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Debunking Myths: The Real Effects of Turmeric (Curcumin) With Bioperine on Your Health

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Few other herbs can match turmeric's long, impressive history. Turmeric root has been a spice widely used in food, spiritual practice, and medicine for over four thousand years. When you cook with it, this golden yellow herb gives food an earthy flavor with hints of pepper and ginger. As a dietary supplement, it's often formulated as curcumin, turmeric's most important natural antioxidant compound and one of the most well-respected plant-based antioxidants.

Because of this botanical's potent influence on health and support of a healthy immune system, researchers have published more than 3,000 studies on its medicinal benefits. And there's plenty more research going on right now!

Turmeric also contains vitamins C and B6. Plus, it offers a wealth of omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, iron, and potassium. (1)

BioPerine, a patented black pepper extract, is sometimes added to turmeric (curcumin) supplements -- and for good reason. The combination of a curcumin supplement with a black pepper extract offers several significant advantages: It boosts the absorption and effectiveness of curcumin, may help support better brain function, may help improve the regulation of blood sugar, and may lower inflammation even more effectively than curcumin by itself. (2)

Key Takeaways

Turmeric and its natural compound, curcumin, are champs at damping down chronic inflammation and potentially easing the symptoms of health problems marked by inflammation.

Turmeric (curcumin) with black pepper extract (BioPerine), is absorbed better than ordinary turmeric (curcumin) alone.

Both of these herbal extracts—curcumin and BioPerine—possess a long list of benefits. Research shows that curcumin may help relieve chronic pain and support better heart health by modulating inflammation.

If you're overweight, curcumin with BioPerine can help reduce the inflammation accompanying abdominal fat and support better well-being. That, in turn, may improve your blood sugar control and ease the aches and pains your body may be prone to from carrying around excess weight. Along with that, it offers help with better joint support. (3)

Turmeric: An Ancient Remedy

Turmeric is a spice from the Curcuma longa root. The Curcuma longa plant is a member of the ginger family and is among the most ancient spices originating in Southeast Asia. It plays a crucial role in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Ancient Sanskrit medical texts describe how to use it as an antidote to certain poisons. More than 700 years ago, Marco Polo, the European explorer who ventured into Asia, raved about its use in cooking.

According to the Ayurveda medical system, turmeric root can help boost the body's overall energy, improve digestion, regulate menstruation, and ease joint pain. (4)

An important link between the traditional use of turmeric as a medicine and the modern research that shows how it affects the body is its influence in ensuring that your immune system has a healthy inflammatory response. Ayurvedic practitioners have long used turmeric to help people who suffer from joint pain that stems from problems caused by inflammatory immune cells. Today, researchers are looking into how it may be used to deal with joint pain from overuse or how it might help improve mood, support healthy blood sugar and digestion. One researcher has concluded that to reduce aches and pains, taking a turmeric extract three times a day offers pain relief that's better than other popular choices from the drugstore. (5)

Curcumin: The Active Ingredient In Turmeric

Curcumin is the natural compound in turmeric that gives this spice its yellow color. Technically, curcumin is classified as a polyphenol—a group of natural antioxidants that plants use to fend off infections, discourage insects from eating them, regulate their hormones, act as botanical sunscreen to prevent sun damage and support other functions.

For humans, curcumin conveys a remarkable list of positive health benefits. Clinical studies have shown that curcumin can rein in inflammation, support better joint health, promote digestive health, help with the bothersome aches of chronic pain, and may assist in relieving stress and anxiety.

As an antioxidant, it helps defuse free radicals' destructive power, which would otherwise damage cellular health. Curcumin also boosts the activity of the body's antioxidant enzymes, unleashing natural chemicals that protect against oxidative stress.

The Health Benefits Of Curcumin

Inflammation Fighter

Researchers have discovered that many of the anti-inflammatory properties of the curcumin complex are linked to its effects on immune cells called TH17. TH17 cells play a central role in recruiting other immune cells to take part in ramping up inflammation. If you've been exposed to microbes that cause disease, TH17's clarion call for immune cells to battle pathogens helps you avoid illness. However, when too many TH17 cells set off false alarms that inflame an immune response to a non-existent threat, the summoned immune cells can damage healthy organs and create chronic inflammation and persistent pain. (6)

That's where curcumin comes in. Curcumin can hold back the production of too many TH17 cells, tone down the release of inflammatory alarm signals by TH17 cells, and reduce the creation of cytokines, substances in the body that can increase the chances of excess inflammation.

