What makes turmeric so effective at slowing aging and helping to combat disease?
Numerous cultures around the world have used turmeric and its most potent extract, curcumin to promote health and wellness. In fact, many of these cultures have reduced signs of disease and aging which prompted a keen interest in turmeric and curcumin for maintaining health.
The only problem with curcumin is that it is poorly absorbed and rapidly cleared by the body, so that very little, if any, is found in the tissue of those taking turmeric supplements. So, why then do these populations experience the benefits of curcumin when us in the west don’t seem to get the benefits from using turmeric? The theory is that in these other cultures, the use of turmeric as a spice is so common that it is being consumed for as many as 90 years, which allows for even the trace amounts to build up in the system and promote health. Taking turmeric, or even curcumin supplements, without the right delivery will not likely make a difference in overall health and wellness. Us westerners are so used to wanting a “silver bullet” that we ignore the healthy habits of cultures that eat and live differently. The famous “French Paradox” or the popular “Mediterranean diet” shows clear health benefits, but these don’t seem to translate into health for those taking supplements. The benefits of eating a diet high in olive oil, for example can’t be judged by a month of occasional use.
That leaves many of us wondering if we can get the benefits of this long-term diet by simply taking a supplement. Buying cheap curcumin supplements or even worse, turmeric capsules will likely have little to no benefit for the average consumer. Thus, it’s key that if we are going to spend our hard-earned money on supplements, we ensure there is a sufficient delivery system in place. What separates drugs from nutrition is often the ability of drugs to resist being cleared and the ability to be absorbed. Thus, wasting money on a vitamin like berberine, which shows amazing promise for reducing type 2 diabetes doesn’t often help. These molecules are often rapidly cleared and have little impact on target tissues. The example of berberine is one of the grossest, showing in one study to have a .3% absorption when taken orally. Curcumin from turmeric is another example and, even delivery that promises a thousand of percent absorption over capsules, often doesn’t have the desired effect.
What is curcumin and 4DHC?
This amazing wonder supplement is the darling of anyone looking for its massive health benefits. There are numerous of scientific studies touting the benefits of curcumin for everything from depression to joint repair to preventing heart disease. For those that are interesting in reducing the signs of premature aging, the benefits of curcumin are too numerous to list. As reported in numerous studies, curcumin blocks over 30 pathways to inflammation and premature aging. Yet this key nutrient may not be the only part of the turmeric molecule that will give such benefits. Turmeric contains another potent molecule that is similar to curcumin that works on another 20+ pathways and more importantly is far more active in target tissues. This “other curcumin” is called 4-dihydro-curcumin or 4DHC. Thus to experience the full benefits of turmeric as found in many Asian populations, we need to take the two main constituents of turmeric with a delivery system that increase the absorption and utilization by many thousand fold to get the benefits of decades of the natural food.
4DHC works on different pathways from curcumin and reduces inflammation in numerous ways. Additionally, 4DHC lasts much longer in tissue, with some studies showing activity up to 4 weeks after ingestion. Relatively unknown to the anti-aging crowd, 4DHC is an important weapon in reducing aging and disease markers.It can be found on Amazon and numerous health sites but is truly novel in the curcumin supplement world for most.
It’s not how much you take but how much you absorb and use!
There are many delivery systems that can aid in curcumin and 4DHC absorption and here are some of the most popular:
The worst way to take this supplement is to buy cheap turmeric powder. Unless you have 30-40 years to wait, these supplements do pretty much nothing but waste money.
Another curcumin, the extract of turmeric, put into a cheap capsule likely has little to no impact on health, wellness, aging and prevention of disease. Thus, we need to look for other ways to bring down the time for beneficial impact from decades to days.
Black Pepper Extract – this molecule increases intestinal permeability and can increase absorption. However, there is one major problem with this delivery system: it’s called diminishing returns. While black pepper works on minimal doses, it won’t likely replace decades of turmeric foods.
Liposomal delivery – liposomes are spherical globules that alternate fat and oil layers to protect the nutrient or drug from the rapid clearing of the intestine and liver. Liposomes do have some serious benefits over standard delivery systems but there are some major issues with liposomal delivery. The biggest one is that it is both very expensive and difficult, and it’s likely that nutrition companies are passing off suspensions as liposomes and misleading consumers. Liposomes are rarely even used by pharmaceutical companies due to stability and the technical expertise necessary to make them. Only one or two companies in the dietary supplement market have the technology and expertise to make liposomes,so in reality,you are usually buying is a fake product that’s claiming to be a liposome. If the product uses lecithin, or any sort of gum, it’s likely that you are simply buying a poorly produced suspension with no real benefit.
SEDDS delivery – self emulsifying drug delivery is quite common in the pharmaceutical space, to help poorly absorbed drugs pass through the intestine and also absorb better. It appears that the current vaccines on the market use a form of SEDDS to increase potency. SEDDS can be made into a format utilized by nutrition manufacturers that allow for massive increases in absorption with one study showing a 7.8 fold increase over liposomes.
Nano/micro particles – this is another form of delivery that is often quite expensive to manufacture. Nano particles, in particular, require expensive equipment that breaks down the nutrient or drug into very tiny particles, making them available for cells to utilize. Micro particles are very similar to nano particles just having a slightly larger particle size. Nano and micro particles can have a much better impact on delivery than raw powder, but it is likely too costly to manufacture, requiring specialized equipment.
To make the most effective delivery, it is the author’s suggestion that you take a micro/nano particle product with a quality delivery system. While these products often cost more, they will give you a much better chance at achieving your health, wellness and aging goals.