What are Curcuminoids?
Curcuminoids are a type of polyphenol, which is a class of compounds that includes many plant-based substances such as flavonoids and tannins. Curcuminoids are found in high concentrations in the spice turmeric, which is why turmeric has long been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine.
There are three main curcuminoids: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Curcumin is the most well-studied of the three and is thought to be responsible for most of turmeric’s health benefits.
Health Benefits of Curcuminoids
1) Curcuminoids Have Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Inflammation is a normal immune response that helps protect the body from infection and injury. However, chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of many diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcuminoids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and are able to reduce inflammation at the molecular level. In fact, curcumin has been shown to be more effective than some anti-inflammatory drugs at reducing inflammation.
2) Curcuminoids May Boost Brain Health
The brain-boosting effects of curcuminoids may be due to their ability to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow to the brain. Curcuminoids have also been shown to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that promotes the growth and development of new neurons.
3) Curcuminoids May Help Prevent and Treat Cancer
Curcuminoids have been shown to kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. They may also help to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting.3
4) Curcuminoids May Improve Heart Health
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of curcuminoids may help to protect the heart from damage and disease. Curcuminoids have been shown to improve blood vessel function, reduce cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure.
5) Curcuminoids May Help Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes memory loss, confusion, and other cognitive problems. Curcuminoids may help to treat Alzheimer’s disease by reducing inflammation and removing amyloid plaques, which are deposits of a protein that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
6) Curcuminoids May Help Ease Arthritis Symptoms
The anti-inflammatory effects of curcuminoids may help to reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Curcuminoids have been shown to be as effective as some arthritis drugs at reducing arthritis symptoms.
7) Curcuminoids May Help Treat Depression
Depression is a common mental disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. Curcuminoids may help to treat depression by increasing levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that plays a role in mood.
8) Curcuminoids May Help Improve Digestion
Turmeric and curcuminoids have long been used to treat digestive problems such as indigestion and diarrhea. Curcuminoids may help improve digestion by stimulating the production of bile, a substance that helps to break down fats.
9) Curcuminoids May Help Reduce the Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. Curcuminoids may help to reduce the risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels.
10) Curcuminoids May Have Other Potential Health Benefits
In addition to the health benefits already mentioned, curcuminoids may also have other potential health benefits such as reducing the risk of cataracts, treating psoriasis, and slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential health benefits.
Side Effects and Safety
Turmeric and curcuminoids are generally safe when taken by mouth in recommended amounts. However, they can cause some side effects such as an upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea.
Curcuminoids may also interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, so it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking them.1
There is no recommended dose of turmeric or curcuminoids. The amount used in studies varies widely, from 1 gram to 3 grams per day. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking turmeric or curcuminoids to ensure safety and proper dosing.1
Turmeric and curcuminoids may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, so it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking them.1
Mechanism of Action
The exact mechanism of action of turmeric and curcuminoids is not fully understood. However, it is thought that their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may contribute to their beneficial effects on health.1
Turmeric and curcuminoids are poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
Alternatives to Curcuminoids
There are many alternatives to turmeric and curcuminoids, such as ginger, boswellia, and devil’s claw. These substances have similar pharmacological effects but differ in their chemical structure.
For example, ginger contains the compound gingerol, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Boswellia is an herb that contains the compound boswellic acid, which has been shown to inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules. Devil’s claw is a plant that contains the compounds harpagoside and procumbide, which have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.