Curcumin What You Need To Know

INFORMATION IS FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY.Educational information only. Not intended as a replacement for medical advice that is based on individual circumstances.



• Inflammation (12) – injury, postoperative (56). joint wear and tear (osteoarthritis) (60)

• Allergic reactions – asthma (9)

• Autoimmune activity reduction (19, 32) – rheumatoid arthritis and multiplesclerosis in animals

• NK cell activity increase (6)

• Anti-cancer properties – breast (23), prostate (39), colon (32), pancreatic (29), glioma (33), ovarian (53)


• Antiviral (10), Epstein Barr (6) and HIV virus (26, 27)

• Antibacterial, antiparasitic (4)


• Effective chelator of copper and iron (57)


• Stomach ulcer, Crohn’s or proctitis (9)



• Reduces cholesterol oxidation andlevels, increases HDL (30)

• Reduces fibrinogen (38)

• Reduces platelet aggregation (22, 41)


• Reduces brain damage following ischemia (reduced blood flow) (51)#

• Reduces development andregression of Alzeimer’s disease progression in animal models (50)

• Reduces gliomas (brain tumors) (33)

• Antidepressant effects (20)


• from alcohol and aflatoxin (peanut fungus) (58, 59)


• Enhances bile flow and solubility (43)

Curcumin & The Inflammatory Response

Excessive inflammation is a common risk factor for disease occurrence and progression. Inflammation may lead to joint
tissue destruction, cancer, cardiovascular events, insulin resistance/diabetes and brain/liver/kidney degenerative diseases.
Research shows curcumin helps support a healthy inflammatory response (12). It was shown to reduce both acute and
chronic inflammation caused by physical injury, joint wear and tear (as in osteoarthritis), chronic infections or inadequate
antioxidant protection (5-8, 12, 18, 19, 22, 60). 

Curcumin was shown to be more effective than certain NSAIDs in reducing inflammation and pain associated with
rheumatoid arthritis (19) or post-operative trauma (56). It has a better cardiovascular safety profile than aspirin because, unlike
aspirin, it does not inhibit the arterial protective factor prostacyclin (22). Curcumin acts on the mother compound NF Kappa
beta. By suppressing this inflammatory marker, curcumin has a domino effect that reduces the entire cascade of
inflammatory compounds that would be produced thereafter. 

Curcumin has an advantage over pharmacological anti-inflammatory
agents because it is a powerful antioxidant, so it can also reduce COX
expression along with being a COX 1 and COX 2 inhibitor. Where
NSAIDs are known to have potential GI side effects such as GI bleeding,
one study showed that curcumin was able to heal GI injury caused by
the NSAID indomethacin (8). Amazingly, curcumin and resveratrol have
been proven to be even stronger anti-inflammatories than ibuprofen and
aspirin (7).

Allergies and Histamine Release

Curcumin has been shown to decrease histamine release, suggesting
that it plays a significant role in exerting both antioxidative and antiallergic
activities (9). Research shows that curcumin’s potential beneficial
effect on the allergic response works by inhibiting the production of
cytokines affecting eosinophil function and IgE synthesis (10). 

Autoimmune Conditions

Curcumin downregulates mediators characteristic of rheumatoid
arthritis (19), reduces disease activity in Crohn’s (13), and was shown to
reduce disease activity in a model of multiple sclerosis in animals (32).

“These findings highlight the fact that curcumin inhibits experimental
encephalomyelitis by blocking IL-12 signaling in T cells and suggest its
use in the treatment of MS and other Th1 cell-mediated inflammatory
diseases.” (32). 

By boosting NK cell activity increase (6) curcumin may also enhance the
body’s ability to fight infections.

Gastrointestinal Protection

Curcumin may benefit ulcer, proctitis (inflammation of the rectum common in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) and may reduce leaky gut syndrome. 

“We conclude that antiulcer activity of curcumin is primarily attributed to matrix metalloproteinases -9 inhibition, one of the major path-ways of ulcer healing.” (8). “A pure curcumin preparation was administered in an open label study to five patients with ulcerative proctitis and five with Crohn’s disease. All proctitis patients improved, with reductions in concomitant medications in four, and four of five Crohn’s disease patients had lowered CDAI scores and sedimentation rates.” (13).

Liver Protection

Curcumin pretreatment was shown to reduce the liver damage induced by alcohol (58) and aflatoxin (59) (the fungal toxin often found along with peanuts/peanut butter).

Cardiovascular Protection

Curcumin may lower total cholesterol, fibrinogen and platelet aggregation, while increasing HDL and decreasing lipid peroxidation (30, 38, 22, 41).

In one study, “The effect of curcumin administration in reducing the serum levels of cholesterol and lipid peroxides was studied in ten healthy human volunteers, receiving 500 mg of curcumin per day for 7 days. A significant decrease in the level of serum lipid peroxides (33%), increase in HDL Cholesterol (29%), and a decrease in total serum cholesterol (11.63%) were noted.” (30). According to another study, “Our reviewed data show that, in human healthy subjects, the daily intake of 200 mg of the above extract results in a decrease in total blood lipid peroxides as well as in HDL and LDL-lipid peroxidation. This anti-atherogenic effect was accompanied by a curcuma antioxidant-induced normalization of the plasma levels of fibrinogen and of the apo B/apo A ratio, that may also decrease the cardiovascular risk.” (38).

Brain Protection

Curcumin pretreatment reduced brain damage following ischemia/stroke (51) and from heavy alcohol intake (54). Curcumin reduced development and severity of Alzeimer’s disease in animal models by reducing plaque aggregation and plaque induced oxidative stress and was even capable of dissociating existing plaque (21). Its chelating ability for iron and copper ions is also believed to play a beneficial role in reducing the progression of the disease (57).

“Initially, we reported the impact of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), notably ibuprofen, which reduced amyloid accumulation, but suppressed few inflammatory markers and without reducing oxidative damage. Safety concerns with chronic NSAIDs led to a screen of alternative NSAIDs and identification of the phenolic anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidant compound curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric that we found targeted multiple AD pathogenic cascades. The dietary omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), also limited amyloid, oxidative damage and synaptic and cognitive deficits in a transgenic mouse model. Both DHA and curcumin have favorable safety profiles, epidemiology and efficacy, and may exert general anti-aging benefits (anti-cancer and cardioprotective.)” (50).

Additional Research

There are many studies on curcumin and cancer. Curcumin has been shown to enhance chemotherapy effectiveness (52). Curcumin was the highlight of human clinical trials performed at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston, Texas. 

“In addition to antioxidation, curcumin could also induce apoptosis by targeting mitochondria, affecting p53-related signaling and blocking NF-kappaB activation. To further dissect its anti-carcinogenic mechanisms, a number of curcumin targets were identified. These included the arylhydrocarbon receptor, cytochrome P450, glutathione S-transferase, serine/threonine kinases, transcription factors, cyclooxygenase, ornithine decarboxylase, nitric oxide synthase, matrix metalloproteinases and tyrosine kinases.” (44).

Many spices protect the body from bacteria and parasites in food, while boosting the body’s antioxidant abilities. Research shows curcumin to have antimicrobial activities. Curcumin was shown to reduce transcription of Epstein Barr (25) and HIV virus (26, 27). Curcumin may work to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus albus, and Bacillustyphosus, and is also effective against nematode parasites and certain protozoa (4).

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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