Curcumin & Weight Loss: Is There a Connection?
Turmeric has celebrity status as a delicious cooking spice packed with a plethora of health benefits that you likely know about. Yet, it’s the curucminoids in turmeric that gives this spice it’s powerful punch. Curcumin is a well known free radical fighter, promotes a healthy inflammatory response, and supports your immune system.
There’s new research that suggests curcumin may have another impressive health benefit: promoting weight loss. While this research is still new, it’s promising. I’m going to talk more about this research later, however it’s been awhile since I’ve discussed curcumin so let’s go over what curcumin is, it’s benefits, and why the liposomal version is the best way to get all the benefits of this mighty spice.
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is one of the three main active compounds, or curcuminoids, that give turmeric its bright yellow color, alongside demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethozycurcumin.1 Turmeric is only about 5% curcuminoids, however, curcumin makes up 90% of the curcuminoid content in turmeric.
Turmeric has a long history of use in eastern medicine. It has been used topically on the skin for wounds, acne, and parasitic infections; administered orally for colds and urinary tract diseases; and even inhaled for chronic rhinitis and inflammation in the nose due to hay fever.2
Turmeric is used in curries in India, as an antiseptic in Malaysia, served in drinks in Korea, and added to cheese, butter, and mustard for color in the U.S.3
Since there is a very low concentration of curcuminoids in turmeric, it’s very difficult to get any of the benefits of curcumin unless you spend all day eating turmeric. Even if you do that, you likely won’t be able to get enough. Consuming the extract in the form of a supplement is the best way to enjoy the benefits of curcumin. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you about a delicious way to enjoy this powerful spice and get optimal amounts to reap its benefits later. So what are the benefits of curcumin?
Health Benefits of Curcumin
The list of curcumin benefits is a long one! Curcumin supports a healthy inflammatory response and promotes optimal cognitive function. It also supports your cardiovascular system as well as healthy blood pressure. In addition, it enhances your overall health even if you’re dealing with a chronic illness such as autoimmune disease or arthritis. So how does curcumin do all that? Well, let me tell you.
Curcumin is a Free Radical Fighter
In small amounts, free radicals serve important functions such as detoxification and healing wounds. However, too much of a good thing can be bad. Chronic stress can lead to increased levels of free radicals that create oxidative stress, which can lead to heart disease.
Research shows curcumin is a free radical-fighting powerhouse. It has an oxygen radiance absorbency capacity (ORAC) score of 1,500,000! That’s far superior to almost any other common antioxidant out there. Curcumin acts in a number of different ways to fight free radicals, including:
- Increasing the activity of antioxidants in your body, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH) and lipid peroxides.
- Assists in scavenging various forms of free radicals, including reactive oxygen and nitrogen species.5
- Helps inhibit certain enzymes, such as lipoxygenase/cyclooxygenase and xanthine hydrogenase/oxidase.6
- Boosts the breaking apart of free radicals so they can be transported out of your body as waste.
There is so much more to curcumin! Aside from being a free radical fighter, curcumin supports healthy inflammation levels, optimal cognitive function.
Curcumin Promotes a Healthy Inflammatory Response
Inflammation is the root cause of a very long list of chronic diseases and conditions. It plays a key role in Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, depression, and fatigue. It is involved in nearly every modern chronic illness, including many autoimmune diseases. In fact, the more inflammation you have, the further along the autoimmune spectrum you’re likely to be.
Many people turn to NSAIDs such as Motrin®, Advil®, and Aleve® to fight inflammation. However, these can promote ulcers and bleeding in the stomach. They can also damage the gut microbiome by killing off the beneficial bacteria in your gut, causing even more inflammation.
To fight inflammation at its source, I first recommend changing your diet and lifestyle, including eating anti-inflammatory foods, repairing your gut, reducing your toxic burden, healing your infections, and relieving your stress.
Curcumin Supports Brain Health
There is growing evidence of the benefits curcumin has on brain health. Recent studies have shown that it inhibits the formation of amyloid protein in the brain, which is prevalent in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, including depression.
You may know that your brain releases endorphins when you exercise and that endorphins make you happy. Your brain also has a powerful protein that supports healthy nerve cell growth and maintenance called BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This protein promotes memory formation and storage, and it also can boost your mood.7
Think of BDNF as fertilizer for the brain.
A natural way to boost BDNF is through continuous exercise. Endorphins give you an instant rush of happiness. However, BDNF levels increase with constant exercise that gets your heart pumping. In recent studies, curcumin has been found to increase brain levels of BDNF.8
By doing this, it can promote a healthy brain response to stress and anxiety.
Curcumin and Autoimmune Disease
Curcumin supports a healthy inflammatory response, a healthy immune system, and healthy aging without the gut-damaging side effects of popular over-the-counter remedies such as NSAIDs.
It can positively impact the expression of genes that regulate systemic inflammation, which is a major factor in anyone with autoimmunity. Inflammation is at the root of nearly every modern chronic disease, including autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. That is why I recommended curcumin to all of my autoimmune patients.
