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33 Benefits and Side Effects of Curcumin (11 Contraindications, Please Be Careful!) [Updated Feb/2023]

Curcumin is the most active curcumin compound in turmeric, followed by demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin.

Turmeric has been used by humans for more than 4,000 years, belongs to the ginger family, the source of the yellow in curry is it, in ancient India and Chinese medicine have used turmeric to treat inflammatory diseases, protect the liver, skin diseases and trauma, can be called herbal aspirin.

What are the benefits and benefits of curcumin in empirical medicine? Are there any side effects or contraindications? See text analysis for details

What is Curcumin?

Curcumin is a diphenylmethane polyphenol with two phenolic rings (like resveratrol) that is an active ingredient extracted from the rhizome of the tropical plant turmeric. First isolated in 1815 by Vogel and Pelletier, its chemical structure was determined in 1913 by Lampe e Milobedeska.

At present, in order to improve the bioavailability of curcumin, a variety of methods have been adopted, such as combining it with appropriate excipients, synthesizing curcumin analogues, or changing dosage forms, etc., as a supplement with good development prospects.

According to J. Am. Chem. Soc. Studies have pointed out that the antioxidant capacity of natural curcumin is 2.33 times that of bioflavonoids, 1.6 times that of vitamin E and 2.75 times that of vitamin C, which can help the body fight many diseases

What are the recommended benefits of curcumin?

  1. The unique active ingredients of turmeric have rich medical value

The curcuminin turmeric  extract (curcuminoids) is the focus of the discussion here. It is the most medically valuable part, accounting for about 3% -5% of the weight. Although not much, it has very strong anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant ability, current medical research is mainly using this ingredient.

whereasCurcumin is less easily absorbed by the human body when used alone (only 1% of oral absorption has been found in animal experiments)Note 19Therefore, thanks to modern technology, there are many formulas that enhance absorption,For example, Meriva is combined with lecithin, and other ingredients such as BioPerine, phospholipids or plant-native essential oils are claimed to increase bioavailability several times.

*Conclusion: The oral absorption rate of natural curcumin is not high, but thanks to technological progress. A variety of formulas to increase absorption rate have been released

  1. Curcumin is beneficial for Beneficial for migraines

Migraines are caused by nerve and vascular dysfunction, repeated headaches on one or both sides, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to the voice… The incidence is 8.4% to 28% worldwide, and approximately 18.2% of women and 6.5% of men are migraine sufferers.

It can occur at any age, affecting work or study, and nearly a third of people may miss work or study because of headaches.

Therefore, how to relieve headache and reduce the impact on life and work has become the basic appeal of many patients.

An 8-week randomized controlled trial of 44 women with migraine showed that curcumin (daily dose of 1,000 mg) reduced the severity and duration of migraines, as did measures such as CGRP-calcitonin gene related peptide and interleukin 6 compared with placebo. Note 1

*Conclusion: In women with migraine, curcumin supplementation may reduce the severity and duration of migraine attacks, but more studies are needed to validate this due to shorter study durations and smaller sample sizes

  1. Curcumin is beneficial for diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy refers to the deterioration of kidney function in people with chronic diabetes. Among the long-term complications of diabetes, chronic kidney disease has the greatest burden, both in terms of economic cost and impact on daily life.

Diabetic nephropathy is clinically defined as impaired renal function or elevated urinary albumin excretion, or both. Ethnicity, family history, gestational diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, and insulin resistance are major risk factors for diabetic nephropathy.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (5 randomized controlled trials of 290 participants with diabetic nephropathy) noted that oral curcumin helped improve serum creatinine, total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose levels , but not blood urea nitrogen, proteinuria, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol) and diastolic blood pressure levels had no significant effect. Note 1

*Conclusion: For diabetic nephropathy, curcumin may bring positive help, but limited by the small sample size, more studies are needed to confirm its benefits and safety.

