What are curcumin supplements and do they work?
SUPPLEMENT MANUFACTURERS hype curcumin as an anti-inflammatory that acts as a pain blocker and heart aid
These supplement vendors say curcumin, the active compound in turmeric root, can reduce chronic inflammation that can increase pain and your risk of fatigue, heart disease and irritable bowel syndrome. And, they say, they have the scientific research to back it all up.
But is all of this true?
“The data on curcumin isn’t the strongest, but it does have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” says Brian St. Pierre, RD, a men’s health advise. Studies show that curcumin reduces inflammation linked to IBS, muscle fatigue, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
But dig into those studies and things get… tricky.
Yes, a 2021 review found that curcumin supplementation helped people with inflammatory conditions, especially when used with other drug therapies. But taking a pill once in a while won’t make a difference, says St. Pierre. It is up to you to take the supplement regularly and diligently.
So if you’re the type of person who can form a healthy habit and stick to it, a curcumin supplement may be right for you.
Yes, if you suffer from chronic fatigue and/or pain, IBS, heart problems or diabetes, chances are curcumin can help, but you will want to talk to your doctor before taking it. . Curcumin can disrupt your iron absorption, especially if you take blood thinners, says Shinta Galej, a registered dietitian in New York City.
Just be careful when shopping for a curcumin supplement.
You want a supplement with a recommended dose of 1000mg. And always buy a brand that has third-party certification, like NSF or Informed Choice, to make sure what’s advertised on the label is actually in the product itself.
A version of this article originally appeared in the September 2022 issue of men’s health.
Taylyn Washington-Harmon is health editor at Men’s Health, with previous signings at Health Magazine, SELF and STAT.
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