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Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with the curry spice, Turmeric, and to a lesser extent Ginger. It is a small molecule that is the prototypical 'Curcuminoid', and has effects similar to other Polyphenols but unique in a way as it is a different class of Polyphenol (relative to the other classes of 'flavonoid', 'stilbene', etc.)
Curcumin exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects, and these anti-inflammatory effects seem to be quite powerful in cancer prevention. Additionally, research has found it to have cancer fighting potential, effects that are independent of its anti-inflammatory effects and thus is a heavily researched molecule for both cancer prevention and treatment.
Other areas of interest as it pertains to Curcumin are alleviating cognitive decline associated with aging, being heart healthy by both electrical means and reducing lipid and plaque levels in arteries, and both reducing the risk of diabetes and being a good treatment for the side-effects associated with diabetes.
It has a poor oral bioavailability (a low percentage of what you consume is absorbed) and thus should be enhanced with other agents such as black pepper extract, called Piperine. This is unless you want the Curcumin in your colon (as it is a colon anti-inflammatory and can help with digestion), in which case you wouldn't pair it with an enhancement.
* Dried root: 1 – 3 g per day
* Standardized powder (Curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
* Fluid extract (1:1): 30 – 90 drops a day
* Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day
* Cut root: This is basically fresh turmeric, it will have moisture too in it. Cut root is great to make pickles and adding to salads.
* Dried root: This is the most common way of using turmeric. This is how turmeric spice / powder is made – by drying cut root and then making a powder. Drying will cause loss of moisture and maybe of some beneficial aspects of turmeric, but no serious damage is done.
* Standardized powder (Curcumin): This is basically what we call as supplements. Supplement manufacturers extract Curcumin from turmeric and then concentrate it to make standardized powders. These are then sold as turmeric supplements in the market. Based on the brand the concentration may change.
You can safely take up to 3,000 mg of Turmeric extract daily if needed. Most get all the benefit they need with 750 mg. Turmeric Extract (95% curcuminoids) 750 mg 3-times per day.