  1. Beneficial for diabetic blood sugar control

Diabetes mellitus is a major endocrine disease associated with poor glycemic control, mainly manifested by hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and relative insulin deficiency.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus, the main type of disease, accounts for 90% to 95% of the disease, and its course is complex, and complications can be divided into macrovascular complications (cardiovascular disease) and microvascular complications (affecting the retina, kidneys, and nervous system)

The International Diabetes Federation predicts that by 2045, the number of adults aged 20 to 79 with diabetes worldwide will increase to 700 million, with 3 out of every 4 people of working age.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (4 randomized controlled trials involving 453 participants with type 2 diabetes) suggested that oral curcumin helped improve insulin resistance, glycemic control, and lower triglycerides and total cholesterol. Note 1

*Conclusion: For type 2 diabetes, oral curcumin may have a positive effect on glycemic control, but due to the heterogeneity of the samples included, more studies are needed to confirm the optimal dosage form, dose and duration of treatment.

  1. Beneficial vascular endothelial function

Vascular endothelium, an active monolayer of cells that cover the lumen of blood vessels and separate the walls of blood vessels from circulating blood, is a highly selective barrier and metabolically active organ that plays an important role in maintaining vascular homeostasis by maintaining a delicate balance between vasodilation and contraction.

The functional integrity of endothelial cells is an essential element of vascular health. Many studies have confirmed that endothelial dysfunction is an activating factor in the progression of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and early detection may be a reversible initial step in the development of atherosclerosis.

A meta-analysis (5 randomized controlled trials with 192 participants) noted that oral curcumin helped improve measures of flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery compared with placebo and therefore vascular endothelial function. Note 1

*Conclusion: By improving the measurement of brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, curcumin preparation may bring positive help to vascular function

  1. Beneficial exercise-induced muscle damage

High-intensity exercise causes repeated centrifugal muscle contractions, tissue vibrations, high-level collisions or impacts, and involves high metabolic consumption, leading to the destruction or degradation of structural proteins in muscle fibers and connective tissues is known as exercise-induced muscle damage.

Symptoms of exercise-induced muscle injury are reduced strength, loss of range of motion, edema, and delayed-onset muscle soreness, which gradually decreases 5 to 7 days after exercise.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (9 randomized controlled trials with 379 exercise training participants) noted that curcumin supplementation had a significant effect on reducing creatine kinase and muscle soreness index. Note 1

In addition, subgroup analysis found significant reductions in creatine kinase concentration and muscle soreness index, regardless of differences in post-exercise follow-up, curcumin dose, study duration, exercise type, training status, and study design.

*Conclusion: For exercise-induced muscle damage and delayed muscle soreness, oral curcumin may provide positive help

  1. Beneficial non-surgical treatment of periodontitis

Periodontitis is a chronic disease of periodontal tissue (affecting about 20%-50% of the global population), and the inflammatory response caused by different periodontal pathogens can determine the destruction of periodontal tissue, the resorption of alveolar bone, and ultimately the loss of teeth.

Periodontitis is not only a local inflammatory disease, but is associated with a variety of systemic diseases, including endothelial dysfunction, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and autoimmune diseases.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (14 randomized controlled trials) suggested that the use of curcumin as an adjunct (as an irrigation agent or photoantimicrobial) reduced probing depth and increased clinical attachment level compared with scaling and root planning treatment alone. Note 1

*Conclusion: For the non-surgical treatment of periodontitis, the use of curcumin as an adjuvant may be a positive help, but more studies are needed to confirm it

  1. Beneficial for depression

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by sadness, loss of interest in activities, and decreased energy. Other symptoms include loss of confidence and self-esteem, inappropriate feelings of guilt, thoughts of death and suicide, poor concentration, sleep and appetite disturbances.

Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide. The World Mental Health Survey conducted in 17 countries found that on average, 1 in 20 people had had an episode of depression in the previous year, and the direct economic cost of depression in terms of treatment costs, as well as the indirect costs of lost working days and reduced productivity, are a major problem for public health workers.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (6 clinical trials) noted that curcumin was helpful in melancholic or melancholic symptom relief rates, however, there was no difference between withdrawal rates, digestive symptoms, and neurological symptoms. Note 1

*Conclusion: Due to the low quality of the available evidence, there is considerable uncertainty about the efficacy and acceptability of curcumin for depression or symptoms of depression, and further research is needed

  1. Beneficial polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a reproductive, metabolic, and hormonal disease (prevalence of 6% to 10%) that accounts for 50% to 70% of anovulatory infertility in women of reproductive age.