Another meaningful way that curcumin may help to block inflammation is in its interaction with one of the body's enzymes known as Cox2. The body grows its levels of Cox2 as inflammation ramps up. What's more, environmental toxins like the chemicals in cigarette smoke stimulate the production of this enzyme. When Cox2 circulates in the body, it can inflame arteries and negatively impact heart health. However, researchers have uncovered evidence that curcumin blocks Cox2 and thereby lowers inflammation. Scientists believe this effect may be one way curcumin promotes better vascular health. (7)

Additionally, curcumin has been shown to encourage the production of Treg cells, which are anti-inflammatory cells. They help keep the immune system in check and functioning normally to avoid overactivity and excessive inflammation.

All in all, curcumin helps the immune system maintain a healthy inflammatory response -- a crucial benefit in a world with a great increase in autoimmune problems. Curcumin doesn't get in the way if the immune system needs to ramp up inflammation when it's necessary to fend off attacks and repair the body. But, at the same time, curcumin helps keep inflammation in check when unnecessary. (8)

Heart Helper

Curcumin can play an essential supportive role in heart health. Studies show it can improve the way the endothelium, the muscle tissue that lines blood vessels, relaxes and eases blood flow. Allowing those blood vessels to dilate and open fully reduces how hard the heart has to work to keep your blood moving. That can also help to keep blood pressure down. (9)

Experts believe curcumin's ability to tamp down inflammation makes it a potent compound for interrupting the processes leading to health conditions like heart disease. (10) Researchers in Germany have demonstrated that curcumin's potential ability to protect mitochondria (the energy-producing structures in cells) from oxidative stress means it could support better heart muscle function. (11)

Brain Booster

Research that looks at how curcumin might help the brain has produced promising results. For instance, a study at UCLA that included people aged 51 to 84 who were suffering from mild memory problems indicated that when they took curcumin twice a day for a year and a half, their scores on memory tests climbed by 28 percent. (12) The UCLA scientists say the fact that this turmeric extract is anti-inflammatory contributes to its benefits.

The California researchers additionally note that their brain scans of people in the study taking curcumin dietary supplements show that curcumin improved function in the amygdala. This brain area processes memories, makes decisions, and forms emotional responses. (13)

In addition, other research indicates that curcumin can help protect the brain by increasing the amount of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that circulates in brain tissue. When the supply of BDNF slips, your memory, ability to learn new things, and overall cognitive function may slide. Various studies now show that taking a curcumin supplement for two months or more is linked to increased brain BDNF. (14) Curcumin is likely to become a popular nootropic in the neurohacking movement to improve memory and focus in people of all ages.

As a bonus, some of the most recent research shows that curcumin may help brain function by interacting with probiotic (good) bacteria to improve digestive health. Lab tests at Oklahoma State University indicate that curcumin encourages the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines that help reduce inflammation -- inflammation that may affect the brain. They also point out that curcumin may help boost the growth of certain species of good bacteria in the digestive tract, which is linked to better memory. (15)

Help for Digestive Health and an Upset Stomach

Suppose you frequently experience an upset stomach, digestive gas, heartburn, feeling overly stuffed, or nausea after eating (an annoying nuisance for those of us who eat on the run!). In that case, curcumin may be able to help.

Research in Asia showed that taking 500mg of curcumin four times daily offered significant symptom relief for digestive discomfort after four weeks. And the study showed that the reductions in indigestion pain were even more significant after eight weeks. (16)

Curcumin also promotes the release of bile from the gall bladder -- which is also believed to promote better digestion. (17)

Longevity Promoter

A growing amount of research now shows that curcumin can promote longevity and slow the processes that lead to the ills of aging. One of its positive effects on the aging process involves supporting the body's efforts at eliminating senescent cells that have stopped functioning correctly. When a cell is damaged and no longer performing the functions of a healthy cell, the body tries to break it down and eliminate it quickly. But this process slows and can become dysfunctional as we grow older. That slowdown and the subsequent buildup in the accumulation of senescent cells can lead to what is now called "inflammaging," an increase in inflammation that can make you age faster.

