5 Family Benefits of Turmeric

November 16, 2016

in Ask Dr Lisa, Family Health

“Dr. Lisa, I have heard that turmeric is good for many health issues such as inflammation. Is this true,  and what else can my family use it for? ” Kerry, PA

It has been said that turmeric is one of the healthiest herbs due to its amazing ability to prevent and fight diseases. It belongs to the ginger family, and its organic-yellow hue in color gives curry and mustard their bright color. Turmeric has been used in East India and the Middle East for thousands of years, and today is one of the most popular spices in the world.

This amazing yellow ginger-like herb is an excellent source of magnesium, iron fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin C.  There are many reported benefits of turmeric such as relieving joint pain, reversing inflammatory bowel diseases, lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, relieving digestive issues, and even preventing cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Why is Turmeric Such a Healthy Spice?

For starters it contains compounds with medicinal properties called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. It is the main active ingredient in turmeric, known to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In fact there are thousands of studies related to the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin, but let’s look at the top amazing five and how they relate to your family.

Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation occurs in the body as an immediate response to an injury as self- defense (acute inflammation) or as a long term response to a condition (chronic inflammation). Both are the body’s defense system in fighting and protecting the body; however, chronic inflammation is not a good thing as it eventually starts to attack the body itself.

It is known that chronic inflammation plays a major role in many common chronic Western diseases such as thyroid imbalances, heart disease, joint and muscle pain, autoimmune and neurological disorders and cancer.

Turmeric and its wonder ingredient curcumin is actually a bioactive compound that attacks inflammation at the biomolecular cellular level since apparently, inflammation is quite complicated on a cellular level. I will spare you the details, but rest assure that it has been noted to have potent anti-inflammatory fighting power equivalent to medications minus the side effects.

It is common for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders to have inflammation within the body, especially the gut. As a nutritionist I offer a Leaky Gut program in my office where I test for nutritional deficiencies and an imbalanced gut, helping each patient to conquer it. The key here is in understanding that a leaky gut is the body attacking a certain food protein and in doing so, creates an inflammatory immune response within the gut. This chronic condition gives off harmful cytokines ( I call them Pac Mans) that can leak out of the gut and attack different parts of the body such as the brain, skin, thyroid, muscles, joints, and reproductive organs.

This brain gut connection is what many kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders may struggle with. These Pac Mans have been reported to be linked with neurological issues such as anxiety, depression, inability to focus, behavior issues and more. Turmeric is one of my wonderful leaky gut spices we use to help heal digestive issues as well as, decrease the inflammatory storm within the gut.

Start adding a teaspoon to your families’ foods such as cooked veggies, eggs, oatmeal, smoothies, sauces, soups, and stews.  Go to Pinterest for some great ideas too! I love to cook with Simply Organic Turmeric and many of my patients enjoy taking The Synergy Company Turmeric as a supplement.

Detoxifies the Liver

Turmeric and curcumin also help with detoxification of the liver. It is said to increase cellular glutathione levels, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from oxidative stress. Glutathione is produced by the body and found in every cell, which is why it is major important in the role of protecting cells from  oxidative stress which is thought to be involved in the development of ASD, ADHD , depression and many other neurological conditions.

In some children with ASD, glutathione levels can be low which may lead to an inability to detoxify toxins such as mercury and lead.  These toxins adversely affect chemicals in the brain that support attention, focusing, and general awareness. By increasing glutathione levels, curcumin can provide numerous benefits for our kids.

However, please understand that I also offer Vitamin, Mineral and MTHFR testing in my office so allow me to share with you the importance of finding out exactly what nutrients you and your child are deficient in BEFORE taking a supplement. I have many patients with ASD with normal to high levels of glutathione, yet having deficiencies in other nutrients. Therefore, never take a supplement just because there may be a link to ASD without knowing if in fact your child is low in that nutrient. You can learn how to get you MTHFR, glutathione and other nutrients tested here.

Boost Brain Power and Anti-Depressants

This little yellow herb’s super health powers do not stop here. It can help the brain power by rebuilding neurons and improving cognition which are two areas that can be challenging for kids with ASD.

Let’s look at the latest research a little closer.

One recent study showed curcumin’s ability to improve cognition in humans while another demonstrated an amazing ability to grow neurons in rats, yet the mechanism of such effects remains unclear. It may be due to curcumin’s ability to boost levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain according to another study.

The study I found most impressive was published by the Journal of Phytotherapy Research.

According to a blog article by Dr. Axe, “they took 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), such as manic depression, and split the group to determine how patients treated by curcumin fared against fluoxetine (Prozac) and a combination of the two. Not only was it discovered that all patients tolerated curcumin well, but they discovered curcumin was as effective as Prozac in managing depression. According to the authors, “This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe therapy for treatment in patients with Mild Depression.” (https://draxe.com/turmeric-benefits/)

There is no doubt that the brain is positively responding to turmeric and curcumin which is great news for our families that need natural brain boosting ideas. 

That is why turmeric and curcumin is a safe yellow bet.

Alleviates Chronic Arthritic Pain

Turmeric and curcumin does wonders for my patients in my office with chronic pain, especially joint and bone pain. Arthritis and its many forms is an inflammatory condition of the joints. Some conditions are due to degeneration of the bones and joints and others are autoimmune conditions where the body attacks its very own bones and joints. No matter what type of arthritis, inflammation occurs and creates pain. Amazingly, turmeric and curcumin’s super anti-inflammatory properties helps relieve chronic arthritic pain.

There are many studies linking the benefits of this wonderful yellow spice to alleviating arthritic pain demonstrating their superiority over common medications. One particular study was performed to test the efficiency and safety of curcumin in patients with rheumatoid arthritis stating the following:

“More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events. Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22407780)

I see such amazing results in my office daily with chronic back, neck, knee and shoulder pain patients; when they supplement with turmeric their chronic pain is alleviated and/or reduced tremendously. A favorite turmeric supplement of my patients enjoy taking The Synergy Company Turmeric.

Prevents Cancer

There are an abundant amount of studies on the role of curcumin and cancer prevention due to its super anti-cancer properties. One of the curcumin’s most intriguing therapeutic effects is its ability to inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Curcumin was studied against breast cancer which noted that curcumin may be able to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells on a molecular level.

Studies have also demonstrated curcumin’s ability to reduce the growth of new blood vessels in tumors and the spread of cancer. There are studies that also show that curcumin can prevent cancer cells from growing in areas such as the breast and colon, stopping them before they even begin to proliferate.

Increasing plant based foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans and organic tofu are super healthy ways to prevent cancer. Add in turmeric to your family meals and snacks too. Cancer does not care if you are young or old, so you are never too young to take preventive measures towards healthy meals. This starts with parents making sure their children are eating real whole foods and avoiding man-made chemical laden foods. It also means learning how to get your family involved in exploring fruits and veggies, finding healthy recipes, cooking and trying new foods. I love to cook with Simply Organic Turmeric and many of my patients enjoy taking The Synergy Company Turmeric as a supplement.

Turmeric is a powerful little yellow spice that will benefit the whole family. Give it a try.

*Always read my disclaimer and photo credits are given to Sommai. This page contains affiliate links meaning we earn a commission if you use those links. We only recommend brands we use and trust.

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