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How Turmeric Acts as an Immune System Booster

Turmeric is considered by many to be the most effective nutritional supplement in the world. Researchers have examined turmeric’s many benefits to the body and brain. Perhaps the most impressive is turmeric’s ability to boost the immune system through multiple pathways, keeping you healthy and bolstering immunity functions throughout the body


1. A Note About Piperine

Before we jump into the many benefits of turmeric, it is important to note its relationship with piperine. Piperine is the compound in black pepper that gives it the distinctive pungent flavor. Piperine enhances the body’s ability to absorb many nutrients that play a role in immunity, including vitamin B6, beta-carotene, selenium, and curcumin from turmeric. When taking turmeric for improved immune function, it is recommended that you include black pepper in your diet to aid in the absorption. It does not take much black pepper for this benefit, simply seasoning your food should provide enough piperine to maximize the nutritional value of turmeric.

2. Fights Chronic Inflammation

The process of inflammation is incredibly important to the immune system. When the body senses foreign invaders, the body uses inflammation to fight and kill these harmful pathogens and bacteria. Without these short bursts of inflammation, your body would not be able to fight off disease. When inflammation becomes chronic, the body will begin to attach its own tissues. In fact, many researchers have concluded that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in nearly every chronic disease common in Westernized cultures.
In order to maintain high levels of immune function, you must prevent this chronic form of inflammation in the body. The active component in turmeric, curcumin, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It has been found in some studies to match the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs yet produces no negative side effects, making it one of the most useful herbs that boost the immune system.

3. Contain Antioxidants and Increases Metabolisme

Turmeric fights oxidative damage and protects the body from free radicals through its high levels of antioxidants. What is even more impressive though, is turmeric’s ability to boost the functional activity of the antioxidant enzymes produced naturally in the body. Through this two-part system, turmeric neutralizes free radicals, then stimulates the body’s antioxidant enzymes, effectively doubling your body’s defenses against oxidative stress and damage.

4. Acts as an Antidepressant

Depression and other mental illnesses are on the rise in the United States. It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans suffered from Major Depressive Disorder in 2019, and more than half of Americans will develop a mental illness at some point in their life.
Immune function is directly tied to mental health, and this is particularly true for depression. People who suffer from stress and depression have higher rates of chronic inflammation, bacterial infections, and autoimmune disorders. In fact, studies have found that the shingles vaccine is less effective in people with depression.
Studies have found that curcumin from turmeric boosts brain neurotransmitters responsible for behaviors and health, including serotonin and dopamine. A study of 60 participants with Major Depressive Disorder compared treatments of Prozac and of curcumin. After six weeks, researchers found that the curcumin group had statistically similar results to the Prozac group, although it is noted that there are no known side effects from turmeric.

5. Helps to Prevent – and Possibly Even Treat – Cancer

Cancer is characterized by uncontrollable cell growth and can affect every organ in the body. While there are many different forms of cancer which respond to different treatments, researchers have found that multiple types of cancer are negatively impacted by curcumin. Studies have concluded that curcumin contributes to cancerous cell death, reduces angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels) in tumors, and slows metastasis (spreading of cancer cells), all without harming any healthy tissues or cells in the body.

Researchers have examined turmeric’s ability to prevent cancer from occurring in the first place. In one study, a group of men with lesions known to be precursors to colon cancer were given turmeric supplements for 30 days. Researchers found that turmeric decreased the incidence of cancer by 40 percent.

source: 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin (healthline.com)

6. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is incredibly complicated and is linked with many other complications and factors. It is also the number one cause of death in America and worldwide. Turmeric acts in the body in multiple ways which are linked to heart disease, making it a multifaceted approach to building immunity and keeping heart disease at bay.

Curcumin improves the function and health of endothelial cells, which compose the lining of blood vessels. Through this mechanism, turmeric helps to regulate blood pressure, prevent blood clotting, and reduces other blood-related factors of heart disease. While many studies have reproduced this effect, one study found turmeric as effective in improving endothelial health as physical exercise and another study found turmeric to be as effective as the drug Atorovastin, yet turmeric has no adverse events or side effects.

Heart disease is also related to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in the body (as discussed above), both of which are also combatted by turmeric. In one study, participants were given turmeric supplements for just a few days before undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. The study found that those participants who took turmeric had a 65 percent decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack while in the hospital.

7. Reduces the Effects of Aging on Immune Function

The immune system becomes weaker with advanced age. Although there are many contributing factors, inflammation and oxidation are two of the major players in decreased immune functions as we age. Oxidative damage also causes the physical signs of aging, including breaking down of collagen, skin blemishes, wrinkles, dark spots, fine lines, and sagging skin. Turmeric fights both inflammation and oxidation, helping to boost immunity and prevent weakening of the immune system with age. In addition, turmeric has been found to help prevent three major killers: heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Because of this, turmeric can be seen as a supplement to support longevity as well as immunity.

9. Other Benefits

There are many other benefits of turmeric that are tied to immunity and overall health.

Turmeric is linked with improved brain function and a reduced risk of brain diseases. It has been found to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor (DBNF), a growth hormone that aids in brain functions.

Studies have linked turmeric with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies have found that curcumin helps to clear amyloid plaques, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier, fight inflammation, and reduce oxidation, all important factors in fighting Alzheimer’s.

Curcumin has been found to be highly effective in reducing pain and inflammation in people with arthritis. In one study of participants with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin produced better results than the anti-inflammatory drug used in the study (diclofenac sodium) and was found to produce no adverse reactions or side effects.

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The Bottom Line

Turmeric is a powerfully potent dietary supplement which supports immune function through a multitude of pathways. It fights inflammation and oxidation in the body, two important factors of chronic disease and illness. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has a direct effect on many pathways in the body and has been found to prevent and even treat a wide range of diseases.