At present, the etiology of PCOS is not fully understood, but it may be the result of the interaction of genetic and environmental factors such as family history, low birth weight, obesity, poor eating habits, and sedentary behavior.

Studies have shown that after PCOS diagnosis, more than 50% of patients develop prediabetes or diabetes, which also increases the risk of myocardial infarction, dyslipidemia, hypertension, anxiety, depression, endometrial cancer and sleep apnea. In addition, there is an increased incidence of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and preterm birth in pregnant women with PCOS.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (3 randomized controlled trials of 168 people with PCOS) noted that oral curcumin (500 mg to 1500 mg per day for 6 to 12 weeks) was associated with improved fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR), quantitative insulin sensitivity test index (QUICKI), and total cholesterol. Note 1

*Conclusion: For patients with polycystic ovary syndrome and metabolic abnormalities, curcumin can help improve blood glucose control and lipid metabolism, but it is limited by the small sample size and more studies are needed to support it

  1. Beneficial for recurrent aphthous stomatitis

Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (also known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis/mouth ulceration) is the most common oral disease characterized by repeated destruction of the oral mucosa, manifested as painful ulcers.

Local trauma, genetic factors, malnutrition, viral and bacterial infections, and immune or endocrine disorders are all considered causes of common mouth sores.

There are three subtypes of recurrent aphthous stomatitis: mild (70% >), severe (10%), and herpetiform (10%). These subtypes vary in morphology, distribution, severity, and prognosis, but all have a significant impact on quality of life and interfere with activities of daily living.

A systematic review (8 studies, 439 patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis) found that curcumin use reduced pain and ulcer size as effectively as the anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone. Note 2

The mechanism behind it may be related to curcumin’s suppression of the inflammatory response by inhibiting phospholipase, lipase, cyclooxygenase-2 and reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines.

*Conclusion: For recurrent aphthous stomatitis, curcumin may be beneficial in pain relief and accelerated healing, but limited by the small sample size and heterogeneity between studies, more studies are needed to support it

  1. Beneficial cancer treatment

Every year, cancer kills millions worldwide, and despite great advances in medicine, there are still many issues that must be addressed to improve cancer treatment.

Therefore, oncology research is working to find new and effective treatments to alleviate the serious side effects of traditional treatments.

A systematic review of 22 cancer treatment studies noted that oral curcumin increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, reduced treatment-related side effects, improved patient survival, and lowered tumor marker levels. Note 3

*Conclusion: Curcumin combined with cancer chemoradiotherapy may improve the treatment effect, but due to the small sample size and heterogeneity between studies, more large studies are still needed to further validate.

  1. Improve health-related quality of life

Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is a multidimensional concept that includes areas related to physical and motor skills, mental states, social and economic conditions, and bodily perception such as symptoms, especially pain. It not only directly measures population health, life expectancy and causes of death, but also focuses on the impact of health status on quality of life.

A related concept of HRQoL is well-being, which assesses positive aspects of life such as positive emotions and life satisfaction. HRQoL is commonly used by clinicians and public health officials to measure the impact of chronic disease, treatment effectiveness, and disability.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (10 randomized controlled trials, 730 participants) noted that oral curcumin supplementation had a significant overall effect on health-related quality of life. Note 1

In addition, subgroup analysis found that the associated enhancement effect was particularly pronounced in trials with an intervention duration of less than 5 months and using highly bioavailable formulations

*Conclusion: Oral curcumin supplementation may be positively beneficial in improving health-related quality of life, but given the heterogeneity of the included studies, more large and long-term trials are needed

  1. Oxidative stress

Oxidative Stress is characterized by an imbalance in the production and elimination of reactive oxygen species, which can lead to protein carboxylation, DNA damage, cytoskeletal destruction and lipid peroxidation, and is associated with aging as well as a variety of chronic diseases including cancer, lung disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases

Serum malondialdehyde, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase activity are considered to be the main measures of oxidative stress

A meta-analysis (17 randomized controlled trials) noted that curcumin significantly reduced malondialdehyde and increased superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase levels compared with controls. Note 1

In addition, subgroup analyses found that curcumin can increase superoxide dismutase levels only under the action of piperine, and curcumin can significantly reduce malondialdehyde levels with or without piperine.

