Turmeric has significantly grown in popularity as a supplement over recent years, with claims of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant power. Turmeric is a yellow-colored spice from the ginger family. It is native to India and the Middle East, and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries in these regions. The active ingredient in turmeric is Curcumin, which makes up approximately 3% of turmeric by weight.
Researchers have increased their focus on turmeric for disease prevention and treatment. Based on a review of the current literature on turmeric, there has been scientific evidence finding turmeric
- Major Depression: Studies have found an overall improvement in depressive symptoms; however studies with larger populations and longer duration need to be conducted before it can be recommended for treatment to the general population1,2.
- Arthritis: Studies found individuals experienced and improvement in symptoms with 1000mg supplementation. However, again, studies with larger groups of people need to be conducted before it can be recommended for treatment to the general population3.
- Cholesterol: Studies found no significant improvement in total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, or triglycerides4.
- Inflammation: Studies have investigated several, but not all, inflammatory markers, and found a significant decrease in the markers evaluated. The studies found greater improvements in individuals with systemic inflammation/chronic diseases5, 6.
Taking a turmeric supplement showed no negative effects in any of the studies when taken by healthy individuals. However, all studies stated there was not enough evidence to allow for a generalized recommendation to be made on turmeric intake, and more research needs to be conducted for specific populations before a recommendation can be formed. In simple terms: it won’t hurt, but there’s no guarantee it’ll help.
One key thing to keep in mind is the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of taking turmeric, or any supplement for that matter, will not negate the effects of poor lifestyle choices. Be sure to exercise regularly and manage your stress levels. For diet, consume an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains, lean meats, with regular fish intake; limit red meat, sweets, processed foods, and consume alcohol in moderation. Balance, variety, and moderation will be your true keys to health and wellness!
- Ng Q, Koh S, Chan H, Ho C (2017) Clinical Use of Curcumin in Depression: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Medical Director Association, 18(60), 503-508.
- Al-Karawi D, Al Mamoori D, Tayyar Y (2016) The Role of Curcumin Administration in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: Mini Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Journal of Phytotherapy Research, 30(2), 175-83.
- Daily J, Yang M, Park S (2016) Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Journal of Medicinal Food, 19(8), 717-29.
- Sahebkar A (2014) A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of curcumin on blood lipid levels. Clinical Nutrition, 33(3), 406-14.
- Derosa G, Maffioli P, Simental-Media L, Bo S, Sahebar A (2016) Effect of curcumin on circulating interleukin-6 concentrations: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacological Research, 11(1), 394-404.
- Bengmark S (2006) Curcumin, an atoxic antioxidant and natural NFkappaB, cyclooxygenase-2, lipooxygenase, and inducible nitric oxide synthase inhibitor: a shield against acute and chronic diseases. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 30(1) 45-51.