Does turmeric’s reputation translate into real health benefits?
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Curcumin, a distinctive yellow-orange chemical extracted from the rhizomes of turmeric, may help fight osteoarthritis and other diseases.
Curcumin is increasingly being added to cosmetic products that claim to help treat acne and eczema, prevent dry skin, and even slow down the ageing process. Other health claims include relieving allergies, preventing cancer, and improving heart health.
However, the proportion of curcumin in turmeric is just 3% by weight, and doses of curcumin needed to give health benefits are very high.
Studies found that curcumin could inhibit angiogenesis, which all tumours need to sustain themselves.
However, curcumin has poor bioavailability, making it nearly impossible to get sufficiently high concentrations of curcumin into the blood through oral supplementation alone.
Research shows that combining curcumin with piperine - a compound found in black pepper - can enhance its absorption into the blood. However, piperine inhibits a variety of enzymes that aid in metabolising drugs. Although there is evidence of the benefits of curcumin, further research is necessary.
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