6 Reasons To Take Turmeric Even When You Are Perfectly Healthy

Ever wondered what would happen if turmeric was given to a healthy person? Or tired of convincing that friend who refuses to take turmeric because he is healthy?

We have always recommended turmeric as a part of your life rather than the last minute remedy or only as a cure for a diseased condition.
I can give you five reasons right away as to why turmeric should be a part of your diet regularly:

  • It is an antioxidant and can enhance the liver’s detox system.
  • It is a chemopreventive agent and can protect you from cancer.
  • It enhances cognition and alleviates stress and depressive symptoms.
  • It protects the gut from infections and toxic elements.
  • It lowers cholesterol and risk of developing cardiac problems.

If these reasons are not enough, then probably this study should answer your questions.

6 Reasons Why Healthy Individuals Should Take Turmeric

DiSilvestro et al have studied the effect of turmeric supplementation in healthy individuals and the findings are recorded in the paper ‘Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lipidated curcumin in healthy middle aged people’.

The basis of this study lies on the fact that till date turmeric’s efficacy has been proven in experimental studies involving cell culture and animals; and when it comes to humans the major problem faced is that of absorption.

Other studies have examined the effect of high doses in individuals who suffer from diseased conditions. Therefore this study examined the effect of a fairly low dose of 80mg curcumin/day on healthy individuals for a month.

The curcumin supplement was Longvida® Optimized Curcumin given at 400 mg powder per day containing 80 mg curcumin with each of the following ingredients as a proprietary blend: vegetable-derived stearic acid dextrin, vegetarian capsule, soy lecithin, ascorbylpalmitate and silicon dioxide. Longvida® is a trademark of Verdure Sciences, Noblesville, IN, USA.

In short it was a combination of curcumin and lipids for better absorption. Healthy adult males and post menopausal females of the age group 40-60 years were recruited. None of them suffered from any disease and also didn’t have a history of cancer or cardiovascular disease.

19 received curcumin supplements while 19 received placebo or fake pills for the sake of comparison. Blood and saliva samples were taken before and after 4 weeks.

Lets see what the results were like. In addition to this study we shall also investigate what other studies have to say.

1.Turmeric reduces cholesterol levels

Curcumin but not the placebo lowered plasma triglyceride levels. Plasma triglycerides are precursors to cholesterol. However in this study no effect was seen on cholesterol levels.

In experimental animals, curcumin is found to lower cholesterol but what should be kept in mind that their cholesterol levels are elevated by dietary means on purpose. Human studies showed mixed results making it difficult to ascertain a dose that could reduce cholesterol.

It was concluded that curcumin may lower cholesterol only under stressed or diseased conditions; but it has a positive effect on blood lipids (fats).

500mg of curcumin taken for 7 days is found to reduce cholesterol in healthy individuals.

A study focused on the effect of curcumin on antioxidant defences and cholesterol level states that ‘curcumin supplement would not be appropriate for healthy people except for reducing serum cholesterol or triglyceride levels.’

However the results of the study showed that curcumin supplementation indeed improved antioxidant defences and decreased cholesterol levels.

What does this mean?
Turmeric supplementation can improve antioxidant defences and reduce cholesterol levels as well as blood lipids in healthy individuals.

2.Turmeric is healthy for the heart

Curcumin supplementation raised blood levels of nitric oxide. This component has beneficial effects on high blood pressure. It also lowered the level of a molecule sICAM which has been linked with atherosclerosis.

Other studies show that curcumin reduces nitric oxide levels; but these studies have been conducted on inflammatory disease states.

Akazawa et. al conducted a study wherein they examined the effect of curcumin on endothelial function in postmenopausal women. Endothelial function is a set of parameters relating to heart and blood vessel health which tends to decline with age.

32 postmenopausal women were assigned to either curcumin, exercise or control groups. Exercise group practised moderate aerobic exercise for 8 weeks while curcumin group took curcumin orally for 8 weeks. It was observed that curcumin was as good as exercise in increasing flow mediated dilation- this indicates that blood flow and pressure is normal.

Nakayama et al have shown that a single consumption of curry improves endothelial function in healthy male and this could be beneficial for heart health. One of the spices included in the curry was turmeric.

What does this mean?
Turmeric supplementation in healthy individuals reduces the risk of developing heart problems.

why-take-turmeric-even-when-you-are-healthy

3.It boosts immunity

Curcumin raised the levels of plasma myeloperoxidase- a mark of inflammation and immune system activation. However it did not raise other inflammatory markers.

Researchers felt that this was indicative of strengthening of immune system rather than activation of inflammatory reaction.

What does this mean?
Curcumin can boost immune system function in healthy people.

4.It improves metabolic health

Curcumin decreased the blood levels of enzyme alanine transaminase, a marker of liver injury. These results are similar to animal studies that suggest that curcumin protects liver health under adverse conditions.