*Conclusion: Curcumin can help improve the body’s ability to cope with oxidative stress, but more research is needed to support it due to the heterogeneity of the included studies

  1. Beneficial blood lipid regulation

Dyslipidemia is characterized by high triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and an increased proportion of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) particles

Over the past few decades, statins have been a cornerstone of the treatment of dyslipidemia, reducing the risk of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease by 15% to 37%, but still present 60% to 80% of the risk of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (16 randomized controlled trials of metabolic syndrome) found that turmeric and curcumin reduced triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and increased HDL cholesterol. Note 1

In addition, subgroup analyses showed that curcumin-related lipid modulation effects were more significant than 8 weeks and daily doses greater than 300 mg.

The mechanism behind it may be related to curcumin’s regulation of citric acid cycle, glycolysis, glycogenesis, ketone body and cholesterol synthesis, ketogenic action of branched-chain amino acids, choline metabolism and fatty acid metabolism

*Conclusion: For adults with metabolic syndrome, curcumin may positively help regulate blood lipids, but more homogeneous and high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed due to the heterogeneity of the studies included

  1. Beneficial for blood pressure regulation

High blood pressure is part of a clinical syndrome whose etiology is multifaceted, caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and behavioural factors that can lead to the development of complex cardiovascular disease, which is estimated to affect 65% of people over 60 years of age.

Data from observational studies suggest that the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke increases gradually from above 115/75 mm Hg, and that mortality doubles for every 20/10 mm Hg increase in blood pressure.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (11 randomized controlled trials, 734 participants) noted that, overall, oral curcumin and turmeric were not significantly helpful in reducing systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Note 1

In addition, subgroup analysis showed that a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure levels was observed in the supplemental ≥12-week study, while diastolic blood pressure was not significantly reduced.

*Conclusion: Long-term curcumin or turmeric supplementation may have positive help in blood pressure regulation, but limited by the small sample size and potential interfering factors, more studies are needed to support it

  1. Beneficial non-alcoholic fatty liver

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by greater than 5% accumulation of liver fat in the absence of any secondary cause, such as excessive alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis, Wilson’s disease, hemochromatosis, autoimmune hepatitis, cholestatic liver disease, hunger, fat metabolism disorders, celiac disease, Cushing’s disease, and pharmacological treatments (corticosteroids, methotrexate, diltiazem, oxaliplatin, amiodarone, isoniazid, highly effective antiretroviral therapy, etc.)

It is currently estimated that the global prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is as high as 1 billion, including simple steatosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which can eventually lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis, and may progress to cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma, which is the most important cause of cryptogenic cirrhosis.

A meta-analysis (including 4 randomized placebo-controlled trials of 229 patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) showed that curcumin can effectively reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglyceride, fasting blood sugar, insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), Weight and aminotransferase (AST) levels. Note 1

In addition, the benefits were not significantly helpful for total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and insulin.

*Conclusion: Oral curcumin may be of positive help in the condition of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, but limited by the small sample size, more large trials are needed to support it

  1. Beneficial for oral submucosal fibrosis

Oral submucous fibrosis is a chronic latent disease affecting the oral cavity that can affect the throat or esophagus, and gradually cause difficulty eating, swallowing, and pronunciation due to mucosal fibrosis that hardens the oral mucosa and deep tissues

The cause of the disease is unknown, but various factors thought to contribute to oral submucosal fibrosis include genetic predisposition, capsaicin, betel nut chewing, autoimmunity, hormones, and nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B12 and iron

A systematic review (6 randomized clinical trials of 298 patients with oral submucosal fibrosis) noted that oral curcumin was effective in relieving associated signs and symptoms, most notably pain or burning. Note 2

