Turmeric is a plant that is part of the ginger family. Native to Southeast Asia and grown commercially primarily in India, its underground stem (rhizome) is a popular culinary spice that is also used widely in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Historically, turmeric has been used in most Eastern Asian medical practices in order to support the digestive system, skin, respiratory, and joint health.. Today turmeric is promoted as a dietary supplement for a number of health benefits as well as a paste for promoting skin health. In the kitchen, turmeric is a popular spice as well as a significant ingredient in curry powder.
Turmeric is a plant and its roots are used to make the spice that is used for cooking and in herbal drinks. Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound that is found within the plant’s roots. Known as a carotenoid compound, curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that is also responsible for turmeric’s bright yellow color. There are two other related compounds in turmeric called demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin that, together with curcumin, are collectively known as curcuminoids.
Turmeric has been promoted by its proponents as a dietary supplement that can help to support immune health aid in supporting digestion, help with managing oxidative stress, and relieving exercise-related muscle soreness, among other things. It is also purported to promote a positive mood and to even provide stress support.
Curcumin (found in turmeric) has been shown to increase GSH levels which is used to make a major antioxidant called glutathione. Based on research, curcumin may increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) , a gene that is correlated with brain health. Studies have also found that activities such as exercise can increase BDNF levels.
Turmeric is not a quick fix, so you would need to take it on a daily basis for an extended period of time in order to experience any of the results you are seeking. The exact timeframe is variable as it depends on such factors as dosage, your body size and composition, general health, and the bioavailability of the turmeric (curcumin) you are taking. Typically, you would start to notice the results in approximately 4-8 weeks when taking turmeric daily as recommended; again, however, results can vary from person to person.
Turmeric is generally considered to be safe and without any serious side effects, though some people can experience digestive distress, nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea when it is taken in higher doses. When applied to the skin, turmeric is considered to be safe. The main side effect when using turmeric topically is potential staining of the skin.
If you are planning to supplement with turmeric and you are taking any medication on a daily basis, it is in your best interest to consult with your physician. While including the spice turmeric in your diet is safe, the supplement might have an impact on your medication.
There is no standard recommendation for turmeric dosage, though the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined 1.4 mg per pound or 0-3 mg per kilogram of body weight as the acceptable daily intake that may be effective. They do not recommend higher doses for long-term use. The recommended doses of many studies that used turmeric supplements vary from 500-2000 mg per day and higher doses above 10,000 mg per day are also not recommended for long-term use. In the case of supplementing with turmeric, more is not always better. It is best to start with a low to moderate dose and then only work your way up if instructed by your physician.
As a spice in food form, there is no evidence that a high dose of consumption is even necessary, even for pregnant and lactating people. In supplement form, however, higher doses of turmeric have not been tested in pregnant or lactating people. If you are pregnant, lactating, or taking medications on a regular basis, do not take turmeric supplements without checking with your physician.
There is no best time to take turmeric supplements, though it is best to take them with meals in order to maximize absorption. When to take a turmeric supplement isn’t nearly as important as being consistent with your schedule for taking it.
You can always add black pepper to turmeric powder to boost absorption. This typically isn’t necessary, though, if the entire root is being used instead of just the curcumin extract. In turmeric supplements, most products are formulated to ensure maximum absorption.
This study of the influence of piperine on the absorption of curcumin in both rats and humans shows that piperine enhances both its absorption and bioavailability.
It is usually best to take turmeric with food in order to maximize its absorption and thereby effectiveness. You can also cook with turmeric, include it in a drink like a latte, juice, or smoothie, add it to your chia pudding, drink as a tea, or mix it with water, though it might be a bit strong and potentially not easily digested.
Turmeric is a popular spice that has been used in most East Asian medicines for centuries to supportskin health, respiratory health, and digestive health. Today it is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine and is available as a supplement in capsule form extracts, tinctures, and liquids. Often turmeric supplements are combined with bromelain, a protein extract derived from a pineapple, that helps to increase its absorption and effectiveness.
Turmeric supplements are believed to promote a healthy immune system, soothe digestion, support liver health, boost joint health, improve skin complexion, support fat metabolism, and promote mood, among other things. Turmeric is not a quick fix, however. It has to be taken consistently in a healthy dose, for a prescribed period of time to begin to see results. If you are going to take turmeric supplements, it is important to check with your physician before you begin. It is not recommended for pregnant or lactating people. Anyone taking daily medications for medical conditions should also check with their physician before taking turmeric or any other supplementation.
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