Category Archives: curcumin

curcumin

Just How Good for You Is Curcumin?

If you haven’t heard of curcumin yet, where have you been? This polyphenol is extracted from turmeric and responsible for its multitude of health benefits. Over recent years, there has been an explosion in popularity for turmeric-based drinks – such as turmeric latte, golden milk and even turmeric herbal tea – but don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply a gimmick for the ‘in scene’; the benefits of turmeric, and more specifically curcumin, have been valued for centuries in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine. Sure, the drinks look Instagram perfect, but there is a lot more to this pretty little spice than meets the eye.

The multiple health benefits of curcumin – inflammation and beyond

Curcumin is wonderful for so many things: for reducing inflammation, which underpins most health conditions; it’s antimicrobial, meaning that it will help the body fend off nasty bacteria; it has antioxidant activity to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and has even been shown to help modulate the immune system. Plus, if you’re prone to respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, laryngitis or sinusitis, you’ll be happy to hear that curcumin also has positive effects on the respiratory tract.

Inflammation is linked to many chronic health conditions including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) is considered the inflammatory master-switch, responsible for the initiation of the inflammatory cascade within cells (1). One of the main ways in which curcumin exerts its beneficial anti-inflammatory benefits is by blocking NF-kB from entering the cell, and therefore supporting the body in the healthy balancing of inflammation.

As an anti-inflammatory, when there is pain, there is inflammation, which probably explains why curcumin is found to be most useful for those with joint pains – often being associated with arthritis. These benefits are not just limited to pain-related health conditions though; research has also confirmed that curcumin reduces inflammation from exercise-induced muscle damage, perfect for those who enjoy a rigorous workout (2).

Overcoming the poor bioavailability of curcumin

Turmeric contains only 5-10% curcuminoids, 75% of which is curcumin, and whilst some cultures use turmeric in high quantities on a daily basis, the western world won’t benefit from the wonders of curcumin with the odd turmeric latte. Extracting curcumin for supplements will easily increase your intake of curcumin but, unfortunately, the body is extremely efficient at removing this spice from the body. With such poor bioavailability, you may need to take up to 8 grams per day to achieve the benefits. Whilst many technologies and additions (such as piperine) have been applied to curcumin to address this poor bioavailability, they are limited in their ability to exert a beneficial effect. Longvida technology from Igennus, however, enhances the bioavailability by 285x, with 7x longer-lasting action and 65x higher peak plasma levels. Longvida is also the only technology that has been shown to help curcumin pass the blood-brain barrier to provide the health benefits associated with curcumin to the brain as well as the body.

Igennus Longvida for neurological benefits

With its ability to pass the blood-brain barrier, Longvida technology has been shown to provide many neurological benefits such as improvements in working memory and mood (3); it also reduces beta-amyloid protein, a marker of brain ageing that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease (4). Beta-amyloid aggregation can be promoted by metals, but curcumin exerts its beneficial effects by chelating some metals, and therefore helping to inhibit aggregation (5, 6).

With its plethora of neurological benefits, Igennus Longvida Optimised Curcumin is ideal for people of all ages who are looking to support both their short – and long-term brain health.

Longvida as a cardioprotective

Studies show that using Longvida technology to deliver curcumin also helps to lower triglycerides, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk for poor cardiovascular health (4), as well as reducing total and low-density cholesterol (3), making it a very useful supplement for supporting those with high cholesterol levels. Curcumin is also safe for those on statin therapy.

Supplementing with Longvida Optimised Curcumin

Each tub of Igennus Longvida Optimised Curcumin contains 30 capsules, with a recommended 1 capsule per day dosage to support general health, and supplementation with up to 3 per day to provide more intensive support for short-term use.