*Conclusion: Curcumin may be of positive help in improving the symptoms of oral submucosal fibrosis, but due to the small sample size and heterogeneity between studies, more precisely designed studies are still needed to further verify

  1. Good for osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis (mainly affecting the joints of the knees, hands, and hips). It is a disability, delayed, and degenerative disease characterized by loss of articular cartilage and inflammation of the synovium, resulting in joint stiffness, swelling, pain, and loss of mobility

Specifically, the onset of knee osteoarthritis is mainly related to overweight, obesity, female sex, and previous knee injury. About half of the population over the age of 65 is affected, with a higher proportion of women than men after menopause (18% vs. 9.6%)

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (7 randomized controlled trials, 797 participants with primary knee osteoarthritis) showed that taking curcumin compounds (daily doses ranging from 180 mg to 2 g with intervention duration of 4 to 16 weeks) significantly reduced knee pain and improved quality of life compared with placebo. Note 1

In addition, compared with the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen, curcumin has a lower effect on pain relief, knee stiffness and physical function, but can significantly reduce the frequency of use of rescue drugs.

*Conclusion: For primary knee osteoarthritis, oral curcumin may be helpful in improving pain and quality of life, but limited by small sample sizes and heterogeneity, more studies are needed to support this

  1. Improve brain-derived neurotrophic factor

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of the neurotrophic factor family, which also includes nerve growth factor, neurotrophic factor 3 and neurotrophic factor 4.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is one of the neurotrophic factors that support the differentiation, maturation, morphological plasticity and survival of neurons in the nervous system, and has neuroprotective effects under adverse conditions such as glutamate stimulation, cerebral ischemia, hypoglycemia, and neurotoxicity.

Many neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders, are associated with low BDNF levels

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (4 randomized controlled trials, 139 participants) showed that curcumin supplementation (daily doses ranging from 200 mg to 1820 mg for 8 to 12 weeks) significantly increased serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Note 1

In addition, subgroup analysis showed that the effect of increasing serum BDNF levels was particularly significant in women, participants over 40 years of age, high-dose curcumin (≥500 mg/day), and longer trial time (>8 weeks).

*Conclusion: Curcumin supplementation can help increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which may be beneficial for neurological diseases associated with low BDNF levels

  1. Beneficial for irritable bowel disorder

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic, functional gastrointestinal disorder affecting 9% to 23% of the global population and is typically characterized by recurrent abdominal pain with changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or both) but no detectable structural and biochemical abnormalities (eg, gastrointestinal bleeding, weight loss, fever, anemia, or abdominal mass).

Due to the variable clinical symptoms of irritable bowel disorder, common comorbidities include gastroesophageal reflux, genital urinary symptoms, fibromyalgia, headache, back pain, and psychological symptoms, and are often misdiagnosed initially.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (3 randomized controlled trials, 326 people with irritable bowel disorder) noted that curcumin improving irritable bowel symptoms, while helpful, was not statistically significant (compared with placebo). Note 1

*Conclusion: Oral curcumin may be helpful in improving irritable bowel disorder, but limited by the small sample size and high heterogeneity of the included studies, more large, long-term studies with precise design are needed to confirm its clinical benefit.

  1. Relieves ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis, a subgroup of inflammatory diseases of the gut, is a chronic disease that affects the mucosa of the rectum and colon, affects more than 600,000 Americans, and is caused by a variety of factors, such as genetic predisposition, environmental factors, immune dysregulation and imbalance of gut bacteria.

Common symptoms include bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, high fever, weight loss, and diffuse abdominal tenderness with a 10-year colonoscopic resection rate of 9% to 24% and a cumulative colonoscopic resection rate of 33% to 45% over 25 years.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including three randomized controlled trials in patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis) found that adjuvant curcumin therapy had no significant effect on disease remission or improvement of clinical response compared with placebo. Note 1

*Conclusion: Oral curcumin is not significantly helpful in improving ulcerative colitis, but limited by the small sample size and high heterogeneity of the included studies, more large, long-term studies with precise design are needed to confirm its clinical benefit

  1. Assist in weight loss

Obesity itself is a pervasive health problem and a risk factor for chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, stroke and cancer.

