Turmeric is a root (Curcuma Longa) from the Gingeraceae family, used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties as well as a spice to flavor dishes with an oriental character during our evenings when we feel inspired chefs. The thing that makes it so powerful for our health is the presence of a molecule called curcumin. Its medicinal properties so far discovered are:
- Fights oxidative stress and inflammation
- Helps reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome
- Helps control arthritis
- Helps reduce anxiety
- Helps fight hyperlipidemia and excess cholesterol
- Helps reduce post muscle inflammation
- Gut antimicrobial
CURCUMIN AS AN ANTIOXIDANT
Curcumin, however, once ingested is degraded very quickly and eliminated from the body through the urine. The best way to increase its bioavailability is by combining it with black pepper piperine: it seems that the levels present in the blood can increase up to 2000%. Its anti-inflammatory action takes place by increasing the concentrations of GSH, a very important molecule in managing and slowing down oxidation, ie both the aging of the body and organs. Furthermore, curcumin is able to reduce the circulation of ROS, crazy molecules that circulate inside our cells capable of destroying cells and making them weak: turmeric loads these ROS like a magnet on itself and carries them into our bin of cellular junk. Furthermore, unlike vitamin C, curcumin is able to dissolve in the lipid bilayer of cells and protect the cell barrier from oxidation and damage caused by our lifestyle.
CURCUMIN AS AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
Inflammation of tissues and organs is one of the most prevalent health problems today. Systemic inflammation is the cause of numerous diseases, some of which are very debilitating such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, brain damage, allergies, bronchitis, colitis, psoriasis, obesity, depression and general fatigue. The fault of the inflammatory process is due to the release by the immune system of specific molecules that trigger a localized systemic damage reaction to try to remedy. Unfortunately, when the inflammation lasts too long, control is lost, as when a small camp fire degenerates and sets the whole forest on fire: the match is called TNF - inflammatory alpha molecule par excellence. It is expressed by cells when they are also attacked by our unhealthy lifestyle, by bacteria and viruses or by a diet rich in sugars or saturated fats. But now comes the fun part: curcumin is able to decrease the very formation of this molecule.
Curcumin therefore becomes a molecule of longevity because it allows the levels of inflammation in the body to be kept low, thus preventing the development of many unpleasant diseases that we have indicated over time.
CURCUMIN AGAINST EXCESS FAT
Curcumin also has another great benefit for our health: it is able to reduce the effects of that syndrome that doctors today call metabolic syndrome. With today's lifestyle and the stress we are subjected to every day, we all suffer more or less from it, especially after the age of 30. It consists of a series of degenerative metabolic changes, such as insulin resistance, which can increase body fat, hyperglycemia which can damage the brain and make us lethargic, hypertension, therefore damage to the heart, and finally an increase in of cholesterol which damages our circulatory system over time. Consider that women who approach menopause by reducing circulating estrogen levels are also more subject to the damage of this syndrome, so it is very important to be aware of it. Numerous studies have verified that the use of curcumin in subjects suffering from this syndrome reduces both harmful body fat, cholesterol, and insulin resistance over time. Obviously the studies administered curcumin with the addition of piperine which, as we have seen, is essential for its biological absorption.
TURMERIC AND THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
Often during the menstrual cycle some women can perceive physical and behavioral psychological changes called pre menstrual syndrome. Some studies have verified that the administration of curcumin supplements for a period of at least 3 months over time has reduced the symptoms of this annoying syndrome which unfortunately statistically affects 30% of menstruating women.
Dysmenorrhea is instead a pathology that affects women and manifests itself with pain and cramps in the pelvic area right next to the menstrual cycle. It can occur in 50% of cases and is limited to the first 48 up to 72 hours from the beginning of menstruation, the pain is mostly given by the prostaglandin system, i.e. inflammatory molecules that are released from the endometrium. In this initial period the reactions are the same as those that occur after a skeletal muscle injury where inflammation is generated and the accumulation of molecules that stimulate the localized pain nerves called nociceptors.
In this situation it is easy for many women to decide to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Oki or Aulin which however have contraindications. Many studies have verified that the use of curcumin in the previous days can help reduce localized inflammatory processes and therefore reduce the prostaglandins which are the cause of the pain.