Curcumin: Nutrition Facts, Medicinal Health Benefits, Side Effects

Curcumin occurs naturally and primarily resides in the rhizomes, or roots, of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa). It imparts the vibrant yellow color to turmeric and has been a staple in various traditional medicine systems for centuries, notably in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. This is a bright-yellow color substance mainly present in turmeric. It is very good for liver health when consumed along with normal diet as Curcuminoids prevent the increases in liver enzymes, SGOT and SGPT. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective and hepatoprotective properties. This is why turmeric is a main ingredient in all Indian recipes. It works great for cholesterol-lowering by increasing the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids and increasing the excretion of bile acids via its cholesteric effects.

Curcumin Nutrition Facts and Calories Chart

Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in the spice turmeric. It has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It is known for its many health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving brain function, and helping to prevent certain chronic diseases. On a nutritional level, it is low in calories but contains a good amount of dietary fiber, iron, manganese, vitamin B6, and potassium. It is also a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols, which can help protect your cells from free radical damage. In addition, curcumin has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, making it an excellent supplement to add to your diet. Nutritional value per 100 g curcumin:

  • Biotin: 0 mcg
  • Calcium: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates (Carbs): 28.7 g
  • Chloride: 0 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Choline: 0 mg
  • Chromium: 0 mcg
  • Copper: 0.6 mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.3 g
  • Energy (Calories): 364 kcal
  • Fat: 6.4 g
  • Iodine: 0 mcg
  • Iron: 6.1 mg
  • Magnesium: 95 mg
  • Manganese: 0.9 mg
  • Molybdenum: 0 mcg
  • Pantothenic Acid: 0.3 mg
  • Phosphorus: 117 mg
  • Potassium: 738 mg
  • Protein: 7.7 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.3 g
  • Selenium: 0 mcg
  • Sodium: 22 mg
  • Sugars: 0.7 g
  • Vitamin A: 0 IU
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2.6 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.3 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 0 mcg
  • Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0 IU
  • Vitamin E: 1.3 mg
  • Vitamin K: 0 mcg
  • Water: 6.3 g
  • Zinc: 0.7 mg

Curcumin Health Benefits

Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory component found in the spice turmeric. In Ayurvedic medicine which originated in India, turmeric has a long history of use as a medicine for pain and inflammation. But the spice doesn’t pack the punch of curcumin supplements. Take 300 milligrams three times a day of a supplement standardized to contain 95% curcumin.

Home Remedies with Turmeric

  • To treat bursitis and tendinitis, try curcumin. It is the active ingredient in turmeric, an Indian spice that’s a key ingredient in curry. While turmeric boasts a venerable reputation as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent, it appears that curcumin is the real worker, inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds in the body involved in the transmission of pain signals. Take 400 to 500 milligrams of the extract three times a day.
  • For phlebitis, curcumin (400-600 mg a day) is prescribed with bromelain and anticoagulants. Once the clot is dissolved, the patient is asked to continue bromelain and curcumin up to three months.
  • Curcumin is a phytochemical found specifically in turmeric. It has anti inflammatory properties and is associated with reduced joint pain and stiffness. For gallbladder problems, take a product standardized to contain 150 mg of curcumin with each meal. It has anti-inflammatory properties, improves bile flow, and relaxes the bile duct. It also helps to improve liver infection.
  • Turn ringworm away with turmeric. It’s not clear why turmeric should work so well on a fungal skin problem, but Asians have long used this spice to fight ringworm. Stir enough water into a teaspoon or two of powdered turmeric to make a paste. Smear it on the affected area and cover it with a bandage or piece of gauze. After 20 minutes to an hour, remove it. You can repeat this three or four times a day, but stop the treatment if turmeric irritates your skin.
  • Curcumin is a food substance associated with decreased inflammation, which may also benefit the symptoms of fibromyalgia. For rheumatoid arthritis 400-600 mg a day is recommended; in sciatica 250-500 mg three times a day.

How to Get More Curcumin?

  • Turmeric in Cooking: One of the easiest ways to consume curcumin is by incorporating turmeric into your cooking. Turmeric powder can be added to a variety of dishes, including curries, soups, stir-fries, rice, smoothies, and even teas. Combining turmeric with black pepper may enhance the absorption of curcumin due to the presence of piperine, a compound found in black pepper. Using fresh turmeric root is another option. You can grate or finely chop the root and add it to dishes much like you would with ginger.
  • Supplements: For those looking to ensure a consistent intake of curcumin, supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, and liquid extracts. Supplements often contain higher concentrations of curcuminoids compared to turmeric powder, making them a convenient option for individuals seeking specific health benefits.
Tips for Choosing High-Quality Curcumin Supplements

It’s important to note that curcumin has relatively low bioavailability when consumed in its natural form. However, certain formulations and additives can enhance its absorption. Some supplements include ingredients such as piperine (black pepper extract) or liposomal formulations, which can increase the bioavailability of curcumin in the body.

  • Look for Standardized Extracts: Opt for supplements that contain standardized extracts with a high concentration of curcuminoids (usually 95% curcuminoids). This ensures you’re getting a potent product.
  • Check for Bioavailability Enhancers: Choose supplements that include ingredients like piperine or formulations designed to improve curcumin absorption.
  • Consider Formulation: Select a form of supplement that suits your preferences and lifestyle, whether it’s capsules, tablets, powders, or liquid extracts.
  • Research Brands: Choose reputable brands that adhere to high-quality manufacturing practices and third-party testing to ensure purity and potency.
  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you’re unsure about which supplement is right for you or if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before starting supplementation.

Side Effects and Precautions

May cause heartburn in some people.


