The yellow-orange curcumin – well known as a natural colouring – can be extracted in a natural or synthetic way from the turmeric root, which belongs to the ginger family. The synthetical production of curcumin is possible by bacterial fermentation. The turmeric root has a spicy-bitter taste and a peppery, earthy smell. Curcumin as a food additive is known as E100 in the European approved ingredient list or as curcumin, turmeric yellow or diferuloylmethane.
Extracts or powders from turmeric are often used. But how can curcumin be used and what are the effects? Find out the answer for these and other questions as well as the scientific research findings on the use of curcumin.
What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
Turmeric, a plant native to India and Southeast Asia, is one of the key ingredients of making curry. In many countries it has also been used in naturopathy against various diseases for several thousand years. The main substance curcumin plays a crucial role here – the most important ingredient in the plant turmeric.
What are the uses of curcumin?
In traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, natural turmeric has been used as a remedy for thousands of years. Curcumin is also used as a spice, but also as a coloring agent in food production for products such as margarine, mashed potatoes, sausage, curry powder, mustard, etc.
Meanwhile, some studies have also indicated that curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can be used, for example, for digestive disorders, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure or even cancer and other diseases. For better bioavailability, the intake of turmeric in the form of turmeric capsules s(e.g. from Casida) is recommended.
- Anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin
Acute inflammation has no harm to the body and is even a protection from harmful bacteria. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, may lead to complications like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease or even cancer. The strong anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin is therefore helpful in preventing such diseases.
Curcumin is thought to bind and block the enzymes involved in inflammatory processes. From this it can be concluded that the substance in high doses could have a positive influence on inflammatory diseases.
In chronic inflammatory ulcerative colitis, curcumin can have a positive effect on the course and occurrence of relapses. Some analysis suggests that it can relieve pain in osteoarthritis. In addition, the use of curcumin should reduce joint stiffness.
Curcumin can also be used for inflammatory bowel diseases. According to some studies, the substance is said to have digestive, choleretic effects. This is why turmeric is helpful for flatulence and a feeling of fullness. Among other things, the liver is stimulated to release more bile acid, making fats more digestible.
However, since only 3% curcumin is contained in the turmeric powder, its intake in the form of turmeric capsules – such as the Casida turmeric capsules – is optimal.
- Curcumin as antioxidant
Free radicals or highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons can cause various diseases in connection with organic substances such as proteins or fatty acids. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin also has a strong antioxidant effect. Free radicals are neutralized by curcuminoids and rendered harmless, while the activity of the body’s own antioxidants is promoted.
- Brain disorders and age-related brain function
The BDNF (brain-derived neutrotrophic factor) content plays an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s or depression. According to some studies, curcumin can also help increase the concentration of the growth factor BDNF. This would make the use of turmeric useful for diseases of the brain.
- Heart disease
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and antioxidant effects, curcumin can regulate the cardiovascular system and thus reduce the risk of heart diseases. In addition, taking turmeric may strengthen the functioning of the endothelium on the heart, which regulates blood pressure.
- Protection against cancer
According to some laboratory studies with animals, the curcumin contained in turmeric capsules can inhibit the formation and growth and spread of cancer cells. However, more research is needed to demonstrate curcumin’s effectiveness against cancer.
What kind of turmeric capsules should I choose?
When choosing dietary supplements, one should pay attention to those with ingredients of highest purity possible. This means that the turmeric capsules do not contain any colourings or other similar substances. The turmeric plant used should come from controlled organic cultivation. In addition, bioavailability, concentration and of course the price-performance ratio should be right. All of these criteria are met by Casida turmeric capsules. They are suitable for everyday use and have proven to be extremely practical in hectic everyday life.
What would be the correct use and dosage of curcumin?
With correct use and dosage, curcumin can be used as an alternative or supplement to conventional medication for some diseases and complaints. However, side effects cannot be completely ruled out due to its extensive active complex.
Turmeric is available as a spice or nutritional supplement in the form of powder, extract or capsules (e.g. from Casida). The monograph of the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend a daily dosage of up to 3 grams of turmeric powder with an unlimited duration of use. In most cases, only 1 to 3 g of curcumin in the form of capsules are adequate for positive results.
Even though turmeric is known to most people from exotic cuisine, taking curcumin in the form of capsules is more practical. This not only makes an easier dosage but also hinders overdosing. The turmeric capsules from Casida also improve the absorption by the body with certain combinations of active ingredients.
Alexander Helm is a licensed pharmacist (Martin-Luther University) and the founder of Casida. His vision is to combine pharmaceutical know-how and natural remedy into natural health products, and leverage the power of nature to improve human health.