Ever since I spent a year in India I’ve loved the sight, the smell and the taste of Turmeric.
Given the basically carbohydrate dominated diet of most Indians, and the shocking state of pollution of their diet staple foods, maybe Turmeric is keeping most of India alive and healthy!
I’m also lucky living here at Byron Bay because turmeric is easy to grow- and the taste of fresh turmeric is simply sensational with a stir fry.
But there is a downside to this wonderful root, and I’m going to explain to you why I DON’T use it exclusively.
But first, let’s explore the GOOD reasons for using turmeric daily.
Turmeric has been shown to combat short term and long term fatigue. Yes, there is a study, carried out here in Australia, and effects were noticed within an hour!
Cholesterol is slowly emerging from its bad boy status’ to being seen as useful and necessary for the body, particularly as fuel for our hormone cascade system. Oxidation of cholesterol therefore is no longer a good thing. Now it’s bad!
Confused? Join the club.
It’s the process of oxidation of cholesterol that causes plaque and plaque is definitely still on the ‘bad boy’ list. Plaque in turn is a forerunner of atherosclerosis and heart disease. This study showed a 33% reduction in oxidized cholesterol and and almost equal increased percentage of good HDL cholesterol. Subjects were given 500mg of curcumin, which is the active ingredient of turmeric.
We never mention cancer unless we can prove what we say. But the number of studies of turmeric’s effect on cancer are growing almost daily. Studies showing positive results include
How does curcumin achieve these results?
- Curcumin can induce apoptosis (natural cell death) in cancer cells.
- Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant.
- Curcumin assists in the destruction of mutated cancer cells
- Curcumin inhibits vascular epithelial growth factors. These are the body’s support systems that supply cancer and keep it ‘healthy’.
Inflammation is the ‘beast in the attic’. We all know about it but we think that if we don’t address it perhaps it will go away. And yet it’s seen by many researchers as the prime precipitator of serious disease conditions, including cancers, type 2 diabetes, brain diseases, arthritis and more.
In one study, three control groups were used, but the one that ONLY took 500mg of curcumin daily fared far better than the other two.
Free Radical Buster
Curcumin has been shown conclusively in study after study to be a powerful antioxidant. I’m not going to bore you with the antioxidant-free radical theory but just remember this point when I reveal to you how something very close in function has a hugely significant advantage over curcumin.
Curcumin’s ability to support the immune system means it has wide ranging effects on many common disease types. Immunity means you don’t GET the disease in the first place. So if we have adequate immunity we have a built in fully armed army of defenders against things(all subject to studies) like Alzheimers, Heart disease, Diabetes, and even cancers.
As frequent readers here know, I had my own run-in with incipient Alzheimers and I firmly believe that my health regime is still holding back the effects I experienced in 2007. I’m a big fan and reader of Dr Dave Perlmutter who wrote the wonderful book, Grain Brain, linking our grain based diet to mental deterioration. In his work he discusses the results of studies showing Curcumin’s beneficial effect on amyloid plaque, the foundation symptom of Alzheimers. Newest research on Alzheimers suggests that plaque begins at least 15 years before symptoms appear and so anything we can incorporate into our diet to reduce or halt the slow growth of amyloid plaque makes me very excited. Here’s one summary of experiments. In the summary the scientists involved state:
“ All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia was not seen.”
If you are incorporating something in your diet that has strong pain relief through any means such as inflammation management, then you also have a strategy that make arthritis more livable.
Turmeric in the form of curcumin has the ability to support enzyme production. The liver relies on adequate supplies of specific enzymes to be able to carry out its ongoing blood detox function.
In another study of 60 depressed volunteers Curcumin was found to be as effective as Prozac!
Yet another study, this one published by the American Diabetes association, used 240 volunteers, all termed prediabetes. After 40 weeks, 16.4% of the placebo group had ‘advanced’ to Type 2 Diabetes. Those on curcumin had NO advancement to Type 2.
Of course, this has to be seen in perspective. For instance, this study shows that replacing one sugary drink with either water, unsweetened tea or coffee can lower the risk of developing diabetes by between 14 percent and 25 percent.
Just to be clear, it’s curcumin, not just turmeric that is used in these studies, so your choice of method of accessing the benefits of turmeric will involve whether you want to eat lots of turmeric or buy curcumin supplements. You will have a very hard time getting enough curcumin simply by adding turmeric to your diet, and even if you decide to supplement with curcumin, care is required because so many brands are.. well, useless!
