The lowdown on Turmeric (it’s not just about joint support)

The lowdown on Turmeric (it’s not just about joint support)

Why does Turmeric extract (curcumin) keep showing up in joint support products?

If you’ve browsed the joint support section of your local pharmacy or health store shelves lately, you might have noticed an unfamiliar ingredient showing up.

Alongside products with the usual glucosamine and chondroitin formulations, you’ve probably seen a few with turmeric extract (AKA “curcumin”) in them.

But what, exactly, is curcumin? Why is it in those joint support products? And what else is it good for?

If you’ve found yourself getting curious, this article should answer your questions.

Turmeric: Nature’s source of curcumin

You probably already know turmeric as the golden yellow spice that plays a fundamental role in Indian, North African and Middle Eastern cooking.  It’s one of the core ingredients in curry powder; and its warm, slightly bitter taste and deep yellow colour are instantly recognisable in any food it’s added to.

Turmeric spice is the dried, powdered rhizome (underground stem) of the turmeric plant.  And while you might be familiar with its culinary uses, you might not realise that traditional herbalists have been using turmeric in other ways for over 4,500 years. 

Today, modern science has identified over 100 different compounds in turmeric – and of these, one of the most interesting is curcumin. This powerful antioxidant compound appears to be behind many of turmeric’s benefits in supporting health and wellbeing.

What does turmeric do outside of the kitchen?

Something like 3,000 studies have been carried out investigating the benefits of turmeric and its extract, curcumin.  Some of the most promising research has suggested that curcumin:

Supports digestion and intestinal health: it may help to maintain digestive system comfort, normal appetite levels, and healthy digestive enzyme production.

Assists healthy cholesterol balance: curcumin appears to support heart and circulatory system health by assisting your body with processing cholesterol normally.

Helps to maintain brain health and mood balance: there’s evidence that curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier, and that it may support your body in producing important neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) like dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline.

Supports joint health and comfort: some of the most powerful of curcumin’s effects seem to relate to maintaining healthy, mobile, flexible joints.

And of course, it’s the latter research that’s led to curcumin being included in so many joint health formulations.

Are all curcumins the same?

While curcumin is probably the most interesting of all the compounds in turmeric, it’s not the most common. Dried, powdered turmeric spice contains somewhere between 2-5% curcumin – so you’d have to eat a lot of it to get any benefit.

Additionally, normal curcumin isn’t that easy for your body to absorb from your digestive tract. However, there’s a patented curcumin formulation called Meriva® that’s very different. 

Meriva® is created by binding the curcumin to plant compounds called phytosomes. These phytosomes assist with curcumin absorption: resulting in it being up to 29 times more available within your body.

You can find Meriva® in Nutra-Life Turmeric Meriva® Curcumin 550. Just ask your pharmacist or health store professional for it if you can’t immediately see it on the shelves!

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