Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Curry, which has Curcumin and the Curcuminoids as the main bioactive compounds. Turmeric itself is fairly healthy and has other bioactives in it. Turmeric has been used for centuries in traditional Ayuverda and chines medicines and has recently seen a surge in its popularity in nutritional supplements. Here is the full lowdown on what we know about curcumin benefits to date.
Curcumin is a polyphenol (a micronutrient that we get through certain plant-based foods) with anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to increase the amount of antioxidants that the body produces.
Curcumin and Inflammation
Supplementation of curcumin reliably reduces markers of inflammation and increases the levels of endogenous antioxidants in the body. While more research may be needed for many areas of health, current research shows that curcumin can have small to moderate improvement in the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and pain and function in osteoarthritis. A reduction in LDL-cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure is possible, but the research is less consistent and more is needed.
Curcumin and Exercise
As well as research into clinical or sub-clinical populations, there is evidence to suggest that curcumin is beneficial to otherwise healthy individuals in different circumstances. For example, curcumin could help you recover from heavy bouts of exercise. In a pilot study, 20 male volunteers were randomized to receive either 1 g curcumin twice daily ( or a placebo 48 h prior to and 24 h after downhill running test. Subjects in the curcumin group reported significantly less pain in the right and left anterior thigh. Significantly fewer subjects in the curcumin group had MRI evidence of muscle injury in the posterior or medial compartment of both thighs (1). Similarly, 2 g of curcumin and 20 g of piperine supplementation was shown to help offset some of the physiological markers of muscle soreness after an intense workout in elite rugby players (2), although more research is needed to confirm this finding. It does hold promise though for those who train regularly.