According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization, 13% of adults worldwide are obese and 39% are overweight, and the harmful effects of obesity are greater than smoking and alcohol consumption in terms of overall health and health-related costs.

Moderate weight loss, even as little as 5 to 10 percent, is enough to reap significant health benefits and prevent obesity-related diseases.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (11 randomized controlled trials, 876 overweight and obese subjects) showed that curcumin had the effect of reducing body weight (WMD: -1.14 kg) and body mass index (WMD: -0.48 kg/m2), but not Waist Circumference. Note 1

In addition, subgroup analysis found that curcumin was used to improve waist circumference in trials ≥ 1000 mg daily for a dry duration of ≥ 8 weeks.

*Conclusion: Oral curcumin may have a positive effect on weight loss, but more studies are needed to support this due to the heterogeneity of the included studies

  1. Beneficial allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is the most common form of allergic disease, with runny nose, sneezing, itching and nasal obstruction, affecting more than 400 million people worldwide.

Allergic rhinitis is mainly associated with IgE-mediated inflammatory reactions triggered by inhalation of allergens: dust mite excretion particles in the air, cockroach residue, animal dander, mold and pollen.

A randomized, double-blind controlled study (241 patients with long-term allergic rhinitis) reported that oral curcumin (500 mg daily) reduced associated nasal symptoms, including sneezing, itching, runny nose, and obstruction, compared with placebo. Note 1

The mechanism behind it is related to regulating immune function and inhibiting pro-inflammatory hormones such as interleukin-4 (IL-4), interleukin-8 (IL-8), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and increasing anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (IL-10) soluble intercellular adhesion molecules 1 (sCAMs).

*Conclusion: Oral curcumin may be a positive help in allergic rhinitis, but more large studies are needed to further validate

  1. Has a natural anti-inflammatory effect

Inflammation represents the complex chemical signals, cell types, and cytokine interactions produced by tissue damage caused by pathogens, trauma, or toxic substances.

The inflammatory process is closely related to a variety of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), interleukin-6, leptin, resistin, monocytes chemotactic protein-1, C-reactive protein, and adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory molecule.

The imbalance of these molecules is the key to chronic inflammation, which is closely related to type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriasis and cancer.

Several highly evidence-based meta-analyses have pointed out that oral curcumin-related compounds have significantly reduced relevant pro-inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin-6. Note 1 – Note 2 – Note 3

*Conclusion: Curcumin can reduce some inflammatory markers, such as TNF-alpha, CRP, IL-6, and has positive benefits for inflammation-related diseases

  1. Prevention of osteopenia

Osteopenia generally refers to bone calcification, low bone density or bone mass, which may be painful and deformed in the spine, and if not improved, can lead to osteoporosis or fractures

A number of animal and in vitro experiments have found that curcumin can affect the state of bone through a variety of molecular mechanisms, such as activation and differentiation of osteoclasts. Note 1

A preliminary controlled study (24 weeks, 57 elderly people with low bone density/DXA t-score between -1 and -2.5) showed that curcumin combined with dietary modification and exercise improved bone density (pinky, maxillary and heel). Note 2

*Conclusion: Curcumin may be a positive help in preventing osteopenia, but more large studies are needed

  1. Beneficial for pain relief

According to the survey, 25% of the population in the United States (about 75 million people) has chronic or recurrent pain problems, and 40% of them affect work and family, resulting in huge economic losses.