Those are the benefits that are widely known and are more understood every day, however, can curcumin really help you reach an optimal weight?
Does Curcumin Promote Weight Loss?
If you’ve changed your diet and started working out to lose weight, and not seeing the results you need there could be something you haven’t considered hindering them – inflammation.
A recent study shows obesity is associated with the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.9 This leads to a chronic state of inflammation in your gut, wreaking havoc on your health and metabolism.
Your adipose tissue, or body fat, secrete the hormones leptin and adiponectin. Leptin assists in appetite regulation and fat storage. Adiponectin has anti-inflammatory effects, helps regulate your metabolism, and protects against insulin resistance.10
Excess body fat can increase leptin levels and decrease adiponectin levels. This may cause adipose tissue dysfunction and chronic low-grade inflammation. Since inflammation and obesity are linked, this makes losing weight challenging.
What’s more, the foods you eat may be what’s behind that inflammation. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve heard me discuss gluten and dairy, and why everyone should remove them from their diets. Gluten and dairy are the most inflammatory foods you can eat. Many people have sensitivities to these foods and don’t know it.
There is good news. Research shows curcumin could improve the inflammatory markers linked with obesity.11 A new study published reveals curcumin dramatically reduced weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference (WC).12 What’s especially notable is that all of the over 1,600 subjects were suffering from metabolic syndrome and related disorders, factors that typically hinder weight loss.
There’s no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise when it comes to losing weight. However, if you’re not seeing the results you want it could be due to inflammation in your gut.
The Problem with Turmeric Supplements
Because there’s so little curcumin in turmeric, most turmeric supplements on the market have very low percentages of the useful bioactive compounds that offer all of turmeric’s wonderful health benefits.
Even if the supplements do contain the correct bioactive compounds, curcumin is famous for its poor absorption, biodistribution, metabolism, and bioavailability. What little can be absorbed is almost always metabolized by your liver before it can do any good.
With traditional supplements, the desirable nutrients are not in a form that can survive digestion. These inferior types of curcumin are very likely to be oxidized, neutralized, and even expelled before your body can utilize this powerful supplement. That’s why I recommend a liposomal form of curcumin.
Why the Liposomal Curcumin is Better
Since curcumin is fat-soluble, taking it in liposomal form provides your body with the lipids curcumin needs in order to enhance bioavailability. That’s why I formulated Liposomal Curcumin, the most bioavailable curcumin on the market today. And it tastes great – like an orange popsicle!
The curcumin is wrapped in liposomes made of healthy fats, which exponentially increases the rate of curcumin absorption. The micelle liposomal form used in this blend is easily absorbed by your body and resists breaking down for maximum systemic potency.
With a potency of 500mg of real, naturally extracted curcumin per serving, Liposomal Curcumin is already miles ahead of other curcumin supplements on the market. Liposomal Curcumin is liquid curcumin that provides you the best way to absorb curcumin. Liposomal Curcumin solves the problem of poor absorbability and bioavailability by surrounding the curcumin molecule with a thin layer of healthy fat from omega-9 sunflower oil rich in phosphatidylcholine.
This micelle ‘pocket’ creates a liposome that is both readily absorbed by your intestinal lining, as well as protected from metabolism by your liver so that it may travel freely throughout your body to the cells and tissues that need it the most.
Liposomal Curcumin has always been my first choice for supporting a healthy inflammatory response. I recommend everyone include it in their diets. This new research on curcumin’s impact on weight loss is promising when you consider inflammation’s role in obesity.
- Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa. A preclinical and clinical research. Julie Jurenka. Research Gate. 2009.
- Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa). Nita Chainani-Wu. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine vol. 9. 2003.
- Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health. Susan J. Hewlings and Douglas S. Kalman. Foods vol 8. 2017.
- Free Radicals: Definition, Causes, Antioxidants, and Cancer. Lynne Eldridge, MD. Very Well Health. 2020.
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Venugopal P Menon and Adluri Ram Sudheer. Advances in experimental medicine and biology vol. 595 . 2007.
- Curcumin inhibits tumor growth and angiogenesis in ovarian carcinoma by targeting the nuclear factor-kappaB pathway. Yvonne G Lin, et al. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research vol. 13. 2007.
- Anti-inflammatory drug and gut bacteria have a dynamic interplay. Science Daily. 2016.
- The best drugs for depression and memory. Dr. Jeremy Schmoe. The Functional Neurology Center. 2018.
- Inflammatory Cytokines in General and Central Obesity and Modulating Effects of Physical Activity. Frank M Schmidt, et al. PloS one . 2015.
- Adiponectin as a Target in Obesity-related Inflammatory State. Koji Ohashi, et al. Endocrine, metabolic & immune disorders drug targets vol. 15. 2015.
- Curcumin and obesity. Peter G Bradford. BioFactors vol 39. 2013.
- The Effects of Curcumin on Weight Loss Among Patients With Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Maryam Akbari, et al. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2019.
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