However, studies show that curcumin bolsters the body's efforts to eliminate these problem cells. Researchers say their lab tests show those anti-senescent benefits may support better memory in older people and help promote better heart health with the passing years. (18)

Improves Mood

If you're feeling anxious, stressed or just plain down in the dumps, studies have shown that curcumin may help improve your mood. Lab tests indicate this extract from the turmeric root can help the brain balance serotonin and dopamine transmissions and alleviate some of the emotional toll of chronic stress. (19)

Incorporating Turmeric into Your Diet

It's fairly easy to get turmeric into your meals and drinks. Simply sprinkle ground turmeric over salads or add it to soups, teas, or even coffee. Some folks like it on their rice or mashed potatoes. Putting a bit on scrambled eggs is also popular.

Of course, if you want to maximize the health benefits of curcumin then a supplement is in order.

Taking Turmeric (Curcumin) Supplements

Turmeric (Curcumin) with BioPerine

Taking turmeric (curcumin) with a black pepper extract such as BioPerine as part of your dietary supplement regimen offers several advantages over regular turmeric capsules alone. For one thing, studies suggest that curcumin with a black pepper extract may be even more potent at relieving inflammation than either of these active ingredients taken separately.

That's because adding Bioperine black pepper extract enhances nutrient absorption when it's consumed alongside standardized curcuminoids. The research shows that BioPerine black pepper extract may increase the blood supply to your digestive system to improve curcumin absorption, as well as increase the transport of nutrients like curcumin by positively affecting enzymes in your digestive system.

That extra absorption from this type of trusted formula may increase the herbs' positive effects. And the extra amount you absorb provides you with, in effect, extra strength turmeric. Another option is a curcumin complex like Curcumin C3 complex.

Why a Curcumin Complex is Important

When picking out a curcumin supplement, finding one whose curcumin is standardized to 95 percent curcuminoids is useful. Choosing a standardized curcuminoid supplement means it has been encapsulated in a way that boosts the bioavailability of curcuminoids in the body for maximum health effects.

Curcuminoids are a group of bioactive compounds found in the turmeric plant. They include curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin and can increase the absorption of curcumin and add additional health benefits. Studies show the curcumin is more soluble because of bisdemethoxycurcumin and is more absorbable in the gastrointestinal tract. The three together are more efficient to protect from oxidative stress than curcumin alone.

The best curcumin complex is Curcumin C3 Complex, the foremost clinically-­studied natural anti-­inflammatory and antioxidant available. In fact, it's the gold standard for turmeric extracts. That's why Green Valley Naturals uses Curcumin C3 Complex in its Triple Joint Relief supplement to fight inflammation for healthy joints.

Side Effects and Contraindications

There are a few caveats about taking curcumin. If you're taking medication, you should talk to your healthcare provider to ensure that curcumin doesn't interact with it. For instance, curcumin can interfere with the pain-killing effects of acetaminophen, aspirin, indomethacin, and ibuprofen. (20)

If you are on chemotherapy for cancer, consult your healthcare practitioner before taking curcumin. If you are taking medication like an immunosuppressive drug or a blood thinner, you should also talk to your healthcare provider first before taking an herbal supplement.

Summary

Turmeric delivers important health benefits as a potent antioxidant and effective anti-inflammatory. Curcumin, its most important active ingredient, and most potent compound has been shown in research to deliver support for better heart health, brain function, and mood, as well as promote longevity and healthy aging.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to take turmeric every day?

It is safe to take turmeric (curcumin) every day. Just make sure you do not take more than the manufacturer suggests on the label.

Who should not take turmeric?

If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, as a protection against possible reproductive harm, you should not take curcumin or turmeric supplements without talking to your healthcare provider. Also, adverse reactions may occur if you have gallstones or an obstruction of a bile duct. In that case, you should probably not take turmeric or curcumin with bioperine.

What else is helpful to include with curcumin?

Another active ingredient that may be included with curcumin is Tamarindus indica. This plant is a potent compound in its own right that helps to control inflammation.

