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Unshared Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric contains curcuminoids, which are bioactive compounds, and curcumin is one such curcuminoid.

While turmeric contains only 2-9% curcuminoids, 75% of these active curcuminoids are curcumin, which is why curcumin is the “star” of turmeric.

So curcumin is a natural chemical compound found in the spice turmeric.

Health benefits of turmeric not attributed to curcumin

Turmeric is made up of plant compounds that possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities that seem to work best together.

Not only is it good for arthritis, but it may also protect your brain as you age. It shows promising results in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (s, s, s).

Turmeric contains different plant compounds that work together to support your body.

A study that investigated the antifungal activity of turmeric found that all eight of its components, including curcumin, were able to inhibit fungal growth.

The study also showed that cardamom in turmeric had the best inhibitory effect.

However, when combined with the other seven ingredients, the inhibition of fungal growth was stronger (s).

So, although curcumin alone can reduce fungal growth, you may get a much greater effect by using turmeric instead (s, s). Similarly, another study found that turmeric was better at suppressing the growth of cancer cells than curcumin alone (s).

However, because turmeric contains curcumin, it is difficult to determine whether turmeric is better than curcumin when it comes to other health conditions.

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Curcumin is more beneficial than turmeric in certain cases

Since curcumin is considered the most active ingredient in turmeric, researchers have begun isolating it and examining whether it can benefit from certain conditions on its own (s).

It has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and can even support wound healing through its antibacterial effects (s, s, s).

Furthermore, turmeric and curcumin have been found to reduce blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. However, an animal study found that curcumin was better at reducing markers of diabetes than turmeric (s).

Curcumin can specifically reduce inflammatory markers such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), which are major contributors to type 2 diabetes (s, s).

Additional studies comparing the effects of turmeric and curcumin in people with type 2 diabetes are needed.

These are not the only health benefits of curcumin. It may also reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

One animal study found that mice that received turmeric extract enriched with curcumin-like curcuminoids maintained bone mass, while mice that received less added curcuminoid showed no effect (s).

Curcumin is poorly tolerated and can pass through your gut undigested (s).

A helpful tip is to add some black pepper to your meals or supplements that contain curcumin.

A substance in black pepper called piperine can increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000% (s).

See: 5 Reasons Why Hot Spices are Good for You

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