Turmeric: What Everyone Needs To Know Before Using Turmeric Again

This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is advisable to seek the advice of your primary healthcare practitioner to discuss any interactions or contraindications with turmeric if you are currently taking any medication. In particular, if you are on blood thinners, diabetes medication or proton pump inhibitors, and are either pregnant or scheduled for surgery.

It is estimated that by 2020, chronic disease will be responsible for 75% of all deaths in the world [1]. Not only is it costing us our lives, but the U.S. is also reported to have spent approximately $2 trillion on public and private health care, the majority of which is spent on the chronic disease burden alone [2].

What’s Being Done

Unfortunately, the healthcare system responds to the disease burden by relying heavily on prescription medications that come with a list of dangerous side-effects, such as weakening the immune system, a whole host of neurological problems and even increasing thoughts of suicide [3]!

The Alternative

So what is one to do when faced with a chronic illness and having to rely on an endless list of prescription drugs? There’s diet, lifestyle changes, and then turmeric!

There have been multiple studies done recently that suggest turmeric can be as effective as prescription medication — but without the side effects! Keep in mind however, that the majority of these studies are preliminary and further research is needed to assess if the results hold up in the long run. But for now, these positive outcomes provide hope as well as another tool for those struggling to find relief from their symptoms. 

The Healing Powers of Turmeric

healing turmeric

Here are just some of the amazing benefits of this miraculous spice:

  • Relieve Painful Joints and Inflammation
    Chronic inflammation is at the root of every single chronic disease there is. Fortunately, studies have found that curcumin actually targets inflammation on a molecular level, helping to treat and reduce chronic inflammation [4].

  • Prevent Heart Disease
    One of the major factors involved in heart disease is known as endothelial dysfunction, which disables the blood vessel’s ability to properly regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, and other factors. Studies have shown that curcumin intake leads to improvements in endothelial function, preventing heart disease [4].

  • Anti-Cancer
    This deadly disease is caused by healthy cells becoming mutated and growing uncontrollably. Curcumin can reduce the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, and actually kill cancerous cells [4]!

  • Prevent Premature Aging
    Free radicals can cause oxidative damage in our bodies, which can lead to premature aging. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that can fight these free radicals, and also energize the body’s own antioxidant enzymes, making it twice as effective against free radicals [4].

  • Lower Risk of Brain Disorders
    Many common brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and depression have been linked to a decrease of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a hormone that promotes healthy brain growth. Luckily, curcumin can increase the levels of BDNF, effectively delaying brain degeneration and is also effective against Amyloid plaques, which can build up in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients [4].

The Best Way To Take Turmeric

So then is it as simple as sprinkling some turmeric into your meals? Not quite. While a teaspoon of ground turmeric powder provides approximately 45 mg of curcumin, all research conducted on the therapeutic use of turmeric uses doses higher than 100 mg, all the way up to 3000 mg per day. Unless you want chug back tablespoons upon tablespoons of turmeric, the easiest way to achieve clinical results is by using it in its non-food form!

Here are the 3 ways to achieve optimal potency and absorption of curcumin:

  • Take it in the form of a supplement. You can get dosages between 200-300 mg in capsule form, or if you’re not a fan of pills, you can get the same dosage from a few drops of Purathrive Liposomal Turmeric.

  • Take it in liquid form, if possible. While capsules are convenient, unfortunately, the absorption depends on the strength of your stomach acid to break down the glycerine or gelatin capsule that’s surrounding the turmeric powder. If you use liquid, turmeric can go directly into your bloodstream without the need for digestion.

  • Take it in liposomal form. Turmeric is fat-soluble, which means it needs to be taken with a good fat for optimal absorption. Most liquid supplements on the market are not bound to a fat, which means you would probably have to chase it down with a teaspoon of ghee or coconut oil afterward!

    Luckily, there are a few companies on the market such as Purathrive that offer liposomal technology, where the turmeric is encapsulated by an essential fatty acid (called a liposome), delivering it directly into our cells! As a bonus, Purathrive also contains fulvic acid which not only contains over 77 macro and trace minerals, but also optimizes nutrient absorption further.

The Exact Dosages You Can Use

Research has been done comparing curcumin to the exact medications listed below. And guess what? Results showed curcumin was either comparable or better! Once again, please remember that the findings in these studies are preliminary. It is not advisable at any point to stop taking your medication without the consent of your primary healthcare practitioner. If you are currently not on any medication and experiencing mild symptoms, turmeric can be a safe first step to explore. 

Depression

  • Popular prescription medications: Prozac, Prozac Weekly, Sarafem, Rapiflux (all contain fluoxetine), Tofranil, Tofranil PM (Imipramine) [5].

  • Some side effects of these medications are joint or muscle pain, anxiety, mood changes, restlessness, and inflammation of the skin [6].

  • Turmeric dosage that resulted in a positive outcome:
    (Note: the study excluded patients with severe depression that included suicidal thoughts) [7]

turmeric for depression

Diabetes

  • Popular prescription medications: Glucophage, glucophage XR, glumetza, fortamet (metformin) [5]

  • Some side effects of these medications are painful urination, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and depression [8].

