Turmeric Health Benefits
To date, the group of most effective food supplements cannot exclude turmeric because for thousands of years, people in Middle East, Southeast Asia, Subcontinent region (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) have been consuming it as a favorite spice and for treating wounds according to Ayurvedic medicine. Some other names for turmeric are Indian saffron or the golden spice.
Turmeric is increasingly becoming popular for liver these days due to its medicinal significance as natural remedy. Many evidence-based studies have highlighted the medicinal significance of turmeric. A study of Johns Hopkins Medicine also highlight role of turmeric for liver repair and regeneration. With a bright yellowish hue, why turmeric is good for health? Ground turmeric in amount of one tablespoon provides 29 calories, 6 g of carbohydrate and 2 g protein and contains several minerals, such as potassium, manganese and phosphorus [1,2].
British Nutrition Foundation and other published books about medicinal foods focused pretty much on turmeric as rich source of bioactive compounds. Only in USA, the turmeric sales reached to about $328 million in 2018, as reported by The New York Times with reference to Nutrition Business Journal. Published literature and Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicines presented turmeric health benefits in detail along with health claims because of its powerful medicinal properties, and hence main ones are given below in sequence [1,3].
Why Should We Use Turmeric?
- The medicinal properties of turmeric are because of special compounds called curcuminoids of which curcumin is the important among all and constitute 3% of dried spice.
- Comprises natural anti-inflammatory compounds to reduce chronic inflammation 
- Curcumin enhances cognitive abilities of brain and reduces incidence of Alzheimer and brain functions decline (Neurodegenerative diseases) 
- Decreases the incidence risks of cardiovascular diseases
- Turmeric has the most profound effect on preventing/treating cancer
- For arthritis, turmeric supplementation is highly effective
- Curcumin in Turmeric exhibits striking potential as anti-depressant
- Turmeric as super food to delays aging by preventing onset of Chronic diseases
- Curcumin in Turmeric is helpful in prevention or treatment of diabetes
- Turmeric helps in skin improvement due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties [1,5]
As relative of ginger, just go to spice aisle and use turmeric in culinary. Curry formulations in India and Subcontinent involves turmeric as culinary ingredient and spice which imparts yellow color to curry. The most common forms in daily life consist of smoothies, veggie soup and teas to treat various seasonal flu and respiratory blockage as alternative of over-the-counter painkillers. You may have noticed the tawny hue of turmeric in ice-creams, smoothies and lattes. Haven’t you? See carefully next time! Moreover, turmeric is widely available in form of ground turmeric, powdered supplements and pills [1,3,6].
Curcumin in Turmeric for Liver Repair and Regeneration
Increased inflammation results in tumor growth in our bodies. Curcumin exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. It may play contributory treating roles for various cancer types like breast, liver, prostate, pancreatic, colorectal and gastric cancers. A research report on mice have suggested that curcumin may decrease the progression rate of tumor cells and may also help in formation of tumors at initial stage. Curcumin do so by employing several mechanisms [1,4], such as:
- Destruction of tumor cells during propagation stages in cell cycle;
- By causing interference in involved cell-signaling pathways and;
- Even causing death of such tumor cells
Recent research on animals (in vivo) and cells (in vitro) has demonstrated promising potential of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin in prevention of various cancerous cells after consuming curcumin at very high doses. This data is much helpful in increasing the understanding about underpinning mechanisms of polyphenols. However, more well-designed double-blind placebo experiments are needed to elucidate anticancer efficacy of curcumin which can also answer the pertinent questions regarding curcumin bioavailability .
Curcumin in turmeric exhibits striking and significant positive impact on ailment named non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Advanced stage of disease may lead to serious consequences regarding liver health, such as incidence of cirrhosis, diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure. According to National Health Service of UK, one in three persons develop this disease at early stages. Curcumin supplementation in range of ≥1000 mg/day showed significant reduction in serum concentrations of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). However, further need of study with higher dose administration is recommended to fully understand the effects of curcumin on liver health [3,6].
Bio-availability of Curcumin
The extremely high doses suggested in published literature are very difficult to implement in our daily routines because in order to consume the suggested dose of curcumin (4 g/day), it is equivalent to turmeric consumption of 100 g which is not possible to replicate in currently employed culinary and dietary practices, as a commonly used curry recipes comprises of only tablespoon of turmeric which is enough for group of 3-4 persons [2,6].
