Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a spice that has been used for thousands of years in India for both cooking and medicine, has many well-known health benefits. Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. But a recent study suggests that it may be particularly helpful for overweight individuals. A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 339 healthy subjects ages 50 to 69, who were overweight, showed that taking two capsules of turmeric daily (970 mg) for 12 weeks, had a significantly lower body weight and body mass index (BMI) than the placebo group. They also had lower levels of C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation in the body), as well as an improvement in mental health versus the persons taking the placebo. The researchers noted that mental health/mood issues are also known to be associated with inflammation. This study adds to the ever-growing body of evidence supporting the potential benefits of turmeric. Although turmeric is commonly used as a spice in cooking, the amount used in most studies are much higher than your average curry, therefore supplements may be necessary to reach these therapeutic levels. Additionally, it may help to consume your turmeric with black pepper, which contains piperine, a natural substance known to enhance the absorption of curcumin. Curcumin is also fat soluble, which means it may help to take your turmeric supplements with a meal high in healthy fat to aid absorption.
(1) Gunnars, Kris. “10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 7 May 2021, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric.
(2) Shoba, Guido, et al. “Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers.” Planta Medica, vol. 64, no. 04, 1998, pp. 353–356., https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-957450.
(3) Uchio, Ryusei, et al. “Curcuma Longa Extract Improves Serum Inflammatory Markers and Mental Health in Healthy Participants Who Are Overweight: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Nutrition Journal, vol. 20, no. 1, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-021-00748-8. Published November 13, 2021