  • Turmeric dosage that resulted in a positive outcome [9]:

turmeric diabetes

Inflammation (Arthritis, Joint Pain)

  • Popular prescription medications: Advil, Motrin, Motrin IB (Ibuprofen), Ecotrin, Bayer Aspirin, Aspir 81 (aspirin), Clinoril (sulindac), Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox (Naproxen), Indocin, Tivorbex, Inocin SR, Indocin IV (Indomethacin), Voltaren, Cataflam, Cambia, Zorvolex (diclofenac), Decadron, Decadron Phosphate, Dexamethasone Intensol, Dexasone (dexamethasone), celebrex (celecoxib) [5]

  • Some side effects of these medications are dyspepsia, renal failure, cardiovascular disease, hypersensitivity, and seizures [10].

  • Turmeric dosage that resulted in a positive outcome [5]:

turmeric joint inflammation

Cholesterol

  • Popular prescription medications: Lipitor (atorvastatin)[5]

  • Some side effects of these medications are weakened immune system, kidney failure, and inflammation [3]. Side note: another great supplement for keeping healthy cholesterol levels is Barley Extract Powder.

  • Turmeric dosage that resulted in a positive outcome [5]:

turmeric cholesterol

Peptic Ulcer, Gastritis

  • Popular prescription medications*: Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Aciphex (rabeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), and Protonix (pantoprazole) [11].

  • Some side effects of these medications are bloody urine, joint pain, unusual bleeding or bruising, and stomach pain [11].

  • Turmeric dosage that resulted in a positive outcome [12]:

turmeric stomach ulcer

IBD

  • Popular prescription medications*: Azasan (azathioprine), Purixan (mercaptopurine), corticosteroids, and Humira (adalimumab) [13].

  • Some side effects of these medications are body aches, stomach pain, difficulty breathing, dehydration, bleeding gums, and chest pain [13].

  • Turmeric dosage that resulted in a positive outcome [14]: 

turmeric ibd

Alzheimer’s

  • Popular prescription medications*: There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but medications used for memory loss are Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne (cholinesterase inhibitors) [15]

  • Some side effects of these medications are nervousness, weight loss, vomiting, changes in vision, and joint pain [15].

  • Turmeric dosage that resulted in a positive outcome [16]:

turmeric alzheimers

For the dosages listed above, be sure to take a liquid form that has liposomal technology such as Purathrive, or if you are taking a capsule then make sure it is bound to a fat for optimal absorption. When taking Purathrive, keep it in your purse or at your desk, and simply take it on its own, mix a few drops in water or your favorite smoothie!

*While clinical research was conducted to test the efficacy of curcumin at the dosage listed for this issue, unlike the other examples given in this article, curcumin was not directly compared against medication in these studies.

 

Sources:

1.World Health Organization. (2007, June 22). 2. Background. World Health Organization (WHO). Retrieved August 19, 2016, from World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/2_background/en/.

2. Fight Chronic Disease.org. (December 8, 2016). The growing crisis of chronic disease in the United States. FightChronicDisease.org. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from http://www.fightchronicdisease.org/sites/default/files/docs/GrowingCrisisofChronicDiseaseintheUSfactsheet_81009.pdf.

3. ANH-USA. (2015, July 14). The grave dangers of Statin Drugs—and the surprising benefits of cholesterol. ANH-USA. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from http://www.anh-usa.org/the-grave-dangers-of-statin-drugs-and-the-surprising-benefits-of-cholesterol/.

4. Gunnars, K. (March 12, 2014). 10 proven health benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin. Authority Nutrition. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from: https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/.

5. Ji, Sayer. (May 13, 2013). Science confirms Turmeric as effective as 14 drugs. Greenmedinfo. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/science-confirms-turmeric-effective-14-drugs?page=1.

6. Drugs. (2000). Prozac side effects in detail. Drugs.com. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from https://www.drugs.com/sfx/prozac-side-effects.html.

7. Sanmukhani, J. et al. (2013). Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Phytotherapy research : PTR., 28(4), 579–85. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5025.

8. Drugs. (2000). Metformin side effects. Drugs.com. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from https://www.drugs.com/sfx/metformin-side-effects.html.

9. Chuengsamarn et al. Curcumin Extract for Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 35 (11). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc12-0116.  

10. Drugs. (2000). Aspritin Side Effects in Detail. Drugs.com. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from https://www.drugs.com/sfx/aspirin-side-effects.html.

11. Staff, M. C. (2014). Gastritis treatments and drugs. Mayoclinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gastritis/basics/treatment/con-20021032.

12. Hungspreugs, K et al. (2001). Phase II clinical trial on effect of the long turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn) on healing of peptic ulcer. The Southeast Asian journal of tropical medicine and public health., 32(1), 208–15. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11485087.

13. Staff, M. C. (2015). Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatments and drugs. Mayoclinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease/basics/treatment/con-20034908.

14. Hanai, H., & Sugimoto, K. (2009). Curcumin has bright prospects for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Current pharmaceutical design, 15 (18), 2087–94. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19519446.  

15. Association®, A. (2016). Medications for Memory Loss. Alzheimer’s Association. Retrieved August 19, 2016, from http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_standard_prescriptions.asp.

16. Hishikawa, N. et al. (2012). Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda, 33(4) . DOI:  10.4103/0974-8520.110524.

Image Sources:

curiousabouthealth.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/tumeric-tea-step-3.jpg

 

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