Chronic pain is associated with the ensuing abuse of prescription painkillers, especially opioid painkillers, which also kills more people than drugs (heroin and cocaine), and is listed as a national health issue by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (8 randomized controlled studies, 606 participants) pointed out that curcuminoids help improve pain severity (caused by surgery, arthritis or exercise), are safe and highly tolerated, and are effective in enhancing absorption rates. Note 1

*Conclusion: The use of curcumin has a pain relief effect, but more research is needed to confirm its efficacy and safety with long-term use

  1. Cancer prevention

Most cancers result from the interaction of genetic and epigenetic alterations, resulting in apoptosis impedance, uncontrolled cell proliferation, metastasis induced, angiogenesis and immune system dysfunction. Note 3

Curcumin has been found in many studies to inhibit tumor growth through a variety of pathways, mainly including inducing apoptosis, inhibiting angiogenesis, inhibiting cell cycle progression, regulating cell signaling, and regulating immune response. Note 1

Therefore, curcumin has the potential to fight cancer alone or in combination with other substances, such as multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, oral cancer, prostate cancer, rectal cancer, and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Note 2

*Conclusion: Curcumin can inhibit cancer through a variety of biochemical mechanisms, but until now, most studies have been limited to animal experiments, and there are still few related human studies, which need to be further verified

  1. Improve sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is a symptom that gradually loses muscle mass and strength with aging, and in severe cases, it can cause falls and fractures, and then it is impossible to live autonomously, and must be cared for by others.

Muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of 8% after the age of 40, and by the age of 80, muscle mass is lost by 50%.

Animal studies have found that curcumin has the effect of promoting protein regeneration and reducing muscle loss. Note 1

A controlled experiment (over a 3-month period of 86 elderly people with loss of muscle strength and fatigue symptoms) compared with the control group, curcumin combined with exercise training and dietary modification could significantly improve a variety of evaluation indicators, including grip strength, weight lifting, cycling time, walking, stair climbing, proteinuria, oxidative stress, Kiro’s energy table, and left ventricular ejection fraction. Note 2

*Conclusion: Curcumin has the potential effect of improving muscle endurance and physical performance, and may prevent the occurrence of sarcopenia

  1. Improve Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for about 60-70% of all cases, mainly manifesting a progressive decline in memory, thinking, language and learning ability, and even loss of autonomy at the end of the stage, requiring care.

It is estimated that about 40 million people worldwide currently suffer from the disease, but due to population ageing, the number of people will triple by 2050, so it is worth paying attention to how to prevent it

So far, although curcumin has been found to affect and inhibit the formation of Alzheimer’s disease from a variety of pathways (such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and inhibition of amyloid beta), most of the relevant research has been limited to animal and in vitro studies. Note 8

Human studies, on the other hand, have not yet shown the expected results and are generally believed to be related to difficulty absorption, bioavailability and duration and length of use.

However, there are more new patented technologies that can increase the bioavailability, blood-brain barrier penetration and half-life of curcumin, so further human studies are needed to further confirm its effectiveness.

  1. Improve premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome refers to recurrent emotional and physiological symptoms during the luteal phase, and epidemiological studies have found that about 50% to 80% of women experience mild to moderate premenstrual discomfort.

Although premenstrual discomfort can be treated symptomatically according to symptoms, it is often deterrent due to potential drug side effects

A double-blind controlled study (3 consecutive cycles in 70 women with PMS) showed that taking curcumin (100 mg every 12 hours) before and after menstruation improved the severity of PMS (measured by three questionnaires: physiological, psychological, and behavioral) compared with placebo.Note 1

The mechanism behind it is related to curcumin’s modulating neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) and inhibition of prostaglandin production (both of which are thought to be major contributors to premenstrual discomfort)

  1. Improve functional dyspepsia

The digestive organs are the most important function to sustain life, and after eating food, all nutrients are absorbed by it, just like the roots of a large tree, responsible for absorbing nutrients and making life strong.

But in this society that pays attention to efficiency in everything, even the enjoyment of life such as eating has begun to turn quickly, making people begin to gobble up and overeat, the consequence is not only not to enjoy the deliciousness of food, but also often cause gastrointestinal dysfunction, causing abdominal distention, abdominal pain, pharyngeal, heartburn and other symptoms.

In medicine, these symptoms are also named functional dyspepsia, that is, organic diseases such as gastrointestinal ulcers, inflammation, tumors (gastrointestinal ulcers, inflammation, tumors) are excluded after careful examination. It is estimated that clinically, 7 out of every 10 patients who react to dyspepsia are functional dyspepsia, which greatly affects the quality of life of Chinese people.

