Curcumin has also been found to help boost heart health, with one study even claiming that curcumin was just as effective for heart health as an exercise in post-menopausal women. Another study focusing on 121 people undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery found that the group that consumed curcumin in the days leading up to the surgery and a few days after experienced a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital in comparison to the placebo group.
Cancer Treatment and Prevention - The effects of turmeric and curcumin on cancer are two-fold: prevention of cancer and the treatment of existing cancer cells. Due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of turmeric and curcumin, the spice is claimed to help prevent the development of certain cancers, especially cancers in the digestive system. As a treatment, studies have found that curcumin can impact the way cancer cells grow and develop. Some studies have found that curcumin may help:
- contribute to the death of cancerous cells
- reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors)
- reduce the metastasis (spread of cancer)
Of course, turmeric should never be used in lieu of medical and pharmaceutical-grade cancer treatments. It should instead be viewed as a complementary supplement to aid the body in fighting cancer. Always follow medical advice from doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Treating Arthritis - Most types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, are caused by inflammation in the joints, which leads to intense joint pain and discomfort. With the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, it would make sense that turmeric may help relieve some of the inflammation that is causing the joint pain associated with arthritis. One study even found that curcumin was more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug in those with rheumatoid arthritis. Other studies have found that curcumin could help improve other symptoms of arthritis including swelling.
Mental Health - Remember when I mentioned those claims of turmeric shots helping to improve mood? They may have been on to something! In a small study, three groups of people were given either the anti-depressant drug Prozac, 1 gram of curcumin, or a combination of both. After 6 weeks, it was found that the effects of the curcumin closely resembled the effects of the Prozac, while the group that took both showed the most improvement in mood and symptoms of depression. There is also some evidence that curcumin could help boost serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, but further research is needed.