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What's the deal with turmeric?

It sounds like everybody is taking turmeric these days...but what is it? What can it really do and is it good for you? These were some of the questions I had when I got an article to read about a study of 40 participants and the benefits of turmeric in Alzheimer's disease patients (saying that it may have some therapeutic benefits in Alzheimer's disease).

It has been used in India and southeast Asia for many of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. But as I read more about this spice, it's really Curcumin (only 3% is found in turmeric) that has the benefits...but how real are these benefits?

The problem is that curcumin is not absorbed easily by the body, which means that a very small amount is actually taken up by the body when we add turmeric to our foods and drinks.

Some of the potential (can't stress this enough, more research is needed) benefits:

  1. Depression: eases depression and in some studies show that anti-depressants may work better

  2. eases symptoms of osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis

  3. could in some cases, stabilize colorectal cancer, and may protect against colitis and stomach ulcers

  4. help with high cholesterol - can lower LDL (the bad cholesterol)

  5. treat upset stomach and PMS symptoms (in guinea pigs and rats)

  6. diabetes

  7. viral infections - might help fight off infections with tea but absorption is poor

Side effects...although generally safe it can cause:

  1. nausea and diarrhea

  2. ulcers if taken in high doses

  3. skin irritation if used as a topical treatment

  4. if pregnant, don't use turmeric

  5. can increase bleeding, specially if taking blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder

  6. it also interacts with many medications, like aspirin, NSAID painkillers, statins, diabetic drugs, blood pressure medicine, and blood thinners

Everything I was able to find about it just had small studies to back it up. Which pretty much means: more research is needed! I wouldn't run to the nearest fresh market to buy lots of this stuff. I would wait to get on the bandwagon for this...hey there is still that social media bandwagon...get on that one before jumping on this one.



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