In recent years, Turmeric has been promoted from just a humble ingredient in curry dishes to taking its place on the menu of most hipster cafes and on the priority order list of natural health practitioners. In this article, I will tell you more about its absorption, other health benefits and promising research on Turmeric.
Turmeric’s Origin and active constituent
With its signature brown skin and bright orange flesh, Turmeric is derived from the Curcuma longa plant. It belongs to the group of oldest cultivated spice plants that grow in Asia and Central America.
The active ingredient in Turmeric is Curcumin, which gives Turmeric its distinctive golden colour. Turmeric gives flavour and beautiful colour to many interesting dishes like Turmeric Latte (also known as Golden Milk), smoothies, soup, and scrambled eggs/tofu.
Health benefits of Turmeric
Curcumin, the active ingredient of Turmeric, has valuable medicinal properties. It is currently being extensively researched and evaluated to discover the health benefits and ensure optimal absorption and bioavailability. Turmeric has traditionally been used to relieve symptoms of mild osteoarthritis however, thanks to the research, it has been discovered that Turmeric is highly beneficial for:
- Reducing inflammation in the gut lining, therefore, supporting leaky gut
- Promoting good digestion and a healthy microbiome
- Having antioxidant properties
- Supporting liver function
- Generally, supporting inflammation
- Relieving sore muscles after exercise
The latest research on Turmeric
The concentration of Curcumin is high in the intestines after taking it orally, which means that it has a direct beneficial effect on your gut microbiota and gut lining. Animal studies show that the administration of Curcumin significantly shifts the ratio between beneficial and pathogenic bacteria by increasing the abundance of Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli, and butyrate-producing bacteria and reducing the loads of pathogenic bacteria.
These changes in the gut bacteria show that Curcumin has immune-supportive and modulating actions as well. Human studies have shown that there is a significant beneficial effect on the abundance of gut bacteria.
This is very promising research, and I’m looking forward to more human studies on the effect of Curcumin on our gut bacteria.
The beneficial action of Turmeric on mental health (1)
A relationship between inflammation and depression is becoming increasingly recognised.
Adults with depression show higher levels of inflammatory markers such as CRP and Interleukin-6, and Curcumin helps to reduce these levels in the blood.
Curcumin also has an action on modulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline and, through these actions, show promise to reduce anxiety and restore stress-induced decreases of tissue concentrations in the hippocampus and amygdala.
The HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis) plays a central role in the stress response. See my Adrenal Health article. It is estimated that 40–60% of patients with depression experience HPA-axis disturbances. Several studies show promise that Curcumin can lower stress hormone concentrations which may help improve better regulation of the HPA axis and in turn, supports the stress response and stress resilience.
Adulteration of Turmeric
Turmeric is more susceptible to being mixed to lower-cost ingredients such as chalk, starch, and synthetic dyes in its powdered form. When you use Turmeric in your cooking, make sure you buy organic, quality, and genuine turmeric root.
Turmeric in supplement form
Due to their increased popularity, Turmeric and Curcumin are used in many different supplements. While it has an immediate beneficial effect on the gut lining, the absorption of Curcumin into your circulation may not always be optimal. It is therefore, important to make the right choice, for your health, with the type of turmeric supplement you are going to use.
If you are interested in further information on taking an industry-first bioavailable and high-strength turmeric supplement, please contact me via email or see my contact form.
Enjoy experimenting in the kitchen!