By Natural Partners

Curcumin has been traditionally used for thousands of years for health issues such as gas, digestion, menstrual irregularities, parasites and even gallstones. Curcumin is extracted from the root or rhizome turmeric, its active compounds being curcuminoids (demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin). Curcumin has almost 100 molecular targets and several mechanisms of action. Because of this, curcumin has been shown to be helpful in the treating diseases such as hepatitis and liver disease, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and HPV.

For liver disease in particular, curcumin has many therapeutic applications. With the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease increasing more than any other type of liver disease, curcumin is being used more and more to help treat it. Curcumin treats nonalcoholic fatty liver disease effectively because it improves glucose disposal and insulin sensitivity, blocking fat deposits in the liver. For other liver disease, curcumin has been shown to reduce drug induced hepatotoxicity, enhance the effects of antiviral drugs in the suppression of Hepatitis B, inhibit Hepatitis C virus replication, and protect liver cells from oxidative stress.

Curcumin is also becoming prevalent in the treatment of cervical cancer and HPV. Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer world-wide and one of the leading causes of death in developed countries. Typically, cervical cancer is associated with HPV and curcumin has been shown to slow or limit the activity of the HPV virus. By enhancing p53 activation, a gene that can act as a tumor surpressor, curcumin can help fight HPV infection.

With the treatment of diabetes, curcumin is proving to be effective as well. Millions of Americans have type II diabetes and the trend continues to  increase, year after year. Curcumin can act in multiple ways to reduce blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance. Primarily, curcumin significantly reduces HbA1c levels. With pre-diabetic patients, curcumin can help stop the conversion to type II diabetes. In other clinical human trials, curcumin has shown to  decrease fasting blood glucose, insulin resistance index, serum FFA and triglycerides, C peptides, ALT and AST levels while increasing LPL activity, adiponectin, and insulin AUC/postprandial serum insulin levels.

Depression is another disease that can be difficult to treat, but practitioners are finding curcumin very useful in this application as well. Curcumin is uniquely able to address multiple biological mechanisms associated with depression such as oxidative stress, immuno-inflammation, and HPA-activity while promoting neurogenesis. In some studies, curcumin has even been shown to be as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating symptoms of depression. More importantly, curcumin has much less reported side effects than prescription anti-depressants.

One of the issues with both turmeric and curcmin is that they are poorly absorbed in the blood stream. Different products can use one or a combination of various absorption agents to deliver the curcumin. Potencies can range from 10% to nearly 90% curcuminoid content, which is the most important factor when choosing a curcumin supplement, so the type of supplement and delivery form makes a difference. Whether it is used in preventative medicine or to treat acute illness, curcumin is proving to be effective in many areas as we accumulate more data. Time will tell what curcumin applications could extend to in the future.


References:

Sasaki H. Innovative preparation of curcumin for improved oral bioavailability. Biol Pharm Bull. 2011;34(5):660-665.

Cuomo J. Comparative absorption of a standardized curcuminoid mixture and its lecithin formulation. J Nat Prod. 2011;74(4):664-9.

Gota VS. Safety and pharmacokinetics of a solid lipid curcumin particle formulation in osteosarcoma patients and healthy volunteers. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(4):2095-9.

Jager A. Comparative absorption of curcumin formulations. Nutr J. 2014; 13:11.

Sanmukhani J. Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2013;28(4):579-85.

Bhardwaj RK. Piperine, a major constituent of black pepper, inhibits human p-glycoprotein and CYP3A4. J Pharmacol. 2002;302:645-650.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.