Drinking green tea may also be beneficial when you take curcumin. Lab tests show that this combination may help your brain function better as you age (21). Plus, consuming healthy fats such as olive oil with your food may help you better absorb curcumin and other ingredients from turmeric supplements.

What are the side effects of taking turmeric every day?

Studies suggest that turmeric (curcumin) is safe to take every day. However, if you lean toward taking higher doses, you might have little nausea, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or dizziness. (22)

Is it okay to take turmeric with blood pressure medications?

If you are taking medication for your blood pressure, consult your healthcare provider before taking turmeric curcumin with bioperine. In some cases, it can interact with the effects of taking medication and increase the side effects of your prescription. (23)

  1. (1) Morgan RG et al. "Turmeric (curcumin)" WebMD
  2. (2) Ajmera, R. "5 Emerging Benefits of BioPerine and Piperine Supplements" Healthline
  3. (3) Panknin TM, et al. "Curcumin Supplementation and Human Disease: A Scoping Review of Clinical Trials" Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Mar; 24(5): 4476.
  4. (4) Prasad S, et al. "Turmeric the Golden Spice" Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. NCBI
  5. (5) Torborg L, "Mayo Clinic Q and A: Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may relieve arthritis pain" Mayo Clinic
  6. (6) Ghoushi E, et al. "Curcumin as a regulator of Th17 cells: Unveiling the mechanisms". Food Chem (Oxf). 2024 Jul 30; 8: 100198.
  7. (7) Lee SE, et al. "Curcumin Attenuates Acrolein-induced COX-2 Expression and Prostaglandin Production in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells" J Lipid Atheroscler. 2020 Jan;9(1):184-194. e-jla
  8. (8) Gunnars K. "10 Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin" Healthline
  9. (9) Cleveland Clinic, "7 Health Benefits of Turmeric" Cleveland Clinic
  10. (10) Cox FF, et al. "Protective Effects of Curcumin in Cardiovascular Diseases—Impact on Oxidative Stress and Mitochondria" Cells. 2022 Feb; 11(3): 342.
  11. (11) Whiteman, H. "Turmeric compound could boost memory and mood" Medical News Today. Medical News Today
  12. (12) Sarraff P, et al. "Short-term curcumin supplementation enhances serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor in adult men and women: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials" Nutr Res 2019 Sep:69:1-8. PubMed
  13. (13) Small GW, et al. "Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial" The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Volume 26, Issue 3, March 2018, Pages 266-277.
  14. (14) Lanuchhane G, et al "Curcumin Mitigates the High-Fat High-Sugar Diet-Induced Impairment of Spatial Memory, Hepatic Metabolism, and the Alteration of the Gut Microbiome in Alzheimer’s Disease-Induced (3xTg-AD) Mice" Nutrients. 2024 Jan; 16(2): 240.
  15. (15) Kongkam P, et al. "Curcumin and proton pump inhibitors for functional dyspepsia: a randomised, double blind controlled trial" BMJ Evid Based Med. 2023 Nov 22;28(6):399-406. PubMed
  16. (16) Mount Sinai, "Turmeric" Mount Sinai
  17. (17) Bahrami A, et al. "Effects of Curcumin on Aging: Molecular Mechanisms and Experimental Evidence" Biomed Res Int. 2021; 2021: 8972074.
  18. (18) Komakech R, et al. "Anti-inflammatory and analgesic potential of Tamarindus indica Linn. (Fabaceae): a narrative review" Integr Med Res.2019 Sep;8(3):181-186. PubMed
  19. (19) Ramaholimihaso T. et al. "Curcumin in Depression: Potential Mechanisms of Action and Current Evidence—A Narrative Review" Front Psychiatry. 2020; 11: 572533.
  20. (20) Brown, M-E,"Turmeric Benefits" Hopkins Medicine. Hopkins Medicine
  21. (21) Leonard J, "Is turmeric safe during pregnancy?" Medical News Today. Medical News Today
  22. (22) Rahman A. et al. "Combination of epigallocatechin 3 gallate and curcumin improves d-galactose and normal-aging associated memory impairment in mice" Sci Rep. 2023; 13: 12681.
  23. (23) WebMD, "Turmeric - Uses, Side Effects, and More" WebMD
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