Friday, April 4, 2014

Turmeric and it's Amazing Health Benefits

Almost out of turmeric 
Today I noticed that my big turmeric jar was close to being empty. Time to buy more. And it looks like I need more of the high potency extract that I use too.

Since discovering it's many uses, I can't bare to be without it. I've concluded that it helps me in countless ways. Numerous studies back me up. I've come to understand that it helps protect me from developing certain cancers (especially skin cancer), inhibits virus and bacterial growth, relieves my arthritis ( in my knees), strengthens me and increases my energy levels and helps me think more clearly (helping to remove the MG brain fog). Yep - all that - and more-from a bright yellow spice that's found in many kitchens around the world!

I had been using turmeric as a spice for years; long before I contracted myasthenia gravis. It adds depth to curry dishes, color for yellow rice (way cheaper than saffron) and it was my secret ingredient in deviled eggs. Like so many others, after I got MG, I went on the hunt for vitamins and supplements that would help me control the MG symptoms. I made many discoveries that have considerably helped me in that department but, along the way, I discovered the miraculous healing power for turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin.

It turns out that turmeric is one of the most powerful botanical medicines in the world. Records of it being used for medicinal purposes date back over 4,000 years and it is listed in the Indian Ayurveda as an alternative medicine with several curative uses. Turmeric was even granted a patent in the U.S. during the 1990's. Thankfully the patent was revoked after India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research sued in a landmark case. They won the case because they were able to prove that turmeric has been used successfully as a medicine for over 4,000 years and was not 'discovered' by the medical center that tried to patent it.

As a spice, turmeric has a somewhat peppery, warm and bitter flavor with a hint of orange and ginger in its fragrance.Turmeric is one of the ingredients used to make curry, but it also gives mustard its bright yellow color and is used in many commercial and processed foods in small amounts.

One of the most popular medical uses of turmeric is as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's that property that makes it an ideal pain reliever for arthritis and other other related conditions. At least one study found that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) was as effective as ibuprofen for pain relief. Many scientists, doctors and nutritionists now believe that general inflammation of the body is the cause behind many diseases. Turmeric is an excellent, natural anti-inflammatory.

While I do add turmeric spice to many dishes, when I feel the need for a therapeutic dose, I prefer to take high potency extract capsules. I usually don't take the capsules longer than a week at a time. The capsules that I take have the highest potency of the active ingredient, curcumin ,which has been studied to for claims of enormous health benefits. The extract is about ten times more powerful than the regular spice - so use with caution.

Not all turmeric supplements have the full potency (95%) extract. Some will advertise 1,000 milligrams but only 10% of that will be extract and 90% will be just the ground-up root. So don't be fooled by the price as I once was. It's a shame that some companies have to be so deceiving.

 Sabinsa Corporation manufactures a premium quality turmeric extract with 95% cucuminoids. It's a fine powder that's packed into easy to swallow capsules. Most scientific research projects use Sabinsa's C3 Turmeric Complex for testing because it's potency and quality is consistent.  Apparently, just as there's a huge difference between the concentrated extract and the kitchen spice, so-called extracts vary as well. One capsule of Sabinsa's turmeric extract delivers 10 times the curcuminouids than a like portion of regular, ground turmeric root. Plus, it's much easier to take a couple of capsules than eating or drinking turmeric powder. It's a great spice when blended with other things - but by itself? Not so good.

But Sabinsa doesn't sell directly to the public. And the companies that specifically use their standardized turmeric may not be easy to find. Some pretend to, using similar sounding names, but they don't. After trying a few products and doing a lot of searching I finally found Vitabase Turmeric. They actually put Sabina's name on the bottle and refer to the C3 Extract Complex by Sabinsa ) Now I buy with confidence, online at the Vitabase Turmeric page. They sell other vitamins and supplements too.

So I'm confident in what I'm buying.  I take advantage of their offer to buy 3 Bottles to get another bottle free. I usually add a couple of items that I use all the time to qualify for the free shipping. Not a bad deal.

More On Turmeric
Turmeric herb (Curcuma longa) is a plant native to south India and Indonesia. Its tuberous root like structures have been used as a condiment, and medically as an aromatic stimulant. Curcuminoids are the major substances that give the spice turmeric its yellow color. Curry powder, which is extensively used in Indian cuisine, is largely made of turmeric and other spices such as coriander and fenugreek. The important curcuminoids are curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin which are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These are the compounds that are found in the C3 Complex that I was referring to earlier

Blocking cancer
A UCLA research study recently found that curcumin, the therapeutic component in turmeric, appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer. In that study, 21 subjects with head and neck cancers chewed two tablets containing 1,000 milligrams of curcumin.  An independent lab in Maryland evaluated the results and found that the cancer-promoting enzymes in the patients’ mouths were inhibited by the curcumin and thus prevented from advancing the spread of the malignant cells.

When I read the Comprehensive Evaluation of the UCLA study I was convinced that I had to add turmeric to my supplement regimen. That's because another study tied late stage myasthenia gravis to other types of cancers besides the thymoma. Since I have late stage MG I figured I had nothing to lose and maybe a longer life to gain.

Powerful antioxidant
The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also states that turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause.

While more research is necessary, early studies have indicated that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancer including prostate, skin and colon.

Potent anti-inflammatory
Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, wrote a paper for the American Academy of Pain Management in which he discussed the health benefits of turmeric.

“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” Horwitz states in the paper.

He went on to cite a 2006 University of Arizona study that examined the effect of turmeric on rats with
My Turmeric Order Arrives!
injected rheumatoid arthritis. According to Horwitz, pretreatment with turmeric completely inhibited the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats. In addition, the study found that using turmeric for pre-existing rheumatoid arthritis resulted in a significant reduction of symptoms.

In another study (NCBI) of its Efficacy and Safety, turmeric was found to be effective in reducing knee osteoarthritis pain. If you read the overview of the study it found that there was no difference between the use use ibuprofen and curcumin.

More great information and links at The Turmeric Report

It's important to understand that most of these studies and tests have been preformed in a laboratory setting and may not always translate to humans. And some people have problems when they take too much turmeric.

I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. I would encourage you to do your own investigation and please do check out the Vitabase Turmeric deal. Or at least try to find the good stuff wherever you shop -  Sabinsa Corporation's C3 Complex. Hopefully the supplements that use it will put Sabinsa's registered name on the bottle so you know for sure. I think that you'll discover that it will be worth your while to add turmeric extract to your supplement regimen. / GB

 One final note to MG patients. Now this isn't medical advice but I noticed that when I'm taking the turmeric extract that I don't need to take my Pyridostigmine as frequently. It seems to give me about an extra half hour to sometimes an hour before I feel the need for a dose. I've actually quit using the alarm clock reminders on my phone. I don't know if this will hold true through the summer or not. We'll see.



  1. Are you drug free and using just supplement's and diet changes to control your MG.

  2. I just bought a bottle to try. I've had MG for 15 years!

  3. I quit taking mestinon and take 500 mcg turmeric curcumin and 200 mcg huperzine a twice a day and it works for me with no side effects