May 23, 2014

Curcumin: A Cure-All?

For several years, I've followed reports on nutritional supplements. Along with most researchers, I've concluded that virtually all supplements are a waste of money, and that we're much better served meeting our nutritional needs from diet, not pills.

Two supplements, however, have intrigued me: coconut oil and curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, known in India as "the spice of life."

As I reported in yesterday's post, the coconut-oil-for-Alzheimer's theory has been supported only by anecdotes, not clinical trials (although one is now underway). On the other hand, curcumin has been studied at least 5,000 times, more than any supplement. But virtually all those studies have involved mice or petri dishes. A major problem with curcumin for humans is the compound's difficulty in crossing the blood/brain barrier, so it can effectively do its work. Since the turn of the century, over 50 curcumin trials have involved humans and over 80 more are in the works.  Researchers are accelerating  progress oncurcumin and its bioavailabily for humans,.

My curcumin file is filled with reports about its effectiveness to treat almost every disease and illness. I've selected the  videos below from the website, since they provide a good introduction to recent curcumin findings.

The first concerns curcumin and rheumatoid arthritis:

The second deals with curcumin and cancer:

As I mentioned, curcumin's problem until recently has been its "bioavailability" -- that portion of a drug or substance that successfully crosses that blood/brain barrier. This video explains what's happening in that arena:

If you Google "curcumin" and "Parkinson's" -- or any other disease or ailment -- you'll find something relevant.

I reported last year that the curcumin supplement BCM-95 had been rated as particularly effective in offering the greatest bioavailability. But with all the new studies and growing interest in curcumin, it's becoming hard to tell which version of a curcumin supplement scores best on bioavailability. I've seen recent reports that trumpet a new curcumin product, CurcuWIN.

But I won't tout one product over another.

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