In ancient medicine in China and India, turmeric is regarded as a digestive function enhancer, with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, (stimulates bile secretion, improves fat absorption), reduces flatulence, and improves ulcers Note 26

A randomized study found that 87% of patients with dyspepsia who took turmeric for 7 consecutive days reported improvement in symptoms such as abdominal pain, flatulence, and belching (compared to 53% in the control group) Note 27

  1. Hepatoprotective effect

The liver is the most functional organ of the human body, in addition to eliminating various endogenous toxins, it is also an important metabolic center, with the functions of producing energy and synthesizing nutrients, which can be said to be anything except giving birth to children.

Because the liver has excellent regeneration function, it can repair and regenerate itself even if it is damaged, but when the damage reaches a certain extent, it is easy to cause various liver diseases (such as hepatitis, fatty liver, liver cancer, cirrhosis, etc.)

Oxidative stress plays an important role in liver diseases, and curcumin has a special antioxidant and inhibition of NF-kB transcription factors, so the liver protection effect has been revealed in many studies, with the effect of preventing a variety of toxins from damaging the liver (such as yellow yeast koji toxin (aflatoxin), iron excess, antibiotics, alcohol, carcinogen “thioacetamide” carbon tetrachloride, etc.), but most of them belong to animal and cell experiments. Note 28

In addition, other studies have also found that curcumin has the effect of anti-fatty liver and reversing liver fibrosis caused by carbon tetrachloride, but because it is animal studies, it still needs to be further confirmed by more human experiments Note 29-30

  1. Delay aging and reduce degenerative diseases of old age

Oxidative stress or damage caused by free radicals is one of the main causes of aging and degenerative diseases, and antioxidants are our weapons, can neutralize the harm of free radicals, as long as there are enough quantities, can delay aging, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, arthritis, cancer and other diseases.

Curcumin itself is a powerful antioxidant, so it is very helpful for delaying aging and preventing degenerative diseases Note 13

What are the side effects of curcumin?

Turmeric and the curcumin contained in it are generally considered safe to use at recommended doses, but some side effects have been reported, such as gastrointestinal upset, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, headache and skin irritation (rash)

A Phase I clinical trial pointed out that 8 grams of curcumin per day for 3 months was well tolerated and no toxic reactions occurred. Note 28

Observed in colorectal cancer patients may cause increased values on some tests (but not determined whether it is related to cancer progression or curcumin use), such as alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase. Note 29

Safety precautions (contraindications for use) (Please pay special attention to the following 11 situations)

  1. Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, young children and people with liver and kidney dysfunction should not use it (because the safety is still unknown)
  2. Do not combine with the anti-breast cancer drug tamoxifen, which may affect the efficacy of the drug. Note 1
  3. It may increase the concentration of oxalic acid in urine. For susceptible individuals, take it carefully to avoid increasing the occurrence of kidney stones. Note 30
  4. Patients with anemia or those with low iron content in the blood should be cautious. Large doses may hinder iron absorption.Note 31
  5. Do not use for those with gallbladder diseases, such as gallstones or bile duct obstruction, which may cause symptoms to worsen
  6. Patients with peptic ulcer and gastroesophageal reflux, please be careful, they may worsen symptoms or interfere with the effect of drugs that inhibit gastric acid secretion
  7. Diabetes patients or those taking sugar control drugs, please be aware that they may enhance the effect of the drug and cause hypoglycemia
  8. Animal studies have pointed out that excessive doses of testosterone may cause a decrease in testosterone, which may affect reproductive ability (but it has not been confirmed by human clinical studies)
  9. Do not use it with drugs (curcumin may affect the Cytochrome P450 enzyme system in the first stage of detoxification of the liver, causing many drugs to fail to metabolize smoothly). There have been cases of acute liver injury. Note 2
  10. Patients with coagulopathy or taking anticoagulant drugs should not use it, there is a risk of bruising and bleeding, related drugs such as warfarin, platelet inhibitor drugs (clopidogrel) and aspirin
  11. Avoid using it 2 weeks before or after surgery (Turmeric has anticoagulant effect)


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