Curcumin has been shown to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a potentially effective anti-aging agent.1-3 One of the ways that curcumin exerts its anti-inflammatory effects is by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are signalling molecules that promote inflammation.1
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin has also been shown to boost the body's natural antioxidant defenses.3 Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage and contribute to aging and disease. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and protect against cellular damage.
Another way that curcumin may help slow the aging process is by promoting healthy brain function. Studies have shown that curcumin can increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that stimulates the growth and survival of neurons in the brain.4 Low levels of BDNF have been linked to age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.5
In a study published in the journal Neuropeptides, researchers wanted to see if curcumin, a natural compound found in turmeric, could help with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women. To test this, they conducted a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. This means that the participants were randomly assigned to either a group that received curcumin or a group that received a placebo, and neither the participants nor the researchers knew which group they were in. The curcumin treatment was given for three successive menstrual cycles, and each cycle ran for 10 days. Participants took two capsules daily for seven days before menstruation and for three days after menstruation. The researchers used a daily record questionnaire to track the severity of PMS symptoms, which include mood, behavioural, and physical symptoms. After the three menstrual cycles, the researchers measured the participants' levels of BDNF using a blood test. The researchers found that the participants in the curcumin group had significantly higher BDNF levels and significantly lower PMS symptom scores than those in the placebo group. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that curcumin may be beneficial in reducing PMS symptoms, and part of this benefit may be due to the increased BDNF levels.6
Curcumin has also been studied for its potential to prevent and treat age-related diseases such as heart disease and cancer.7-9 For example, a study looked at whether curcumin can help prevent heart disease in people with high blood pressure. Participants took either a curcumin capsule or a placebo twice a day for 24 weeks, and their heart health was measured before and after the study. The researchers found that the curcumin did reduce levels of a substance called myocardial brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), which can be a sign of heart disease if elevated. This effect was more significant in participants under 65 years old. The study suggests that curcumin may be helpful in preventing heart disease in people with high blood pressure, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.8
Arthritis is a common condition that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. In a systematic review published in the Journal of medicinal food, researchers found that curcumin supplementation (about 1000 mg/day) was effective in the treatment of arthritis.10
In conclusion, turmeric and its active compound curcumin have been studied extensively for their potential anti-aging properties. Curcumin's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective effects, as well as its potential to prevent and treat age-related diseases, make it a promising anti-aging supplement.
- Ferguson JJ, Abbott KA, Garg ML. Anti-inflammatory effects of oral supplementation with curcumin: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition Reviews. 2021 Sep;79(9):1043-66.
- Zhang Y, Huang L, Zhang J, De Souza Rastelli AN, Yang J, Deng D. Anti-Inflammatory Efficacy of Curcumin as an Adjunct to Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2022 Jan 24;13:808460.
- Wang XS, Zhang ZR, Zhang MM, Sun MX, Wang WW, Xie CL. Neuroprotective properties of curcumin in toxin-base animal models of Parkinson’s disease: a systematic experiment literatures review. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2017 Dec;17(1):1-0.
- Franco-Robles E, Campos-Cervantes A, Murillo-Ortiz BO, Segovia J, López-Briones S, Vergara P, Pérez-Vázquez V, Solís-Ortiz MS, Ramírez-Emiliano J. Effects of curcumin on brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels and oxidative damage in obesity and diabetes. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2014;39(2):211-8.
- Peng S, Wuu J, Mufson EJ, Fahnestock M. Precursor form of brain‐derived neurotrophic factor and mature brain‐derived neurotrophic factor are decreased in the pre‐clinical stages of Alzheimer's disease. Journal of neurochemistry. 2005 Jun;93(6):1412-21.
- Fanaei H, Khayat S, Kasaeian A, Javadimehr M. Effect of curcumin on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in women with premenstrual syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Neuropeptides. 2016 Apr 1;56:25-31.
- Wongcharoen W, Phrommintikul A. The protective role of curcumin in cardiovascular diseases. International journal of cardiology. 2009 Apr 3;133(2):145-51.
- Funamoto M, Sunagawa Y, Katanasaka Y, Kato T, Funada J, Ajiro Y, Komiyama M, Akao M, Yasoda A, Yamakage H, Satoh-Asahara N. Effects of high-absorption curcumin for the prevention of hypertensive heart disease: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical study. European Heart Journal Open. 2022 Sep;2(5):oeac057.
- Zoi V, Galani V, Lianos GD, Voulgaris S, Kyritsis AP, Alexiou GA. The role of curcumin in cancer treatment. Biomedicines. 2021 Aug 26;9(9):1086.
- Daily JW, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of turmeric extracts and curcumin for alleviating the symptoms of joint arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Journal of medicinal food. 2016 Aug 1;19(8):717-29.