What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with the Indian curry spice, turmeric (Curcumin longa), and a type of ginger. Turmeric contains several major constituents known as Curcuminoids. Curcumin is known to be the most active phytochemical (around 77%) of the other curcuminoids found in turmeric. These curcuminoids give turmeric its yellow colour.
Why is it important?
Curcumin has a wide variety of benefits for both internal and external health. Here are a few:
1. Natural anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is often the main underlying factor present in just about every chronic health condition like cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. Acute (short-term) inflammation is beneficial for our body to fight foreign invaders and repairing damage. However, it can become a major problem when it is chronic (long-term). Chronic inflammation, if not treated, can lead to major health problems. Curcumin is known to help fight chronic inflammation and has the potential ability to prevent inflammatory diseases and even treat these diseases.
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing and many diseases. It involves free radicals, which cause damage to the tissue in our bodies. The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is that they protect your body from free radicals helping cells stay healthy. Curcumin has been shown to improve systemic markers of oxidative stress. It neutralises free radicals on its own, but also stimulates your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
3. Improves brain function
Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone. This may be effective in delaying, or even reversing, many brain diseases and could even help improve your memory. Another way curcumin benefits cognitive and brain health is by helping to treat depression, as it aids in decrease brain inflammation.
4. Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Stress causes destructive changes to our brain. While we may feel anxious due to stress, those feelings are minor compared to the damage done to our brain cells. Stress-induced brain changes often lead to anxiety or depression and worse. When curcumin is taken with the herb fenugreek, it reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue while increasing quality of life in people suffering from extreme occupational stress. The severity of PMS-related emotional, behavioural, and physical symptoms can also be significantly reduced with curcumin supplementation.
If you are considering supplementing with a curcumin supplement, you can read more about our Curcu-Free a Curcumin & Fenugreek Complex supplement.