Curcumin has been shown to have a number of therapeutic actions in the body, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and to be safe at high doses (up to 12g/day). However the body’s ability to utilise it is poor; this is due to its low absorption, rapid metabolism and rapid excretion; resulting in low plasma and tissue levels of curcumin.
In fact, it is so poorly absorbed that studies using unadulterated curcumin rarely progress beyond the test tube. There have been many attempts to increase the body’s ability to utilise curcumin. Many of these techniques have increased bioavailability, but are prohibitively expensive and the required dose is still high, up to 2g/day.
Then there is conjecture as to which particular parts of curcumin are the most effective. It has long been thought that just the curcuminoids were the essential part; however recent studies have suggested that concentrating the curcuminoids and adding them back to turmeric oil may increase the bioavailability.
The Missing Link
I mentioned to you why I have chosen NOT to depend on Turmeric or a curcumin supplement and what I choose that gives me all of the benefits – and more. The heading of this article is ‘Turmeric, Curcumin and Hydrogen. The Missing Link’. So far I haven’t mentioned molecular hydrogen, and yes, that IS the ‘Missing Link’.
Let’s first finish off our description of turmeric and curcumin.
Yes, curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, and supplements are available. They have been necessary because as I said earlier, absorption and utilization levels of turmeric in its original form are very low. Very, very low. So the scientists have got together to extract curcumin from raw turmeric, and as I also mentioned, if you are serious about gaining the sort of benefits I have listed, you will need to buy a supplement. And our own research on what supplement to buy will be very handy, because we’ve looked at the fact that many supplement are still plagued with low absorbability rates. But.. the recommended dosage of curcumin for best effect is TWO GRAMS a day! I couldn’t do that. Too much.
Now here’s the missing link.
Turmeric creates molecular hydrogen in the body.
The big question, then, is what causes the benefits we’ve spoken about.
Just as curcumin has many studies showing health benefits, so does molecular hydrogen. It’s as big a ‘rockstar’ in the supplement world as curcumin in numbers of new studies and studied disease types. It’s just not as publicised, probably because of Western science establishment’s apparent bias against anything from Japan, the home of H2 research for over a decade.
Now.. let’s connect the dots.
If turmeric causes the production of H2 in the body, is it the turmeric itself, or the H2 that is causing the spectacular results? There is only one clue in this study, which says:
“Curry with turmeric significantly increased the area under the curve of breath hydrogen and shortened small-bowel transit time, compared with curry not containing turmeric. These results suggested that dietary turmeric activated bowel motility and carbohydrate colonic fermentation.’
The truth is, we don’t know. But there’s an eerie similarity between the results of studies on molecular hydrogen to studies we’ve already looked at.
molecular hydrogen has very similar effects as curcumin. We now have some quite amazing stories from users on file who have lifted more weights, run further and faster, and experienced a complete lack of exercise afterburn. (Also exhaustion, tiredness, languidness, languor, lassitude, and listlessness) is a subjective feeling of tiredness which is distinct from weakness, and has a gradual onset. Though there are many causes of fatigue, the underlying physiological mechanism is almost always a decrease in mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the part of almost every cell that creates energy, in the form of ATP, so the cell can function. Poor mitochondrial function can also lead to using anaerobic energy generation which leads to lactic acid build up and acidosis. molecular hydrogen studies indicate that it may be an ideal antioxidant molecule for oxidative stress in the mitochondria due to its small size. It is one of the very few, if not only antioxidant molecules that can reach the inside of the mitochondria. By measuring oxygen consumption and CO2 production, scientists have been able to conclude that consumption of H2 enhances our energy metabolism. This may also relate to fat loss through burning energy more efficiently. Long-term drinking H2-water has been shown to significantly control fat and body weight, despite no change in the amount of water consumed. Drinking molecular hydrogen infused water decreased levels of plasma glucose, insulin, and triglyceride, the effect similar to diet restriction.
molecular hydrogen isn’t just an anti-oxidation strategy. Yes, it’s a powerful antioxidant in its own right, but it also supports our body’s natural antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase. And wait, there’s more, but I’ll leave that until you go down the list to antioxidants. Here’s one study that examines the beneficial effect of molecular hydrogen on oxidation in the brain. (Being the smallest molecule in the universe means it can easily penetrate the body/brain barrier.)
- Homocysteine reduction
If you are serious about reducing homocysteine levels, folate, B6 and B12 will do a much better job than curcumin. molecular hydrogen has not been studied for this yet.
