Curcumin 101: Benefits and Dosage 2022


1. What is Curcumin?
2. Dose
3. Benefits of Curcumin
4. Curcumin Combined With Other Supplements
5. Bioavailability
6. Side Effects 
7. Online Shopping Guide

1. What is Curcumin?

Turmeric is a spice well-known for its health-promoting properties. Curcumin is the active compound of one of the most rigorously studied herbs. 

It has been used in Asia for its medicinal properties and countless studies have shown its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-biotic, and anti-fungal benefits. It has been used for joint pain, digestive issues, and many other chronic health conditions.

Is Turmeric and Curcumin the Same?

Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is actually the main active ingredient in turmeric spice. Turmeric (Curcuma longa), is a member of the ginger family of plants [4]. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high. It’s around 2 - 5%.

2. Dose

One to three 500 mg capsules daily with or without food.

3. Benefits of Curcumin

a. Curcumin Boosts Detoxification

Curcumin optimizes the function of the liver, the body's primary organ of detoxification.

b. Curcumin Supports Cardiovascular Function

Curcumin supports heart health by promoting a healthy inflammatory response.

Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, the lining of your blood vessels.

The endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease. This is when your endothelium is unable to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, and various other factors.

Several studies suggest that curcumin can lead to improvements in heart health (Source, Source). Additionally, one study found that it’s as effective as exercise in post-menopausal women (Source).

In addition, curcumin can help reduce inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which can play a role in heart disease.

In one study of 121 people undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, researchers assigned them either a placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day a few days before and after the surgery. The curcumin group had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital.

c. Curcumin Promotes Healthy Mood Balance

Curcumin has been shown to be an extremely effective natural mood enhancer.

Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression.

In a controlled trial, 60 people with depression were randomized into three groups. One group took Prozac, another group took 1 gram of curcumin, and the third group took both Prozac and curcumin. After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements similar to those of Prozac. The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best (Source).

According to this small study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant.

Depression is also linked to reduced levels of BDNF and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory. Curcumin can help boost BDNF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes (Source).

There’s also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (Source, Source).

d. Curcumin Supports Natural Weight Loss

Curcumin can enhance weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

e. Curcumin Promotes Youthful Radiant Skin

Curcumin fights fine lines and wrinkles, promoting soft, smooth and glowing skin.

f. Curcumin Boosts Cognitive Function

Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and may help fight various degenerative processes in your brain. Curcumin also protects brain cells by binding to and dissolving abnormal proteins.

g. Curcumin is Anti-Inflammatory

Curcumin is an antioxidant that may offer a variety of anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s present in turmeric, a mild spice that can add color and flavor to sweet and savory dishes, as well as teas. It’s also available as a supplement.

This new meta-analysis on curcumin was published in 2021 by researchers at the University of Miami (1). After reviewing 10 different studies on curcumin and knee arthritis with almost thirteen hundred patients, the researchers concluded that:

“Although limitations exist within the 10 RCTs reviewed, this small set of studies show a reduction in pain and improvement in function similar to that of NSAIDs but with a reduced incidence of adverse events. Turmeric appears to be a safe adjunct to NSAID therapy allowing for additional analgesic benefit as well as a reduced dosage requirement for NSAIDs. “

Meaning that Curcumin was shown to be as good as NSAIDs like Motrin, Alleve, or Celebrex with far fewer side effects!

In 2019, some researchers found that curcumin capsules had a similar effect on the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis as diclofenac, an NSAID.

In the study, 139 people with OA of the knee took either a 50-milligram tablet of diclofenac twice a day for 28 days or a 500-milligram curcumin capsule three times a day.

Both groups said their pain levels improved, but those who took curcumin had fewer negative effects. The research suggested that people who can’t take NSAIDs may be able to use curcumin instead.

h. Curcumin May Help Fight Cancer

One study looked at the effects of curcumin on 44 patients with lesions in the colon that could have become cancerous. After 30 days, 4 grams of curcumin daily reduced the number of lesions present by 40% (Trusted Source).

In a test-tube study, curcumin was also found to decrease the spread of colon cancer cells by targeting a specific enzyme related to cancer growth (Trusted Source).

