Curcumin: The Ultimate Antioxidant
Oxidation is a natural process constantly taking place in the human body. During this process highly-reactive molecules with unpaired electrons are created. These reactive oxygen species (ROS) need to be disarmed by antioxidants. Fortunately, there are an abundance of antioxidants in plant foods and dietary supplements. The scientific literature is clear that one of the most powerful antioxidants is curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to support health on many levels.*
Curcumin plays a significant role against oxidative stress mediated pathology. According to a 2007 review published in the journal Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, “the past few decades have witnessed intense research devoted to the antioxidant activity of curcumin.”
More recently, authors of a 2017 review published in the Journal of Food Quality state, “We conclude that the turmeric varieties investigated in this study are useful sources of natural antioxidants, which confer significant protection against free radical damage.”*
In addition to ROS, oxidation produces other free radicals in the category of reactive nitrogen species (RNS) such as nitric oxide (NO). Clinical studies have shown that curcumin can help scavenge both ROS and RNS free radicals.*
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, “In addition to potentially direct antioxidant activity, curcumin can induce the expression of phase II antioxidant enzymes, including glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL), the rate-limiting enzyme in glutathione synthesis.”*
In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that curcumin can also reduce oxidative stress via the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant pathway. It’s clear that curcumin has several key antioxidant mechanisms that can easily explain its potent health-supporting effects.*
It’s widely known that exercise is an oxidative event. In a 2017 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, curcumin supplementation had “positive effects on selected indices of exercise-induced oxidative stress possibly via promotion of antioxidant capacity.”* In this study, participants took 90 mg of curcumin or a placebo for seven days prior to testing.
While clinicians may think of many other specific reasons to recommend curcumin, it’s helpful to remember that curcumin is also a potent antioxidant. It’s just another justification for including curcumin in your list of daily foundational supplements.
Alisi I, Uzairu A, Abechi S, Idris S. Journal of Advanced Research. 2018;12:47-54.
Boroumand N, Samarghandian S, Hashemy SI. Journal of Herbmed Pharmacology. 2018;7(4):211-219.
Krup V, Hedge LP, Harini A. Journal of Traditional Medicine & Clinical Naturopathy. 2013;2:133.
Kumar A, Singh M, Singh PP, et al. International Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Research. 2016;8(3).
Menon VP, Sudheer AR. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 2007;595:105-25.
Roohi B, Moradlou A, Bolboli L. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017;8(1).
Tanvir EM, Hossen M, Hossain M, et al. Journal of Food Quality. 2017;2017.