Health Benefits Of Curcumin

About curcumin

What is curcumin?

Curcumin is the substance responsible for the yellowish-orange color of turmeric (Curcuma longa), which is a root plant belonging to the ginger family. For ages, turmeric has been used for culinary, beauty, and medicinal purposes, due to the curcumin component.

Turmeric is also the major ingredient in curry that is widely used as a dietary spice.

This flavor-filled spice is primarily cultivated from the rhizomes or roots of a flowering plant that grows in India and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Found in turmeric is curcumin, a polyphenolic chemical constituent that has been recognized and used worldwide in many different forms for multiple potential health benefits.

Curcumin has two related compounds: demethoxycurcumin and bis-demethoxycurcumin (curcuminoids), which are the main secondary metabolites of Curcuma longa and other Curcuma spp. However, curcumin is the most important active component in turmeric responsible for most of turmeric’s useful properties.

Sources of curcumin

Only a few foods contain curcumin naturally, which is because it is only found in plants specifically from the ginger family. You can tell how much curcumin is in a plant from the characteristic yellowish-orange color. The more curcumin is present in a plant, the darker the shade.

Below are the sources of curcumin:


The plant with the highest amount of curcumin is turmeric. As a matter of fact, curcumin is the main compound found in turmeric, but it also contains various curcuminoids, each of which has its distinct properties.

The rhizome, or stem, of the turmeric plant, is the most beneficial part of it. The stem can be consumed fresh, grated, dried, or powdered. In some grocery stores, turmeric is frequently sold both as a root and as a ground spice. In order to intensify the yellow color of dishes like butter and mustard, turmeric is also employed as a food coloring.

Mango Ginger

This is another member of the ginger family that is not so common. The white flesh and irregularly branched rhizomes give it the appearance of ginger, but it is not ginger. It has the rich sweet flavor of raw mango.

Mango ginger, however, is not even near to mango or ginger. But mango ginger only contains a faint yellow core, in contrast to the rich yellow tissue of turmeric.

According to studies, mango ginger has been found to contain curcumin, but in lesser amounts than the curcumin found in turmeric. It also has many culinary and therapeutic uses.

Curry Powder

Curry powder is a common spice used in cooking, and as earlier stated, turmeric (which has curcumin in high amounts) is responsible for the characteristic color of curry powder. Curry powder is a mixture of different spices, with turmeric as the major component.

Curcumin health benefits

  1. Curcumin is a good anti-inflammatory agent

Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting intruders like pathogens, bacteria, viruses, etc. It contributes to the healing process of the body and makes one know that something is wrong. This is known as acute inflammation, which is beneficial and lasts for a short period, with signs like redness, pain, heat, and swelling.

In some cases, however, the body can mistakenly perceive its own cells or tissues as harmful. This reaction is called chronic inflammation and can lead to health conditions and diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and various degenerative conditions.

Curcumin has been studied and proven to improve and combat chronic inflammation by blocking NF-κB activation increased by several different inflammatory stimuli. Curcumin has also been shown to suppress inflammation through many different mechanisms thereby supporting its mechanism of action as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Due to poor bioavailability, which stems from poor absorption, rapid metabolism, and rapid elimination, ingesting curcumin by itself does not confer the associated health benefits.

It is possible to increase the bioavailability of curcumin with several components. For example, piperine is the major active component of black pepper and, when combined in a complex with curcumin, has been shown to increase bioavailability by up to 2000%.

2. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant

Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize or fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are compounds that are constantly being formed in your body that can cause harm quickly if their levels become too high. At high levels, free radicals cause various illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. 

In balanced levels, free radicals serve important functions that are essential for health, like helping the body fight infections.

This means that your body needs to maintain a certain balance of free radicals and antioxidants because when free radicals outnumber antioxidants, it can lead to a state called oxidative stress.

Your DNA and other vital bodily molecules can be harmed by prolonged oxidative stress. Occasionally, cell death can result from it.

