9 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric (curcumin)

Can you guess my favorite herbal medicine? The one herbal supplement that I prescribe to nearly every patient who walks through my clinic door? One of the most widely studied herbs with a proven safety record and margin that I give to my dog, my daughter and take gads of myself?

If you are a patient of mine you’ve likely guessed it by now. My absolute favorite herbal medicine is the color of the sun and has been shown in studies to be advantageous for nearly every condition that I can think of.

Curcumin is a substance in a family of molecules known as curcuminoids. It is one of the many curcuminoids found in the herb turmeric.



It is important to note that turmeric is quite low in curcumin and what is present is not highly bioavailable. You can eat quite a bit of turmeric without getting a very high dose of curcumin. Adding black pepper to your turmeric will help it absorb. There ARE bioavailable forms of curcumin available. My favorite is Curcumasorb by Pure Encapsulations. Taking turmeric in a capsule is NOT the same thing as taking a bioavailable form of curcumin. Not all curcumin supplements are bioavailable.



You want to look for a bioavailable form or you will be excreting the bulk of the curcumin from your turmeric and/or curcumin supplements. Taking your bioavailable form of curcumin with some fat is also advised as it is fat-soluble.

9 Potent & Proven Health Benefits of Curcumin:

  1. Potent Anti-Inflammatory– Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory powers are well known and well studied. It works and it works well.
  2. Powerful Antioxidant- and also upregulates the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
  3. Anti-Cancer- protective against it and even shown to treat it! Breast cancer and colon cancer have been readily studied, as well as others (see references below).
  4. Arthritis Treatment– It’s been shown to be more effective than the popular NSAID drug Voltaren and much safer!
  5. Safe Antidepressant– Curcumin has been shown to be as effective as Prozac for combating depression. It may also act as an MAO inhibitor (monoamine neurotransmitter inhibitor, like some drugs prescribed for anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia) and modulates serotonin and dopamine.
  6. Brain Protective– Increases BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) as well as decreases oxidative damage in the brain. Also shown to decrease the pathological process of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  7. Stem Cells– The data shows that curcumin is deleterious to cancer stem cells, but safe to normal stem cells. Additionally, curcumin has been shown to help the survival and proliferation of bone marrow stem cells.
  8. Wound Healing– The wound healing properties of curcumin involve it’s ability to enhance granulation tissue formation, collagen deposition, tissue remodeling and wound contraction. I have seen great results with topical use as well as internal use. (Warning: Topical curcumin will stain your skin and clothing a brilliant color gold.)
  9. Good for the Gut– The Western Diet (SAD diet/Standard American Diet) significantly contributes to leaky gut, also known as intestinal barrier dysfunction, which has been shown to lead to the subsequent development of glucose intolerance and atherosclerosis, Curcumin has been shown to be protective in intestinal barrier dysfunction through multiple mechanisms as well as help prevent the development of metabolic diseases.

As you can see, curcumin is abundantly helpful for many things, hence my love for it. It has also been shown to be helpful in doses up to 12,000 mg per day, however most of the studies I’ve seen show it in much lower doses. I dose according to what each patient needs depending on their pain level and constitution, which can vary widely. Please consult your physician for the most appropriate dose for you. A safe and common dose is anywhere between 250-1000 mg/day with food that has fat in it.

If you prefer to use food as your medicine, please see my post on Golden Milk HERE.

Ask your doctor about curcumin! The benefits are abundant 🙂

In health,

Dr. Tyna

P.S. Obviously check with YOUR physician to see if curcumin is safe and helpful for you. I’m only hoping to turn your eyes onto a wonderful and potent herbal medicine. Practice common sense and check with your doc first!


Choudhuri Tathagata, Pal Suman,Agwarwal Munna L, Das Tanya and Sa Gaurisankar(2002), Curcumin induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells through p53-dependent Bax induction, FEBS Letters, 512, doi: 10.1016/S0014-5793(02)02292-5

Chandran, B. and Goel, A. (2012), A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis. Phytother. Res., 26: 1719-1725. doi:10.1002/ptr.4639

Sanmukhani, J., Satodia, V., Trivedi, J., Patel, T., Tiwari, D., Panchal, B., Goel, A. and Tripathi, C. B. (2014), Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytother. Res., 28: 579-585. doi:10.1002/ptr.5025

S.K. Kulkarni, Ashish Dhir, and Kiran Kumar Akula, “Potentials of Curcumin as an Antidepressant,”TheScientificWorldJOURNAL, vol. 9, pp. 1233-1241, 2009. doi:10.1100/tsw.2009.137

Ying Xu, Baoshan Ku, Lu Tie, Haiyan Yao, Wengao Jiang, Xing Ma, Xuejun Li, Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB, Brain Research, Volume 1122, Issue 1, 29 November 2006, Pages 56-64, ISSN 0006-8993

Zhang L, Fang Y, Xu Y, Lian Y, Xie N, Wu T, et al. (2015) Curcumin Improves Amyloid β-Peptide (1-42) Induced Spatial Memory Deficits through BDNF-ERK Signaling Pathway. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0131525. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131525

Peter P. Sordillo and Lawrence Helson. Review: Curcumin and Cancer Stem Cells: Curcumin Has Asymmetrical Effects on Cancer and Normal Stem Cells Anticancer Res February 2015 35 (2) 599-614

Attari F, Zahmatkesh M, Aligholi H, et al. Curcumin as a double-edged sword for stem cells: dose, time and cell type-specific responses to curcumin. DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2015;23(1):33.

Dania Akbik, Maliheh Ghadiri, Wojciech Chrzanowski, Ramin Rohanizadeh, Curcumin as a wound healing agent, Life Sciences, Volume 116, Issue 1, 22 October 2014, Pages 1-7, ISSN 0024-3205, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2014.08.016.


© Dr. Tyna Moore and www.corewellnesspdx.com, 2014-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dr. Tyna Moore and www.corewellnesspdx.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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