6g of turmeric supplementation in healthy individuals is found to have beneficial effect on insulin production and can serve as functional food for prevention of diabetes.

A clinical trial was conducted where 6g of turmeric was provided with 75g of oral glucose so as to study the effect of turmeric on blood sugar. It was observed that turmeric did not affect blood glucose but increased the insulin levels.

Researchers felt that turmeric brought about this effect by stimulating pancreatic beta cells which are responsible for insulin production. Curcumin can serve as a functional food for diabetes prevention.

What does this mean?
In healthy individuals curcumin enhances liver protection. Turmeric supplementation in healthy individuals is proven to stimulate pancreatic beta cells activity and increases insulin production. Turmeric can serve as natural diabetes preventing agent.

5.Turmeric benefits brain health

Curcumin decreased concentrations of protein beta amyloid, which suggests that it can impact or rather prevent Alzheimer’s disease development.

It also reduced the levels of enzyme-salivary amylase which is a marker of stress and sympathetic nervous system activity.

Cox et al. have shown that curcumin supplementation in elderly improves memory, attention and mood in a short time frame.

What does this mean?
Curcumin can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in healthy individuals. Turmeric supplementation also positively modulates mood and cognition in healthy people.

6. Curcumin works as an antioxidant

Curcumin directly and indirectly impacted antioxidant protection. It raised salivary radical scavenging capacity; free radicals are species that damage tissues and cause oxidative damage. These species are eliminated by antioxidants. It also raised the activity of antioxidant enzyme catalase.

What does this mean?
Curcumin directly and indirectly boosts antioxidant defences which can aid in protection from various diseases.

Addressing concerns regarding Turmeric Usage

Studies say turmeric is very safe

A clinical trial was conducted to assess the effects of absorption of various curcumin formulations on healthy individuals. The bioavailability results were as follows:

  • Curcumin-phytosome formulation: 7.9 times higher availability than unformulated curcumin
  • Curcumin-volatile oils formulation: 1.3 times higher than unformulated curcumin
  • Curcumin-hydrophilic carrier formulation: 45.9 times higher than unformulated curcumin

Overall it was observed that none of the formulations caused any side effects and curcumin with hydrophilic carrier (insoluble in water but soluble in lipids) was the best in terms of bioavailability.

A curcumin and lipid formulation was found to be safe in healthy individuals as well as individuals suffering osteosarcoma.

High plasma levels of curcumin were obtained with lipid formulation while unformulated curcuminoids did not reach a concentration detectable in the blood; this validates that fats are essential for curcumin’s absorption.

Liposomal curcumin (liposomes are tiny vesicles used to carry drug inside the body) and nanocurcumin have proven to be safe when tested in healthy individuals.

Curcumin is found to be safe up to doses of 12g in healthy volunteers.

Turmeric oil consumption is found to be safe as tested in healthy individuals. However 1 participant developed allergic skin rash and 1 developed fever.

Curcumin formulations though not detected in blood in its original form, when taken with other curcuminoids is detected as glucuronide and sulphate conjugates; these are also therapeutic.

What does this mean?
Almost all studies examining the effect of curcumin supplementation as various formulations have proven that curcumin is safe for oral consumption.

Turmeric’s effect on drug interactions

It is generally considered that turmeric as well as black pepper can interact with proteins involved in liver’s detoxification system and affect the concentration of other medications taken with it. This could lead to drug interactions.

A clinical trial was conducted wherein individuals were given a curcumin supplement (4g curcuminoids with 24 mg piperine) prior to medications midazolam (a medication used as anaesthesia), flubriprofen and paracetmol (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Each of these drugs interacts with the same detoxification enzymes that turmeric and piperine (active constituent of black pepper) act with. It was observed that the curcumin supplement did not affect the concentrations or half life of any of these drugs.

Curcumin is proven to increase bioavailability of Geranylgeranoic acid, a chemopreventive agent. On the contrary curcumin is found to decrease the availability of talinolol-a drug used in treating heart attacks.

However Chen et al. have shown that curcumin affects the activity of enzymes involved in drug metabolism, thus indicating that a possible drug and herb interaction. The dose tested in this study was fairly high- 1000mg.

What does this mean?
It is true that turmeric and black pepper affect drug metabolizing enzymes which might pose a risk of drug herb interaction. However in most cases turmeric increases bioavailability of the drug which suggests that turmeric supplementation with drugs can reduce the dose of drugs required to reach therapeutic efficacy.

3.Turmeric consumption may increase the risk of kidney stones in those who are susceptible to it

75% of the kidney stones occur due to accumulation of calcium oxalate and hyperoxaluria is a risk factor for this study. Hyperoxaluria is high excretion of oxalic acid via urine. Oxalic acid is present in food as potassium or sodium or calcium oxalate.

