Turmeric is an herbaceous plant, originally from Asia and used mainly as a spice; its active ingredient is curcumin. Curcumin is a bright yellow-orange plant pigment. Read this article to find out more about it and its benefits.
What is curcumin?
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. Turmeric is a plant of Asian origin belonging to the family of Zingiberaceae (the same family of ginger). The most interesting species is the Curcuma Longa, cultivated in most tropical regions, in particular in India. Turmeric is the most studied spice in the world, especially its active ingredient curcumin. A wide range of studies has demonstrated the ability of curcumin to induce numerous biological and pharmacological effects.
Curcumin and curcuminoids appear to have several functions:
- Antioxidants: protecting cell structures from the harmful effects of free oxygen radicals
- Anti-inflammatory: reducing the expression of enzymes involved in the development of the inflammatory reaction
- Antitumoral: on the one hand inhibiting the process of neoangiogenesis and on the other inducing the apoptotic process.
For these reasons, for many years, curcumin and curcuminoids have been used in the following areas:
- Treatment of inflammatory diseases, including chronic
- Prevention of aging and oxidative diseases such as cataracts
- Management of arthrosis and arthritic pathology
- Prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s
- Detoxification from toxic substances
In the last few years, an association between curcumin and sport has been found. Keep reading.
Curcumin and sport
Is there any association between curcumin and sport? Yes, there is a possible effect of curcumin on sports performance.
Exhaustive physical exercise, especially acute or high intensity with many eccentric contractions, leads to muscle damage. Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) induces an inflammatory response associated with decreased muscle strength, localized swelling, and an increase in muscle proteins in the blood. To minimize inflammation and muscle damage, the focus has shifted to substances capable of warding off the danger. Among these, curcumin has aroused interest.
Curcumin has various biological activities, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which could be cardioprotective, immune-regulating, antineoplastic, and hepatoprotective effects, in addition to positive effects on diabetes and the nervous system. Moreover, it has shown positive effects on exercise practitioners and athletes. A clinical trial with individuals of both sexes has shown that, after eccentric exercise, supplementation with curcumin significantly reduced EIMD, leading to better recovery after exercise.
The healing and beneficial properties, of this substance towards the body are further enhanced in the case of athletes. Curcumin, in fact, can protect from osteoarthritis, preserving the normal mobility of the joints, and acts as a powerful antioxidant, fighting the production of free radicals, urged, instead, just by intense sports activity.
It is perfect also for those who play sports at a competitive level, especially if it is a contact discipline because it is also a natural anti-inflammatory, in addition to protecting rheumatoid arthritis and certain types of cancer, including colon, prostate, and breast. In addition, it also protects the natural functions of the liver and gastrointestinal system.
For those who follow appropriate sports nutrition, the right supplement based on curcumin, therefore, reduces any inflammatory states in place and preserves the mobility of the joints, if taken before a sports performance prevents inflammation after training and speeds up muscle recovery.
Curcumin and sport: to sum up
We can say that supplementation with curcumin improves sports performance by reducing muscle damage and fatigue. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory action. In conclusion, curcumin is safe, and its supplementation offers us the opportunity to improve sports potential.
Do you want to know more about curcumin or other food supplements? Keep in touch with our nutrition coach. Book your free consultation now.