References
1. Nahar PP, Slitt AL, Seeram NP. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Novel Standardized Solid Lipid Curcumin Formulations. J Med Food. 2015 Jul;18(7):786-92
2. Takahashi M et al., Effects of curcumin supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress in humans. Int J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;35(6):469-75.
3. Cox KH, Pipingas A, Scholey AB. Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. J Psychopharmacol. 2015 May;29(5):642-51.
4. DiSilvestro RA, Joseph E, Zhao S, Bomser J. Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lipidated curcumin in healthy middle aged people. Nutr J. 2012 Sep 26;11:79. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-79.
5. Yang F, Lim GP, Begum AN, Ubeda OJ, Simmons MR, Ambegaokar SS, Chen PP, Kayed R, Glabe CG, Frautschy SA, Cole GM. Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo. J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 18;280(7):5892-901.
6. Ono K, Hasegawa K, Naiki H, Yamada M. Curcumin has potent anti-amyloidogenic effects for Alzheimer’s beta-amyloid fibrils in vitro. J Neurosci Res. 2004 Mar 15;75(6):742-50.

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Curcumin may lower diabetes risk

A new randomised, controlled study suggests that taking curcumin supplements may help delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in people at high risk (1).

Curcumin is a natural substance found in the Indian spice turmeric. It has been widely studied for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Curcumin Spices
Spices such as curcumin (from turmeric) could help lower diabetes risk. (5)

Around 7 million people in the UK have ‘ pre-diabetes’ (3). People with pre-diabetes  also known as Impaired Glucose Regulation (IGR), have raised levels of blood sugar, and their cells have started to become resistant to insulin. Without proper care, pre-diabetes can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Some long-term damage may already be happening in the pre-diabetic state, including damage to the circulatory system, the heart and the eyes. For this reason it’s important to take action as soon as possible. Fortunately, the pre-diabetic condition can be reversed naturally with sensible dietary and lifestyle changes.

The randomized, double-blinded, placebo – controlled trial included 240 men and women who had been diagnosed pre-diabetic  All subjects were randomly assigned to receive either curcumin or placebo capsules for 9 months. Those given the curcumin capsules received 6 capsules of 250mg curcumin daily. The researchers recorded changes in insulin resistance and anti-inflammatory cytokines. The function of beta cells, cells in the pancreas that store and release insulin, were also monitored. These measurements were taken at the beginning of the study, and then again and 3, 6 and 9 months.

After nine months, 19 of the 116 participants in the placebo group had developed type 2 diabetes. None of those who took the curcumin capsules developed the disease.

When compared with the placebo group, those who took the curcumin capsules also had better beta cell function, lower levels of insulin resistance, and high levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

So how exactly do we explain these results? In recent years, research has helped us to better understand the link between inflammation and diabetes. It seems that inflammation in the body can actually suppress insulin-signalling pathways, making the body less responsive to insulin. A natural anti-inflammatory substance such as curcumin may help to repair this damage and restore these pathways so that they can function normally again.

While the results of this study look promising, more research in this area is certainly needed to confirm these findings. In the meantime, the best strategy to avoid Type 2 diabetes is to follow a healthy diet with regular exercise.

As turmeric powder contains just 3% curcumin (4), the best way to obtain a therapeutic level of curcumin may be through a good quality supplement. Curcumin supplements should not be taken by those on anti-coagulant medications. There is certainly no harm in adding a little colour and spice to your cooking with a daily sprinkle of turmeric. As well as adding spice and colour to curries, turmeric also mixes well with scrambled eggs, lentil soup, tuna salad, and rice dishes. Try also adding a little black pepper, as the piperine in black pepper is believed to enhance absorption of curcumin.

Written by Nadia Mason, BSc MBANT NTCC CNHC

 References

1.  Chuengsamarn et al (2012) Curcumin Extract for Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. Published online before print. 6 July 2012.

2. Aggarwal BB, Sundaram C, Malani N, Ichikawa H (2007) Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol. 595:1-75.

3. ‘Prediabetes – preventing the Type 2 diabetes epidemic’ Diabetes UK 2009

4. Tayyem et al. (2006) Curcumin content of turmeric and curry powders. Nutr Cancer. 55(2):126-31.

5.Image courtesy of nksz 

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