Spices such as turmeric and cinnamon also have oxalates. A study was conducted wherein they studied whether oxalate content of these spices outweighs the benefits provided by these spices.

Individuals were given supplemental doses of turmeric and cinnamon which provided 55mg of oxalate per day.
The cinnamon and turmeric supplements used in the study had oxalate contents of 1798 and 1969 mg/100 g, respectively.

It has been recommended that kidney stone patients limit dietary oxalate intake to no more than 50 mg of oxalate per day, a level which would likely be exceeded with cinnamon or turmeric supplementation.

It was observed that 6-h oxalate absorption rate from turmeric ingestion (8.2%) than from cinnamon ingestion (2.6%), which was attributable to 91% soluble oxalate content of turmeric compared with 6% for cinnamon.

Hyperoxaluria has been defined as urine oxalate excretion that exceeds 40 mg every 24 h. Twenty-four-hour oxalate excretion increased from 19.9 mg (control treatment) to 24.9 mg (turmeric treatment). Thus, even with the computed 6-h oxalate absorption rate of 8.2% from turmeric, total 24-h oxalate excretion remained well below the standard risk factor level.

Further findings showed that 3g of turmeric or cinnamon does not affect blood glucose or cholesterol in health individuals. This suggests that spices effect on metabolic health is only observable in diseased condition.

These results suggest that turmeric may pose a slight risk of developing kidney stones in those predisposed to it. However it should be kept in mind that the study showed that 24 hr urinary oxalate excretion was less than stipulated as a risk factor for kidney stones.

What does this mean?
A study shows that oxalate content of turmeric could mildly increase the risk of developing kidney stones in individuals who are predisposed to it. Adequate research is required to further validate this point.

Key Takeaway:

Turmeric supplementation in healthy individuals for a month resulted in the following benefits:

  • It lowered blood lipid levels thus improving metabolic health.
  • It improved antioxidant defences.
  • It reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
  • It reduced the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
  • It raised defence against high blood pressure.
  • It had a beneficial effect on liver health.
  • It boosted immune function.

Dosage

Including turmeric in diet is a great preventive measure for most diseases. For better absorption do add black pepper and/or healthy fats (coconut oil/olive oil).

A therapeutic yet simple way of taking turmeric is The Golden Paste. 1-3 teaspoons once or twice a day can help boost immune system, improve antioxidant capacity, protect from infections and even improve skin. Here are a few recipes with The Golden Paste.

Another tasty recipe is Turmeric Milk. For details on brands of organic turmeric powder and supplements check this link.

Precautions

Turmeric in diet has no known side effects. Slight gastric discomfort is possible initially but disappears gradually.

Turmeric supplements should be avoided in pregnancy and lactation. Turmeric may mildly increase bleeding risk; discontinue turmeric supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery.

Avoid turmeric supplements if you suffer from gall bladder issues. Turmeric supplements can have drug interactions with diabetes medication, blood thinning agents and antidepressants.

Conclusion

This article aims to answer the query ‘Why should I take turmeric if I am healthy?’. Inclusion of dietary turmeric explains the reduced risk of cancer, heart diseases and brain health related diseases in populations following this regime.

Golden Paste can serve as a great preventive measure for most diseases and also improve overall health such as boosting immune function and antioxidant defences. So start taking Turmeric For Health!

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6 Comments

    1. I take a level teaspoon of Turmeric and a half level teaspoon of cinnamon and a supplement of Curcumin every day on my breakfast of oats and crushed seeds using homemade almond milk Kefir probiotic to mix and fruit and berries. Is this enough for my daily requirements of nutrition

      1. Thats a very nutritious recipe. However do keep a tab on the amount of cinnamon you consume every day.1/3 to 12 teaspoon is fine. Long term use of cinnamon is not advised. The almond milk can ensure the absorption of curcumin in the body. However you could also add Golden Paste to your oats daily. https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste
        1-2 teaspoons of Golden Paste are beneficial as preventative measure. Also for more details on the ideal dosage please read https://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/ideal-turmeric-dosage-how-much-turmeric-can-you-take-in-a-day

    2. Curcumin and turmeric has neuroprotective properties and are beneficial in autoimmune diseases. So yes turmeric can benefit in myasthenia gravis. You can start by taking Golden paste 1/2 to 1 teaspoon once a day and build the dose to 1-2 teaspoons twice a day or how it suits you. This recipe combines turmeric with black pepper and oil which ensure better absorption. Take it with meals.
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste

    1. Turmeric has cardioprotective properties and is proven to aid in restoring cardiac function and promoting cardiac repair after heart attack. Turmeric will benefit you. In case you are on blood thinners, avoid curcumin supplements. Dietary turmeric would not cause a problem.