Unluckily, the absorption of turmeric including curcumin is not well enough in our bloodstreams and the already employed amounts in curry or cuisines are not enough to provide the desired antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, various nutritionists including Dana Angelo White of Dana White Nutrition suggested to consume turmeric in form of immunity-boosting turmeric chicken soup/ turmeric soup for colds or curcumin supplements. Still, there is another suggested way to increase the bioavailability of turmeric/curcumin in our bodies to reap the health benefits .
Black pepper consists of an ingredient which is termed as piperine which can be incorporated into turmeric supplements or utilized along with curcumin. The specific piperine compound of black pepper enhances the bioavailability of turmeric. The bio-availability determines the fate of the bioactive compounds with respect to usage by the body. Another study found increases in bio-availability of 2 g of curcumin up to 2,000 in combination with 20 mg of piperine. Hence, synergistic relationship of curcumin and back pepper is evident and must be taken into account during regular curcumin consumption to detoxify, repair and regenerate liver [2,6].
Rare Case of Autoimmune Hepatitis in Arizona
Recently, BMJ Case reports reported a rare liver problem due to turmeric supplementation in Arizona-based woman who was regularly consuming turmeric supplements. That 71-year old woman was taking turmeric supplements to prevent onset of stroke. After 8 months of regular consumption, the woman was gone thru blood test which revealed elevated levels of liver enzymes in her blood as an indicator of potential live problem. The turmeric supplementation triggered her autoimmune response of body’ immune system against liver causing inflammation and damage . Another name for this is autoimmune hepatitis. Moreover, patient did not disclose about turmeric supplementation in medical records of patient and instead of doctors, patients identified curcumin-induced live inflammation by herself. This is probably the first documented report available and exact role of turmeric compounds regarding liver damage is unclear. The woman was taking 20 other medicines and combination of turmeric supplementation with other medicines might be involved in triggering the autoimmune hepatitis condition. The woman stopped taking and turmeric supplements which brought the serum levels of liver enzymes down and led to decreased inflammation. Hence, it is suggested that herbal supplementation must be reported by the patients to their health care providers including dietitians, pharmacists and doctors .
Caution about Turmeric Supplementation for Liver
Although, turmeric supplementation is popular in western countries, however, caution should be taken. Hence, patients must let know their health care providers about herbal supplementation. Moreover, consumers should prefer ground turmeric as an ingredient in cuisines. As the turmeric is usually cooked with oil in Indian cuisines which increases the availability of curcumin in our bloodstreams, hence instead of supplements, turmeric should be consumed in cooked forms of cuisines [1-3]. A good read about turmeric benefit for liver health is found here
In conclusion, it can be inferred that there is no reason to not reap the health benefits of turmeric in everyday life. Turmeric should be incorporated into our cuisines as in terms of balanced diet in combination with other foods like black pepper. However, caution should be taken that turmeric consumption should be primarily from ground turmeric or in form of cooked cuisines in combination with other spices and oils. Moreover, anticancer effect of turmeric should be taken in to account whereas, healthy lifestyle and dietary patterns play crucial role in live disease incidence. People should be cautious to consider turmeric as the total replacer of life-style related factors in cancer prevention and no single food item is capable to subside the risk factors of liver cancer and turmeric may help to alleviate the symptoms associated with with oxidative stress.
This website provides information about natural foods and their potential health benefits to improve overall human wellness. The content provided in this platform or linked to this blog could not be considered as an alternative to an advice of professional medical practitioners. You should consult your health care provider in case of disease incidences and severe emergencies.
 Hay, E., Lucariello, A., Contieri, M., Esposito, T., De Luca, A., Guerra, G., & Perna, A. (2019). Therapeutic effects of turmeric in several diseases: An overview. Chemico-biological interactions, 108729.
 British Nutrition Foundation. To turmeric or not to turmeric…can it really prevent cancer? https://www.nutrition.org.uk/bnf-blogs/turmeric.html.
 The New York Times: What Are the Benefits of Turmeric? https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/16/style/self-care/turmeric-benefits.html
 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Turmeric. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#section6
 Why is Turmeric Good for Me? https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/why-ls-turmeric-good-for-me.
 12 Scientific Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/scientific-health-benefits-turmeric-curcumin/
 Lukefahr, A. L., McEvoy, S., Alfafara, C., & Funk, J. L. (2018). Drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis associated with turmeric dietary supplement use. BMJ Case Reports, 2018, bcr-2018.
 Woman’s Liver Problems Tied to Her Turmeric Supplement. https://www.livescience.com/63594-turmeric-supplement-liver.html