I’ve been conscientious about vitamins and minerals for a while now—via a high-quality one-a-day and also — most importantly — what I eat. But there’s also a whole world of herbal/natural supplements out there. These are ones for which the US FDA hasn’t asserted a firm stance and thus hasn’t announced any official “RDA” (Recommended, or Reference, Daily Allowance).
Awful pun intended: I take a lot of the “miracle herb or spice” claims with a grain of salt.
But I decided to start taking turmeric supplements based on the emerging evidence of its many benefits. Turmeric is a spice that’s a main ingredient in curry. So it’s something people have been consuming for thousands of years. FYI, you’ll also see the name curcumin used; that’s the most active chemical compound within turmeric.
You may feel barraged with “miracle” health headlines; maybe even a bit cynical. I get that.
But please read on for a minute or two, because I’ve come to believe turmeric is an exceptional thing. It’s a substance with many, many benefits and no real downside (though there is one caveat if you take blood thinning medication).
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT TURMERIC?
Turmeric proponents point to these benefits, among others:
- Reduced risk of arthritis and inflammation-related pain
- Lowered risk of heart disease
- Prevention of certain cancers
- Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions
- Fighting depression (some say as effectively as prescription medications)
- More-rapid healing of wounds
The more conservative and most-esteemed web health sources (ones like Mayo Clinic and WebMD) still qualify their description of turmeric with lots of “may provide” and “studies suggest” language. But still, compared to how they assess other popular herbal/spice claims, reading their assessment of turmeric contributes to believing it does some good.
And besides, the benefits they’re referring to with a “may” are so important, man. So my perspective is “may” is a good reason to take a couple of extra pills a day. Other, less “establishment” info sources really gush about turmeric as somewhat of a miracle spice. If they’re even 10% right, that’s a good deal from my perspective!
One thing to note. Turmeric has natural blood-thinning properties (that’s part of its benefit vis-a-vis heart disease). But if you’re taking blood-thinning medication, turmeric can add to the effect, creating more blood thinning than you want. Be careful here.
To help you explore this and judge for yourself, here’s a “blue chip source” article and “other source” article on turmeric. If you simply Google “turmeric benefits” you can spend another five minutes checking on what others say, too.
One thing you’ll see while reading is that “bio-availability” is an issue with turmeric/curcumin supplements. That is, you can take pills that have a substance in them, but your body can’t always absorb and make use of everything that’s in the pill.
Turmeric’s bio-availability is a lot better if either (a) used in cooking with black pepper, or (b) taken in supplements that have bio-perine, the chemical substance from black pepper that has this beneficial effect.
Me? I don’t think I could eat enough turmeric-containing foods / drinks to consistently get benefits here, so I’m taking a turmeric supplement. Decide for yourself, dude. Just wanted to bring this to your attention.
“I wanna live with a cinnamon girl. I could be happy the rest of my life with a cinnamon girl.” (Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Cinnamon Girl – click to listen). Think this quote is too much of a stretch? Sorry, brother. Even for me, this turmeric/curcumin topic was a head-scratcher quote-wise.
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