To fight free radicals, your body has its own antioxidant defenses, but since free radicals are so widespread, you should consume enough antioxidants to disarm them.

The food we eat, especially fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based, whole foods, also contain antioxidants. A number of vitamins, including vitamins E and C, work well as antioxidants.

Due to the chemical makeup of curcumin, it is a strong antioxidant that has the ability to neutralize free radicals. Curcumin may also enhance the activity of other antioxidants while blocking the effects of free radicals, according to studies. In addition, curcumin is a lipophilic compound, which makes it an efficient scavenger of peroxyl radicals, therefore, like vitamin E, curcumin is also considered a chain-breaking antioxidant.

3. Curcumin can improve cognitive ability and prevent brain diseases

Decreased BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) protein levels have been associated with several common brain illnesses, including depression and Alzheimer's disease.

BDNF plays a role in memory and learning and promotes the survival of nerve cells. 

Animal studies have demonstrated that curcumin may increase BDNF levels in the brain (17, 18).

This means that curcumin is effective in boosting memory and preventing cognitive decline, as well as delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function. However, as these studies were conducted on animals, it's hard to say what the results mean for humans.

4. Curcumin can reduce your risk of developing heart disease

Globally, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Numerous studies have suggested that curcumin exerts a preventive role in the human body against cardiovascular diseases.

Supplementation with curcumin has also been shown to improve endothelial function, which is probably one major benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease. 

Endothelial dysfunction is one of the main causes of heart disease. It happens when your endothelium is unable to control different elements, including blood pressure and blood coagulation.

Other studies also show that curcumin can lead to improvements in heart health. In addition, curcumin can help reverse steps in the process of developing heart disease, ultimately reducing your risk of developing heart disease.

5. Curcumin supplements help with arthritis

As earlier established, curcumin is a good anti-inflammatory agent, which makes it valid that it helps with arthritis which is an inflammatory condition.

Arthritis is a joint condition associated with inflammation, both chronic and acute. Over 250 million individuals are affected by it worldwide, which raises healthcare expenditures, impairs everyday living activities (ADL), and ultimately decreases the quality of life.

Common arthritis conditions are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While there is no cure for them, there are several pharmaceutical options for treatment. Most of them are, however, costly, and come with unpalatable side effects.

This has increased the interest in alternative treatments including herbal remedies and dietary supplements. Several studies have shown the anti-arthritic effects of curcumin in humans with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and were even found to be more effective than anti-inflammatory medication.

Is curcumin good for daily intake?

The recommended dose of curcumin is between 500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day, which makes it okay for curcumin to be taken daily.

What are the side effects of curcumin?

Curcumin has a long-established safety record. For example, according to JECFA (The Joint United Nations and World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives) and EFSA According to the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), curcumin has an Allowable Daily Intake (ADI) of 0–3 mg/kg body weight. There have been several trials on healthy subjects that support the safety and efficacy of curcumin. There have been some side effects reported despite this well-established safety. In a dose-response study, seven subjects receiving 500–12,000 mg experienced diarrhoea, headache, rash, and yellow stools.

How do I take curcumin?

Studies often utilize doses of 500–2,000 mg of curcumin daily, frequently in the form of an extract with a concentration of curcumin that is far higher than that found in foods naturally.

The WHO has determined that the recommended acceptable daily intake (ADI) for curcumin is 1.4 mg per pound (0–3 mg/kg) of body weight. For the vast majority of users looking to reduce arthritis pain and inflammation, or improve overall health, this dosage should be safe and tolerable

Who should not take curcumin?

Although curcumin is believed to be safe for most individuals, a certain group of people may need to avoid taking it in therapeutic doses.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid curcumin supplements. Also, there is not enough research to determine if turmeric supplements are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Curcumin may slow the ability of your blood to clot, which can worsen bleeding problems. 

Curcumin can also cause the gallbladder to contract, and worsen symptoms.

Kidney stones: Curcumin is high in oxalate, which can bind with calcium and cause kidney stone formation.