Another test-tube study showed that curcumin helped kill off head and neck cancer cells (Trusted Source).

Curcumin has also been shown to be effective in slowing the growth of lung, breast and prostate cancer cells in other test-tube studies (Trusted SourceTrusted SourceTrusted Source).

For the best results, aim for at least 1/2–3 teaspoons (1–3 grams) of ground turmeric per day. Use it as a ground spice to add flavor to foods, and pair it with black pepper to help boost its absorption.

i. Curcumin has Antiviral Properties

The antiviral actions of curcumin against multiple viruses (influenza and hepatitis viruses, herpes viruses, human papilloma virus, human immunodeficiency virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and other coronaviruses), bacteria and fungi have been established by experimental evidence

j. Curcumin May Help In The Treatment of Covid

Current research on COVID-19 treatment options has shown its potential benefits.

The molecular docking study found that curcumin, EGCG, and beta-glucan, as well as quercetin, myricetin, genistein, and daidzein may show benefits as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Curcumin ranked number two in most categories. It ranked number two against 6lu7, 6lvn, 6vw1, 6vww, 6yte number four against 6vsb, number five against 6vsb and 6lxt of COVID-19. The study recommends 500 mg of curcumin.

Another study suggests that Curcumin modulates inflammation preventing the subsequent cytokine storm by inhibiting multiple transcription factors such as nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT-3), and downregulating the proinflammatory cytokines, as this has been demonstrated in human macrophages after influenza virus infection [4,6]. Additionally, curcumin inhibits ACE modulating angiotensin II synthesis and downregulating inflammation, while it also promotes fibrinolysis and the anticoagulation process [4,6,7] (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1
Fig. 1. Bromelain (B) and curcumin (C) exert multiple immunomodulatory actions interfering in the crucial steps of COVID-19 pathophysiology. ACE-2, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor; COVID-19, coronavirus disease 2019; NF-κB, nuclear factor kappa B; PG; prostaglandin; SARS-CoV-2; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; STAT-3, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3; TMPRSS-2, trans-membrane serine protease 2; TXA2, thromboxane A2.

Remarkably, recent evidence from in silico studies has demonstrated that curcumin prevents SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells by blocking the viral binding sites and the cell ligands (spike protein, ACE-2 receptors and basigin), downregulating trans-membrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS-2), and by interfering with viral replication through the interaction with various viral proteins. However, the minimal absorption of curcumin following oral administration presents a major limitation in its bioavailability (Source).

k. Curcumin has Anti-Aging Properties

Curcumin — the main active compound in turmeric — has been shown to possess powerful anti-aging properties, which are attributed to its potent antioxidant potential.

Cellular senescence occurs when cells stop dividing. As you age, senescent cells accumulate, which is believed to accelerate aging and disease progression (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Research demonstrates that curcumin activates certain proteins, including sirtuins and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which helps delay cellular senescence and promotes longevity (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Plus, curcumin has been shown to combat cellular damage and significantly increase the lifespan of fruit flies, roundworms, and mice. This compound has been shown to postpone age-related disease and alleviate age-related symptoms as well (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

This may be why turmeric intake has been associated with a reduced risk of age-related mental decline in humans (Trusted Source).

4. Curcumin Combined With Other Supplements

a. Curcumin and Bromelain

Due to its proteolytic action, bromelain is absorbed directly when administered orally, while it substantially promotes the absorption of curcumin enhancing its bioavailability, and making this a perfect combination of immune-boosting nutraceuticals with synergistic anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant actions (Source, Source).

The hypothesis that the combination of bromelain and curcumin may prove useful for the protection against SARS-Co-V-2 infection warrants clinical investigation. Noteworthy, the favorable safety profile of this nutraceutical combination makes a compelling case for its use in the general population with potentially important implications in preventing severe COVID-19.

b. Curcumin and Quercetin

Both actually have similar benefits. Curcumin and quercetin are antioxidant molecules with anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities.

study shown that combining low concentrations of Quercetin and Curcumin yield similar or better anti-inflammatory effectiveness when compared to treatment with each agent alone. Moreover, they co-operate synergistically in the context of antimicrobial activity, with an increased effectiveness when compared to Quercetin or Curcumin alone at high concentrations.

