Turmeric


“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Today I would like us to take a look at turmeric. Some may be aware of this yellow powder, or even the orange/yellow root nodules, but do we really know what turmeric is and possibly be used for? Turmeric is from the ginger family, and originally was used as a dye, later used for medicinal purposes. Turmeric also has an amazing compound called curcumin within. With this in mind, here is a list of the proposed health benefits from using turmeric:

-might protect against types of skin diseases

-Alzheimer's disease

-colitis

-stomach ulcers

-high cholesterol

Some labs studies have shown improvements regarding:

-upset stomach

-scabies

-diabetes

-HIV

-uveitis

-viral infections

As a personal trainer, many of my clients come to me with inflammatory issues. When I see information that might help with this issue I make sure to look into it. Many websites promote the use of turmeric with blogs, and the occasional research articles. While looking into turmeric I was astound to find a research article from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientist (AAPS). AAPS looked at clinical trials, and compiled the findings. Though there are several inflammatory issues in this article (36 in all) there are only a couple I want to bring up; arthritis being one of them. Here are a few excerpts from the article.

“The potential of curcumin against arthritis was first reported in 1980 in a short-term, double-blind, crossover study involving 18 young patients with rheumatoid arthritis (38). In this study, curcumin’s efficacy was compared with that of the prescription drug phenylbutazone. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either curcumin (1.2 g/day) or phenylbutazone (0.3 g/day) for 2 weeks. Curcumin was well-tolerated, had no adverse effects, and exerted an anti-rheumatic activity identical to that of phenylbutazone as shown by improvement in joint swelling, morning stiffness, and walking time.”

Another is atherosclerosis, which is hardening and narrowing of arties by damaging and the endothelium wall, and collecting plaque. This can lead to heart attack and strokes. One study found:

“Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty materials such as cholesterol accumulate and thickens the artery wall (96). This is a chronic disease that normally remains asymptomatic for decades. One study evaluated the effects of curcumin in reducing the serum levels of cholesterol and lipid peroxides in ten healthy human volunteers (57). Curcumin (at 0.5 g/day) administered to the volunteers for 7 days reduced serum lipid peroxides by 33% and total serum cholesterol levels by 11.63%, and increased HDL cholesterol by 29% (Fig. 5b). Because of these properties, curcumin was suggested to act as a chemo preventive agent against atherosclerosis.”

These are just a couple topics that the article touched base on. If we can begin to stop taking medications with questionable side effects, why not? Research shows that turmeric intake is safe, however known side effects are upset stomach, diarrhea, rashes and yellow stool. Always consult with your doctor, maybe they will learn something too! AAPS noted that intake up to 8g a day was safe, while many studies used around .5g-2g a day. For the purpose of understanding intake, ½ tsp of ground turmeric powder is approximately 1g.

It is important to also understand that like vitamins A,D,E,and K, turmeric is a fat soluble substance. That means that it must be ingested with a small amount of fat. Recently I have made turmeric paste: 1 cup water, ½ cup turmeric heated slowly and stirred in until it becomes a paste. Then add 1 ½ tbs of pepper (another uptake enhancer up to 20x), and 1/3-1/2 cup of coconut oil. Let cool store in a container in the fridge and use within 1-2 weeks. You can eat plain, with honey, milk, or even add to

smoothies.

Gupta, S. C., Patchva, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2013). Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials. The AAPS Journal, 15(1), 195–218. http://doi.org/10.1208/s12248-012-9432-8

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