From pancreatic cancer to reducing tumors and cystic fibrosis, anti inflammation to mood and brain function and the list of benefits keeps growing, “turmeric has hundreds of molecular constituents, each with a variety of biological activities” and curcuminnoids are the most researched components of turmeric a spice well know for giving curry its rich golden color.
As of this posting there were no less than 8081 peer reviewed research papers and scientific articles related to curcuminnoids on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health web site.
According to western medicine on it’s own very little if any of the curcuminnoids within turmeric root or powder can be assimilated by the human body. However it is also speculated that people of Indian culture that traditionally consume large amounts of turmeric in their diet may be assimilating the curcuminnoids from various methods of preparation, ingestion or application. As an example, according to a college of Ayurveda “A paste made from turmeric, lime, and salt was commonly applied to sprains and inflamed joints”.
Ayurveda was first recorded in the Veda, the world's oldest existing literature. The three most important Veda texts containing the original and complete knowledge of Ayurveda, believed to be over 1200 years old, is still in use today.
As a novice Indian cook I occasionally shop at an Indian food market, on one recent visit I noticed that the owners hand had a bright golden color and that he was “holding” a piece of fresh turmeric root. He explained that this was to help his hand feel better!
I’ve mastered a few Indian recipes which called for “flash frying” the freshly ground spices in a small amount of ghee (clarified butter) and it is thought by some that a novel form of micro lipid encapsulation may take place during this quick frying process that serves as a mechanism to allow the curcuminnoids to be assimilated and used by the body.
I’ve also found it calming to dab a home made paste of ghee with a pinch of turmeric on a spot on my forehead just above and between my eyes and that my tennis elbow feels better with a bit rubbed into it. It does tend to temporally give the skin some golden coloring.
A few years ago during a mammogram my aunt was told that a tiny lump was found in her breast. I did a little research and advised her about some studies that indicated curcumin’s ability to reduce or stop tumor growth. She began taking a curcuminnoid supplement and in the months and years following, the subsequent mammograms and ultra sounds were unable to detect that mass.
Her last test a few months ago left the technician perplexed because she could not find any sign of the lump and told my aunt that it was probably still there but the machine just could not detect it ! The doctor told her to come back in six months for another test.
What Curcuminnoids supplements actually work?
There is continuing research, discovery and debate around this. As of this posting the studies, some of which have been funded or created by the manufactures of the products themselves all point toward some kind of reduction in molecular size and a carrier.
After reading about Longvida, BCM95 and Meriva, I initially was using a Meriva product and after doing further research I’m currently using “Theracumin“. The promising thing is that compared to simply taking capsules filled with turmeric all of the studies for each of these leading technologies of delivering curcuminnoids all indicated greater bio-availability to the body. For a comprehensive albeit biased review of Thercumin I suggest reading this article by Michael T. Murray, N.D and for another critical and more balanced comparison check out this post by Dr. Josh Trutt
And to top things off a friend gave me a few salmon oil based curcumin gel tabs called Vital Choice Curcumin in Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil to try out which a high priced physician swore by!
So it appears that an oil carrier is the common thread in getting the curcuminnoids past the cell wall or is it…
…on a recent visit to Costco I was offered a sample of a “health beverage” made from turmeric, it tasted more like a strong turmeric tea. I listened as the young lady that was promoting it speak of how it was bioavailable and how most other turmeric is unusable by the body. It was while talking with another customer of the virtues of turmeric that I realized that this post (originally an email for a friend struggling with health issues) was due to be published.