Curcumin is the active ingredient in the turmeric spice which gives it its orange-yellow color. Soothing and antioxidant, curcumin has numerous benefits for health and sport. Nutrimuscle tells you everything there is to know about curcumin.
- What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
- What is curcumin?
- When to take curcumin?
- What are the benefits of curcumin for health and sport?
- Adverse effects and overdoses
What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
Turmeric is often discussed in the culinary and medicinal world, but it is essential to differentiate turmeric from curcumin to fully understand their respective benefits. Originally from the ginger family, turmeric is a plant with orange roots used both in cooking and medicine. It is in particular this root which gives its characteristic yellow color to culinary preparations such as curry. But beyond its food use, turmeric is rich in chemical compounds, curcuminoids.
Curcumin stands out as the main curcuminoid in turmeric. It is the pillar of the biological properties of this spice, particularly for its recognized anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. If curcumin is at the heart of scientific studies for its multiple health benefits, it should be noted that it only represents 2 to 5% of the composition of turmeric. A challenge persists regarding the low bioavailability of curcumin: it is difficult to absorb by our body.
Turmeric therefore refers to the plant as a whole, while curcumin is the major active compound.
What is curcumin?
Turmeric is a spice renowned for its many benefits, mainly due to the curcuminoids it contains. One of the most notable of these curcuminoids is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and a valuable ally, especially for athletes.
However, it is essential to note that curcumin is present in limited quantities in turmeric. In addition, its fat-soluble nature means that it is poorly absorbed by the intestinal walls. To improve this absorption, it is recommended to combine it with a source of lipids.
In the northern part of the island of Okinawa, a place that is both rural and wild, a unique variety of turmeric is found. This Okinawan turmeric, or "ukon", benefits from soil rich in minerals, mainly coral, and a hot and humid climate. Each ukon root is the result of hybridizations specific to this region, offering a turmeric extract distinct from that commonly found on the market.
Recognized in Japan, Okinawan turmeric extract is appreciated for its detoxifying properties, particularly for the liver and digestive system. It differs from Indian turmeric, which is more common on the market. In our approach, we favor quality over quantity, choosing rare sources and ensuring an optimal dosage to guarantee the benefits without the risks associated with excessive consumption.
When to take curcumin?
Curcumin, the main active component of turmeric, is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Thus, taking it can prove beneficial at various times, depending on the specific needs of each person. If you are considering incorporating it into your daily routine, it is essential to determine the optimal time to consume it.
For inflammation: If you experience joint or muscle pain due to inflammation, taking curcumin in the morning can help reduce these symptoms throughout the day.
Before or after exercise: For those who are physically active, consuming curcumin before a workout can prevent muscle soreness, while taking it post-workout aids recovery.
With meals: It is often recommended to take curcumin with a meal because it is fat soluble. Therefore, consuming it with a source of lipids, such as olive oil, can improve its absorption.
For prevention: If your goal is to benefit from its antioxidant properties to fight premature aging, taking it daily, at any time of the day, would be ideal.
What are the benefits of curcumin for health and sport?
This molecule, found naturally in turmeric, can play a significant role in promoting overall health and, surprisingly for some, in optimizing athletic performance. So, what are the real benefits of turmeric for our well-being and our physical activities?
Reduced risk of blood clots:
Curcumin is an anti-coagulant and reduces the risk of blood clots. Curcumin thins the blood by inhibiting platelet aggregations, in other words the clumped cells that form the clot. Curcumin could be a valuable ally in fighting diseases such as diabetes or certain cancers.
Detoxification of the body:
Studies have shown the effectiveness of curcumin against fat cells, thereby reducing the risk of obesity. Its anti-inflammatory action allows it to protect the intestinal flora and promotes the digestion of lipids. People suffering from digestive diseases like Crohn's disease can improve their gut microbiota by supplementing with curcumin.
The action of curcumin in the intestines also regulates blood pressure by lowering it.
Improves muscle recovery:
Curcumin, being an anti-inflammatory, helps reduce muscle aches and improve muscle recovery. It inhibits enzymes and signaling pathways associated with inflammation and blocks the synthesis of cytokines responsible for symptoms.
Studies have shown that curcumin decreases markers of oxidative stress. Combined with ornithine, it prevents the accumulation of ammonia in the body and reduces fatigue. It therefore helps improve muscular performance while optimizing recovery.
Reduces joint discomfort:
Several studies have shown a link between the absorption of curcumin and the reduction of joint pain in seniors and athletes. In cases of osteoarthritis, the properties of curcumin can soothe pain. Indeed, it has a chondroprotective effect: it protects the cartilage layer at the joints. Cartilage health is important because it protects chondrocytes. The absence of these leads to inflammation and therefore pain.
At Nutrimuscle, we have combined our curcumin with vegetable oil and ornithine to facilitate its absorption. Ornithine reduces ammonia levels in the body, which reduces fatigue, anxiety and irritability. It also restores appetite and restful sleep.
Adverse effects and overdoses
Turmeric powder is generally considered safe when consumed as a spice in foods. However, when taken as a supplement in large quantities, it can cause side effects (heartburn, flatulence, dry mouth).
Interestingly, consuming too much curcumin can inhibit testosterone levels, something every bodybuilder dreads. Coupling curcumin with the amino acid ornithine allows for an ideal dosage.
Certain populations are at greater risk of adverse effects:
Not recommended for people with diabetes and anticoagulant treatment because curcumin can increase the risk of bleeding
Not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women as there is insufficient evidence on the safety of taking high doses of turmeric during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Not recommended for people with anemia because curcumin decreases iron levels in the blood
Not recommended for people with biliary disorders since curcumin stimulates bile production.
Not recommended for children and people with stomach ulcers .
It is essential to follow the dosage recommendations listed on the supplement label or provided by a healthcare professional.
Turmeric spices contain little curcumin, which is why it is recommended to consume curcumin in isolation, via food supplements. In this way, the risks of overdose are limited.