There are a number of studies showing positive outcomes using hydrogen rich water for various cancers including this one:
molecular hydrogen has shown itself to be an outstanding performer as an anti inflammatory agent by itself. It also supports the body’s natural inflammation cycle. We’ve received simply amazing stories form users, but the most common one is the absence of ‘day after’ pain following a hard training session or football game. Chronic long term pain has also been reduced in humans through the ingestion of molecular hydrogen..
A number of studies show that molecular hydrogen isn’t your run-of-the-mill antioxidant. It possesses a unique capability that I’ve never seen in any other antioxidant including curcumin. Few people realise that we have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ free radicals. The ‘good’ ones are our tiny janitors, basically cleaning up the mess left over from our normal daily metabolism. Our ‘bad’ one in particular is the Hydroxyl radical. molecular hydrogen does not neutralize the good free radicals but when it finds a ‘bad’ hydroxyl radical, it unites with it, creating a new molecule of H2O. The problem seldom spoken of with most antioxidants is that when they find a free radical, the resulting reaction may neutralize that particular free radical, but creates new, possibly worse ones as a result of the reaction.
molecular hydrogen supports our cell signaling system. This is our body’s communication matrix, without which nothing works properly because nothing ‘talks to each other’. Conversely, a properly functioning cell signaling system means your body functions to its maximum, responding quickly and efficiently to any and all threats.
Rat studies show molecular hydrogen inhibits signalling pathways in animal models of amyloid-beta-induced Alzheimer’s disease. In the rat model of Alzheimer’s disease, hydrogen-rich saline prevented neuro inflammation, oxidative stress and improved memory. Here’s the link.
- Cognitive Function/ Neurodegeneration
Declining cognitive function is often considered a precursor to the development of serious neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, senile dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Due to its ability to easily cross the blood brain barrier, molecular hydrogen is an ideal consideration to assist the health and wellbeing of those with Parkinson’s disease. Administration of saturated hydrogen water led to symptomatic improvement in PD patients.
The liver detoxifies and is therefore an accumulator of oxidative stress. Studies indicate that H2 significantly reduces oxidative stress – even to normal healthy levels. When fat accumulates in the liver, it often leads to inflammation and actual liver damage. Studies indicate that H2 inhibits signalling pathways in acute liver injury and also inhibits fatty acid uptake and lipid accumulation in the liver.
Molecular hydrogen has been tested to show protection of the fine hairs inside the ear that receive sound and transfer it into brain signals. It also showed that it can reduce damage caused by excess noise.
And now.. there’s more!
- Weight Loss
Obesity is always an inflammatory state. One of molecular hydrogen’s 3 big effects is reported as anti-inflammatory. Studies show supplementation of hydrogen-rich water improves lipid and glucose metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. molecular hydrogen Improves Obesity and Diabetes by Inducing Hepatic FGF21 and Stimulating Energy Metabolism.
H2 has been shown to protect the lungs from oxygen toxicity. It even protects the lungs against radiation damage.
- Heart Health
A number of studies show that H2 reduces the effect of serious heart surgery.
This study demonstrates the beneficial effect of H2 on pancreatitis. Studies of rats with acute pancreatitis treated with molecular hydrogen indicated that it has a protective effect against pancreatitis, and the effect may be due to its ability to inhibit oxidative stress, reduce cell death, decrease inflammation and to promote proliferation of healthy cells.
This study highlights the correlation of h2 and exercise as a therapy for kids. Now H2 is really beginning to look like turmeric on steroids!
Hydrogen attenuates allergies by its ability to increase cell signalling ability, and decrease inflammatory and oxidant reactions.
- GI Health
Studies so far on Molecular Hydrogen’s effect on the Gastro Intestinal Tract have shown a reduction of symptoms and indicators of damage in serious health conditions. This indicates a potential role in reducing the symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, reduced liver function and Pancreatitis.
Yes, Turmeric is a good spice and it is a healthy spice. But it’s not going to save your life because the main ingredient is in short supply if you only eat turmeric.
Curcumin is the active ingredient, the secret of turmeric. But you’ll need a whopping 2 grams a day and that’s going to cost you a packet!
molecular hydrogen is a tasteless odourless, lighter-than-air gas delivered in water. There is no known reason for its effectiveness but head to head, it trounces turmeric and curcumin! It’s also very easy to get enough. Most people either use a hydrogen rich water filter, or a dissolvable magnesium based tablet. There’s much more detailed info on the wonder of molecular hydrogen here.