After you’ve had a delicious meal of chicken tikka masala (curry dish), you have been exposed to a small dose of curcumin. Curcumin is a polyphenol found in tumeric which gives yellow curries its yellow color. Polyphenols are important compounds found in a variety of plants and fruits. Polyphenols have anti-oxidant properties which can prevent and in some cases improve many conditions. That’s why health professionals harp on eating the colors of the rainbow. Many dark colored fruits and vegetables contain these important compounds. Think of kale, pomegranates, blueberries, chard, beets, and cherries. All contain dark colors.
Curcumin is known mostly for it anti-inflammatory properties. A number of small studies have shown the improvement of inflammatory process with conditions such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. There are many studies that cite this polyphenol as having positive effects with multiple types of cancer, pre-menstrual syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, acute coronary syndrome, post-operative inflammation and vitiligo. It’s important to note some of these studies used curcumin with another substance.
There are a few questions concerning the recommended dosage and its bio-availability. Unlike omega 3 fish oil, there isn’t a recommended dosage of curcumin. A study including ascending doses of 500 to 1200 mg produced symptoms of diarrhea, headache, rash, and yellow stool in 7 of 24 participants. The bio-availability of curcumin is relatively poor, but combined with piperine (black pepper) greatly increases concentrations in the body.
In my opinion if you have an inflammatory condition, a curcumin supplement should be considered. Be certain if you buy a supplement it contains piperine.
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