Q. What is curcumin chemically?

It belongs to a class of compounds known as curcuminoids, which are polyphenolic pigments. It is the most active and well-researched component of turmeric, comprising approximately 2-8% of its total dry weight. Chemically, it is a polyphenol derived from the rhizomes of the turmeric plant. Its chemical structure consists of two aromatic rings joined by a seven-carbon linker containing two methoxy (-OCH3) groups and two phenolic hydroxyl (-OH) groups, giving it its characteristic properties.

Q. Can Curcumin Cure Cancer?

Some advance research says that, turmeric, which is 90 – 95 % curcumin can inhibit HIV infection and can also helps cancer prevention. Take 400 mg of curcumin extract three times daily on an empty stomach. This extract from turmeric has many different anticancer effects. Note that, it can be safely used in conjunction with conventional treatment and we do not encourage you to stop any existing treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Some clinical trials shows effects against various diseases including colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Q. Which is better for health – turmeric root or curcumin?

Turmeric root contains various compounds, including curcumin, along with other bioactive substances such as turmerones and polysaccharides. In traditional cooking and herbal medicine, people have used turmeric root for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and digestive properties. It provides a spectrum of health benefits beyond curcumin alone. Curcumin, found in turmeric, is the primary bioactive compound responsible for many of its health benefits. It exhibits potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. However, people often take curcumin in supplement form with bioavailability enhancers like piperine (found in black pepper) to improve absorption because its bioavailability is relatively low when consumed alone.

Q. What are the effects of curcumin on osteoarthritis?

Curcumin has been studied for its potential therapeutic effects on osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease characterized by inflammation and cartilage breakdown. Research suggests that it may help alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some key effects on osteoarthritis include:

  • Anti-inflammatory Activity: Research has shown that curcumin inhibits inflammatory pathways and reduces the production of inflammatory molecules involved in joint inflammation, thus helping alleviate pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.
  • Antioxidant Effects: Curcumin exhibits potent antioxidant properties, which may help protect joint tissues from oxidative damage and slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
  • Cartilage Protection: Studies suggest that curcumin may help preserve cartilage integrity by inhibiting enzymes that contribute to cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis.
Q. Are there any drug interactions with curcumin?

Yes, it can potentially interact with certain medications. Here are some examples of drug interactions to be aware of:

  • Blood Thinners (Anticoagulants/Antiplatelet Drugs): It may enhance the effects of blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), and others. Taking curcumin alongside these medications may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising. It’s essential to monitor your blood clotting parameters closely if you are combining curcumin with blood thinners.
  • Medications that Reduce Stomach Acid (Proton Pump Inhibitors and H2 Blockers): It may increase stomach acid production, which could potentially counteract the effects of medications used to reduce stomach acid, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), ranitidine (Zantac), and famotidine (Pepcid). Taking curcumin with these medications may reduce their effectiveness in managing conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or peptic ulcers.
  • Diabetes Medications: It may lower blood sugar levels and enhance the effects of medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents like metformin or sulfonylureas. If you are taking diabetes medications, monitor your blood sugar levels closely when using curcumin to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Medications Metabolized by the Liver (Cytochrome P450 Substrates): It may interfere with the activity of certain enzymes in the liver responsible for metabolizing drugs, potentially affecting the effectiveness and metabolism of medications metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system. Examples of medications in this category include statins, certain antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before combining curcumin with these medications.
  • Certain Chemotherapy Drugs: Some studies suggest that it may interfere with the activity of certain chemotherapy drugs. While research in this area is ongoing, it’s important for individuals undergoing chemotherapy to discuss the use of curcumin or other supplements with their oncologist to avoid potential interactions or adverse effects.
Q. Can curcumin help with depression?

While research is still ongoing, there is evidence to suggest that it may offer some benefits. Some studies suggest that it may have neuroprotective properties, helping to support brain health and function. It may promote the growth of new neurons and enhance levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that is crucial for neuroplasticity and mood regulation. Curcumin may also modulate neurotransmitter levels in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine, which play key roles in regulating mood. By influencing neurotransmitter activity, it could potentially have antidepressant effects.

Q. Is curcumin the same as turmeric?

Both are related but not the same. Turmeric is a flowering plant belonging to the ginger family. Its scientific name is Curcuma longa. The rhizomes, or underground stems, of the turmeric plant are harvested, dried, and ground to produce turmeric powder. Turmeric has been used for centuries as a culinary spice, natural dye, and traditional medicine in many cultures, particularly in South Asia. Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound found in turmeric. It is one of the most well-studied and bioactive components of turmeric responsible for many of its health benefits. Curcumin is a polyphenol with potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. However, curcumin comprises only about 2-8% of the total weight of turmeric powder.

Q. Can I get enough curcumin from my diet?

Getting enough curcumin solely from dietary sources like turmeric can be challenging due to several factors:

  • Low Curcumin Content: Turmeric contains only about 2-8% curcumin by weight. This means that to consume significant amounts of curcumin, you would need to consume large quantities of turmeric.
  • Bioavailability: Curcumin has poor bioavailability, meaning that it is not easily absorbed and utilized by the body when consumed orally. Factors such as low solubility in water, rapid metabolism, and poor absorption in the gastrointestinal tract contribute to its limited bioavailability.
  • Cooking Process: The cooking process can further reduce the bioavailability of curcumin. Curcumin is sensitive to heat and can degrade when exposed to high temperatures.
  • Variability in Turmeric Products: The curcumin content in turmeric products can vary significantly depending on factors such as the variety of turmeric, growing conditions, processing methods, and storage conditions.

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