Multiple studies have backed up the medicinal benefits of turmeric! Once you see the undeniable proof that turmeric indeed offers a wide array of significant health benefits, you will start incorporating it in your daily diet right away! But, before you start consuming turmeric as powerful food medicine, you should learn how to unleash its potent healing potential first.
Turmeric is related to ginger root, both of which are classified as members of the Zingiberacaea family. It has been widely used as both spice and potent medicine.
Curcumin and Curcuminoids
Diferuloylmethane, also known as curcumin is one of the three curcuminoids in turmeric, the other being desmethoxycurcumin and bis-desmethoxycurcumin. In addition to these constituents, scientists keep identifying new compounds which are located in the essential oil of this spice.
The main problem with turmeric is curcumin`s poor bioavailability. Many animal and clinical studies have found that the concentrations of curcumin in the blood plasma, peripheral tissues, and the urine, are quite low regardless of the dosage.
What is Bioavailability?
According to the Merck manual, “Bioavailability refers to the extent of and rate at which the active moiety (drug or metabolite) enters systemic circulation, thereby accessing the site of action.”
Bioavailability describes how much of the ingested substance is absorbed by the body. Needless to say, those with low bioavailability will not be efficient enough for healing purposes.
Research Confirms Turmeric’s Low Bioavailability
- Multiple studies on curcumin have confirmed that low blood serum levels are reached in case of oral administration. The reason behind this is that most of the orally ingested curcumin is metabolized long before it basically reaches the bloodstream.
- The main factors that affect the bioavailability or serum levels of turmeric include the route of administration and method of preparation.
- A good way to increase turmeric`s bioavailability is to add specific adjuvants.
- A 1978 study done by by Whalstrom and Blennow has shown that when taken orally, curcumin was poorly absorbed in the gut.
- A 1980 study by Ravindranath el al found that when rats were orally given 400 mg of curcumin, no trace of it was found in the heart blood.
- A recent study by Yang et al found that when 10mg.kg of curcumin was administered orally, only 0.36 µg/ml of it was found in the blood serum.
- A study Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats. Ravindranath et al found after orally administration of 400 mg of curcumin to rats: “only traces of the unchanged molecule were found in the liver and kidney. At 30 min, 90% of the curcumin was found in the stomach and small intestine, but only 1% was present at 24 h. [hours].”
- Studies done by Whalstrom and Blennow has shown curcumin`s rapid systemic extraction from the body. The bottom line is that turmeric indeed has a short half-life.
3 Ways To Boost The Benefits Of Turmeric!
1. Add Black Pepper to Your Turmeric
It has been scientifically shown that black pepper works as powerful turmeric adjuvant.
Some of the key health benefits of black pepper are as follows:
- Helps cure vertigo
- Helps reduce cognitive malfunction and memory impairment
- Lowers the risk of liver and cardiovascular ailments and cancer
- Relieves asthma, nasal congestion, and sinusitis
- Relieves dementia and Alzheimer`s
How does Black Pepper Enhance the Bioavailability of Turmeric?
According to Michael Greger, an eminent physician and professional speaker on important public health issues, “Piperine is a potent inhibitor of drug metabolism. One of the ways our liver gets rid of foreign substances is making them water-soluble so they can be more easily excreted. But this black pepper molecule inhibits that process.”
How much Black Pepper? – Not Much
“If people are given a bunch of turmeric curcumin, within an hour there’s a little bump in the level in their blood stream. We don’t see a large increase because our liver is actively trying to get rid of it. But what if the process is suppressed by taking just a quarter teaspoon’s worth of black pepper?
Then you see curcumin levels skyrocket. The same amount of curcumin consumed, but the bioavailability shoots up 2000%. Even just a little pinch of pepper—1/20th of a teaspoon—can significantly boost levels. And guess what a common ingredient in curry powder is besides turmeric? Black pepper,” says Dr. Michael Greger.
2. Add a Healthy Fat to Turmeric
Being fat-soluble, turmeric has to be combined with a fat in order for the body to fully absorb it and reap its benefits.
As explained by Dr. Joseph Mercola,“When it doesn’t dissolve properly, curcumin has a tough time getting into the gut, which is where most of the immune system lives. “80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to maintain optimal health.”
‘Another way to boost the absorption of curcumin is to consume it in the whole food, turmeric root (fresh or dried as a powder) because natural oils found in turmeric root and turmeric powder can enhance the bioavailability of curcumin seven to eight fold. When eaten with fat, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby in part bypassing the liver,’ says Dr. Michael Greiger.
3. Heat Increases Turmeric’s Bioavailability
As explained by Dr. Sukumar, “The potent ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which, despite its power, is not easily absorbed by the body without assistance. This is where the sauté pan and a little warm oil come into play.”
The problem about the pill is that it is extremely insoluble in water. The more efficient way to use it is to add it to your cooking more often. Whenever you have any sauté, simply sprinkle it in to make it bio-available to you.
Summary: To Extract The Optimum Benefit When Consuming Turmeric As A Medicine
- Increase turmeric`s bioavailability by up to 2,000 times by mixing it with freshly ground black pepper
- Boost turmeric`s absorption and healing properties by combining it with healthy fats like ghee or coconut oil
- Activate turmeric by using heat