This article is by our very own Dr. Mitch Ghen D.O. Ph.D. of IVRx.
I’m often asked what are the pillars of every single nutritional program. I typically answer that a good multiple vitamin, vitamin D, a probiotic, essential fatty acid, and coenzyme Q 10 occupy that space. However, I believe that the addition of curcumin is as if not more important than the others above. As a matter of fact if someone would ask me the question that I would be stranded somewhere for a year or more and I only had one item as far as health to take with me certainly it would be an ample quantity of curcumin.
Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory molecule of turmeric root and it is a relative to the well-known herb ginger. It is been used for thousands of years for medicinal use. It is isolated from the yellow pigment turmeric and its structure is similar to other plant pigments especially like grapes, green tea etc. all of these chemicals are polyphenols and are antioxidants.
By definition, turmeric has 5 to 10% of curcumin. In India, the average individual eats approximately 125 mg per day, which may explain their lower incidence of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and prostate cancer. Even then national Institute of health has found curcumin to be a potent anti-carcinogen. Interestingly enough curcumin has been found to inhibit fat tissue growth, making it part of the arsenal in a weight reduction program. For those of us that work out hard and get a lot of muscle soreness, several studies have also shown that this herb will reduce the post-exercise fatigue and muscle soreness.
For patients with arthritis, curcumin has been pitted against nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories with extreme success. One study showed just 200 mg of the herb after eight months decreased muscle stiffness pain and are much more tolerable with much fewer side effects than the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory counterparts. Although you may not have cancer, for sure your interest in preventing one should bring you again to this nutrient. Prostate and breast cancer has been shown to be caused by the ongoing inflammation, and using curcumin can prevent these cancers to a large degree. Another study demonstrated both stroke and traumatic brain injury can cause significant behavioral and memory deficits; ongoing use of curcumin can reduce them significantly.
Recently I did an online webinar for physicians on how to “pre” and “post” treat patients undergoing conventional treatment for hepatitis C. I explained that the use of curcumin can help liver damage that is related not only to the inflammatory component of this disease but also in patients that have fatty liver infiltrates, and liver damage from type two diabetes. And for the common tendinitis, in which the inflammation, pain, and stiffness can sometimes last for several months, the herb can play a significant role in the reduction of pain and speeding up the healing process.
Because Parkinson’s is a disease of increased toxins in the brain, curcumin is a perfect addition to whatever protocol of medication the patient is currently taking. State university of Michigan noted that this product prevents the clumping of proteins that occur in Parkinson’s. In Japan, a university found that the curcumin can improve blood flow and the endothelial function of the artery. This means that blood pressure lowered and the possibility of heart disease was reduced in general. Korean researchers also found that curcumin after eight weeks can lower the blood lipids. University of California researchers demonstrated that this herb reduces anxiety especially if it’s used concurrently with an essential fatty acid. Swinburne University in Australia studied 60 women and men ages 62 to 85 and the subjects received either 400 mg of Curcumin or a placebo for four weeks. Those taking the curcumin had decreased fatigue and improved cognition. A quick search on Pub Med database can demonstrate more than 8000 articles that have been written on the subject.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties it can also rid the body of toxins. It can grab lead out of your system and several other toxic metals. The national toxicology program demonstrated that curcumin is safe. In animals, it is been found that even small doses .6 µmol is sufficient to reduce amyloid, one of the proteins that initiate Alzheimer’s disease.
The absorbency for most curcumin currently on the market is not that good, therefore it has a very low capability of getting into the brain. The little bit that does get into the system does not stay for long periods of time meaning that it has a very short half-life in the body in general. Previous investigations have suggested that taking curcumin with a fatty meal and adding black pepper increases its absorbency. New formulations that will be discussed shortly have a different approach.
What curcumin can do that other anti-inflammatories can’t, is to interfere with the inflammatory cycle in many areas. This means, that even at the beginning transcription level of inflammation which includes nuclear factor Kappa Beta, curcumin can stop and prevent the initiation but also the propagation of inflammation.
With all of curcumin’s potential, a formulation that allowed it to be bioavailable, could penetrate the blood-brain barrier and stay in the bloodstream at a high concentration would mean that we had an integral part of our daily program let alone an important substance to mitigate many of our chronic diseases. Fortunately scientists in California have developed such a formulation which I have currently have made by a manufacturer specifically for my patients. It is about 65 times of the strength of the other products on the market making a 200 mg capsule equal to 13,000 mg of other brands.
In summary, curcumin holds all of the following promises and properties. First, it is one of the most potent anti-inflammatories with almost no side effects. It is an antioxidant. It exhibits chelation of heavy metals and toxins while holding the capability to be anti-cancer, antiarthritic, antiparkinson, anti-angiogenesis meaning inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels. This is not only important to stop cancer growth it also helps to decrease fat, which makes it a perfect addition to any obesity program. Also noted is its importance and capability to decrease muscle soreness, decrease Alzheimer’s risk, aid recovery for patients that have had a traumatic brain injury, increase one’s cognition abilities, and improve the lining of the arteries. One more thing, it has been shown that curcumin can prevent colon cancer metastasis because It turns on an enzyme which stops metastasis.
Basically, it makes sense that every individual that wants to remain healthy or regain their health to take a dose twice a day of the biologically active curcumin, found in the Dr.Mitch’s brand.
To learn more about anti-inflammatory supplements and how to reduce inflammation visit our IVRx clinic.