In diabetes, it may cause blood sugar levels to drop too low.

Curcumin might prevent iron from being absorbed if you are iron deficient.


Curcumin's multiple health benefits have received worldwide attention, primarily due to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The best way to get these benefits from curcumin is to combine it with substances like piperine, which greatly boosts its bioavailability.

People who do not have diagnosed health problems can also benefit from a relatively low dose.


  1. Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: a review of its’ effects on human health. Foods [Internet]. 2017 Oct 22 [cited 2022 Nov 18];6(10):92. Available from:
  1. Curcumin - an overview | ScienceDirect topics [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
  1. Curcuma amada - an overview | ScienceDirect topics [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
  1. Marchio P, Guerra-Ojeda S, Vila JM, Aldasoro M, Victor VM, Mauricio MD. Targeting early atherosclerosis: a focus on oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxid Med Cell Longev [Internet]. 2019 Jul 1 [cited 2022 Nov 18];2019:8563845. Available from:
  1. Panahi Y, Hosseini MS, Khalili N, Naimi E, Simental-Mendía LE, Majeed M, et al. Effects of curcumin on serum cytokine concentrations in subjects with metabolic syndrome: A post-hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Biomed Pharmacother. 2016 Aug;82:578–82.
  1. He Y, Yue Y, Zheng X, Zhang K, Chen S, Du Z. Curcumin, inflammation, and chronic diseases: how are they linked? Molecules. 2015 May 20;20(5):9183–213.
  1. Anand P, Kunnumakkara AB, Newman RA, Aggarwal BB. Bioavailability of curcumin: problems and promises. Mol Pharm. 2007 Dec;4(6):807–18.
  1. Han HK. The effects of black pepper on the intestinal absorption and hepatic metabolism of drugs. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2011 Jun;7(6):721–9.
  1. Menon VP, Sudheer AR. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:105–25.
  1. Priyadarsini KI, Maity DK, Naik GH, Kumar MS, Unnikrishnan MK, Satav JG, et al. Role of phenolic O-H and methylene hydrogen on the free radical reactions and antioxidant activity of curcumin. Free Radic Biol Med. 2003 Sep 1;35(5):475–84.
  1. Mizoguchi Y, Yao H, Imamura Y, Hashimoto M, Monji A. Lower brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels are associated with age-related memory impairment in community-dwelling older adults: the Sefuri study. Sci Rep [Internet]. 2020 Oct 5 [cited 2022 Nov 18];10(1):16442. Available from:
  1. Forouzanfar F, Read MI, Barreto GE, Sahebkar A. Neuroprotective effects of curcumin through autophagy modulation. IUBMB Life. 2020 Apr;72(4):652–64.
  1. Cardiovascular diseases (Cvds) [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
  1. Jiang S, Han J, Li T, Xin Z, Ma Z, Di W, et al. Curcumin as a potential protective compound against cardiac diseases. Pharmacol Res. 2017 May;119:373–83.
  1. Hunter DJ, Schofield D, Callander E. The individual and socioeconomic impact of osteoarthritis. Nat Rev Rheumatol [Internet]. 2014 Jul [cited 2022 Nov 18];10(7):437–41. Available from:
  1. Sahebkar A. Molecular mechanisms for curcumin benefits against ischemic injury. Fertil Steril. 2010 Oct;94(5):e75-76; author reply e77.
  1. Henrotin Y, Priem F, Mobasheri A. Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis: curcumin for osteoarthritis management. Springerplus. 2013 Dec;2(1):56.
  1. Rasyid A, Rahman ARA, Jaalam K, Lelo A. Effect of different curcumin dosages on human gall bladder. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2002;11(4):314–8.
  1. Lao CD, Ruffin MT, Normolle D, Heath DD, Murray SI, Bailey JM, et al. Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006 Mar 17;6:10.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Godswill Samson

BSc, Pharmacology, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Godswill is a budding health writer with a passion for health and wellness. She combines this with her writing skill to educate the public on ways to live fuller and healthier lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818