Another study suggests that curcumin and to a lesser extent quercetin may offer therapeutic potential for the treatment of crystal-induced arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

However, even both curcumin and quercetin had protective effects, reduced the oxidative stress and stimulated the antioxidant defence. Curcumin had superior antioxidant effects to quercetin, probably because of a better bioavailability and absorbtion. (Source)

c. Curcumin and Piperine / Black Pepper

Piperine is a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000% (Source). Curcumin supplements with piperine are substantially more effective compared to plain curcumin supplements.

The anti-inflammatory properties of both turmeric and piperine may aid in reducing gut inflammation, which can help with digestion. When combined, curcumin and piperine tend to have a greater effect on inflammation, digestion, reducing pain and fighting cancer.

5. Bioavailability

Curcumin supplements are generally not well absorbed in your gut, and often metabolized by your liver before ever being utilized. Since curcumin is fat soluble, taking it in liposomal form provides your body with the lipids curcumin needs in order to enhance bioavailability. Liposomal Curcumin solves the problem of poor absorption by coating the curcumin with a thin layer of fat from medium-chain-triglyceride (MCT) oil.

6. Side Effects

Turmeric is generally considered to be safe. However, it can cause nausea and diarrhea, especially when used in large dosages or over an extended period of time. In excessive doses, it may potentially increase the risk of ulcers.

a. Who Should Not Take Curcumin

If you have any of the following health conditions, please consult a doctor before consuming curcumin.
– Diabetes
– Gallbladder problems
– An iron deficiency
– Bleeding problems or a blood-clotting disorder
– A stomach disorder called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD);
– Endometriosis or uterine fibroids; or
– Cancer of the breast, uterus, ovary (or other hormone-sensitive conditions).

b. What Should I Avoid When Taking Turmeric?

Turmeric may make it more difficult for your body to absorb iron. Inform your doctor if you use an iron supplement.

Don’t use turmeric with other herbal/health products that may interfere with blood clotting. Angelica (dong quai), capsicum, clove, dandelion, danshen, evening primrose, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, poplar, red clover, saw palmetto, and willow are all included.

Avoid combining turmeric with other herbal/health products that can lower blood sugar levels, such as alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, damiana, devil’s claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.

7. Online Shopping Guide

1. Best Quercetin, Bromelain, Curcumin and Piperine Supplement Vimerson Health Turmeric, Quercetin, Bromelain
This supplement contains 500mg of Quercetin which acts as a strong antioxidant, balancing inflammation in your body and providing immune support. It also contains Bromelain which also balances inflammation, helping you to maintain a healthy immune system.

Finally, this supplement contains 700 mg of Organic Turmeric powder and 10mg of BioPerine black pepper extract for joint health. 

2. Best Quercetin, Curcumin and Piperine Supplement - Organic Cadane Quercetin Capsule
This organic Quercetin extract product is the supermix capsules, includes Quercetin, Turmeric Curcumin, Berberine, Stinging Nettle, Black Seed powder, Black Pepper and is suitable for vegans.

3. Best Quercetin, Bromelain and Curcumin Supplement - Vital Nutrients BCQ
This formula contains Boswellia and curcumin extracts, quercetin, a potent flavonoid and bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme derived from pineapple. These enzymes support healthy digestive and gastrointestinal function. This formula also supports healthy connective tissue and acts as an anti-inflammatory supplement, which may aid with minor pain relief.

4. Best Curcumin with Black Pepper Extract Curcumin - NatureWise Organic Curcumin Turmeric 2250mg, 95 Curcuminoids
Curcumin by itself is poorly absorbed by the body. This turmeric with black pepper capsules are enhanced with ginger and Bioperine, a patented black pepper extract proven to dramatically increase bioavailability.

5. Curcumin Elite Turmeric Extract - Life Extension Curcumin Elite Turmeric Extract
This supplement combined curcumin from turmeric, a spice steeped in Ayurvedic tradition, with fibers from fenugreek seeds. This formula offers more bioavailable free curcuminoids and better absorption of total curcuminoids than standard curcumin.


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