While the words “curcumin” and “turmeric” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Curcumin is a compound that comes from turmeric (Curcuma longa) and is considered the main driver behind the herb’s benefits.
Research Shows Impressive Results
Curcumin has been proven to be a strong anti-inflammatory and protective antioxidant in numerous scientific and clinical studies, so it has a wide spectrum of applications.
For example, clinical studies have found that curcumin matches, and sometimes exceeds, the symptom relief of prescription and over-the-counter drugs for people with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
One clinical study divided rheumatoid arthritis patients into three groups to test curcumin’s effectiveness: one group took curcumin, another the pain-relieving drug diclofenac sodium, and a third, a combination of the two. The best results for reduced pain and joint swelling—surprising even to the researchers—was seen in the curcumin-only group, with the combination of curcumin and diclofenac sodium not far behind. The drug-only group didn’t fare as well, and 14 percent of the participants dropped out because of adverse effects.
An osteoarthritis study found similar results when it compared this same curcumin to diclofenac sodium, as well. In this case, the curcumin equaled the pain and symptom relief of the drug, but without causing the gastric side effects of the medication.
Scientific researchers using a model of Alzheimer’s disease reported that curcumin was able to restore the function to brain cells, opening up new possibilities for battling cognitive decline.
Clinical work with individuals suffering from major depressive disorder found that curcumin was virtually equivalent to the drug fluoxetine, seeing only a slight difference with scores of 62.5 percent and 64.7 percent, respectively. Combining the two worked the best, but it is interesting to note that curcumin was as effective as the drug when used on its own.
Curcumin also relieves symptoms for those undergoing cancer treatments. In one clinical study, patients with mucositis due to chemotherapy saw positive changes in just 15 days. In another, curcumin improved remission rates of myeloma by 75 percent compared to 33 percent of those in the placebo group. Additionally, scientific work has found that curcumin makes cancer cells more sensitive to conventional chemotherapy drugs, potentially further reducing their dosage levels and side effects.
Curcumin has been studied for its effects on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and blood sugar levels, and metabolic syndrome, as well, which are just a few of the other conditions it can address.
Choose Your Curcumin Wisely
If you’re looking for strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cell-protecting actions from curcumin, it pays to choose a bioavailable form that absorbs consistently.
The supplemental curcumin used in the studies cited above combines curcumin extract with turmeric essential oil (BCM-95), making it seven times better absorbed than plain standardized extracts. It was chosen by researchers in more than 85 published studies (and counting) because it has been proven effective. For your own daily use, consider this form of curcumin to help you get the highest potential from this clinically proven compound.