Flashback Friday: Heart of Gold – Turmeric vs. Exercise

Flashback Friday: Heart of Gold – Turmeric vs. Exercise
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Diet and exercise synergize to improve endothelial function, the ability of our arteries to relax normally.

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The endothelium is the inner lining of our blood vessels. Laid end-to-end, the endothelial cells from a single human would wrap more than four times around the world. And it’s not just like an inert layer; it’s highly metabolically active. I’ve talked about how sensitive our endothelium is to oxidation and inflammation, and if we don’t take care of it, endothelial dysfunction may set us up for heart disease or a stroke. Are we ready to heed our endothelium’s early warning signals?

Well, if it’s all about oxidation and inflammation, then fruits and vegetables should help. And indeed they do. Each single serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 6% improvement in endothelial function. Now these fruit and vegetable-associated improvements in endothelial function are in contrast to several negative vitamin C pill studies that failed to show a benefit. It can be concluded that the positive findings of the fruit and vegetable study are not just because of any one nutrient in fruits and veggies. Rather than searching for the single magic bullet micronutrient, a more practical approach is likely to consider whole foods. Thus, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is likely to have numerous beneficial effects due to synergistic effects of all the wonderful things in plants.

Exercise helps too, but what type of exercise helps best? Patients were randomized into four groups: aerobic exercise (cycling for an hour a day); resistance training (using weights and elastic bands); both; or neither. The aerobic group kicked butt. The resistance group kicked butt. And the aerobic and resistance group kicked butt as well, compared to those who sat on their butts. Note that your endothelium doesn’t care if you’re on a bike or lifting weights, as long as you’re getting physical activity. And getting regular activity. If you stop exercising, your endothelial function plummets.

Antioxidant pills didn’t work; what about anti-inflammatory pills? Drug companies aren’t going to give up that easy. After all, there’s only so much you can make selling salad. For those who prefer plants to pills, one of the most anti-inflammatory foods is the spice turmeric. Researchers in Japan recently compared the endothelial benefits of exercise to those of curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric and curry powder. About a teaspoon a day’s worth of turmeric for eight weeks, compared to 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. Which group improved their endothelial function more?

The group that did neither experienced no benefit, but the exercise group significantly boosted their endothelial function, and so did the curcumin group.

The magnitude of the improvement achieved by curcumin treatment was comparable to that obtained with exercise. Therefore, regular ingestion of curcumin could be a preventive measure against cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, their results suggest that curcumin may be a potential alternative treatment for patients who are unable to exercise. But ideally, we’d do both. In this study, they looked at central arterial hemodynamics. Basically, if our endothelium is impaired, our arteries stiffen, making it harder for our heart to pump. But compared to placebo, we can drop that pressure down with turmeric curcumin or exercise. But if you combine both, then you really start rocking and rolling.

They conclude that these findings suggest that regular endurance exercise combined with daily curcumin ingestion may reduce the pressure against which your heart has to fight to a greater extent than one or the other. So healthy eating and exertion for our endothelium.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

The endothelium is the inner lining of our blood vessels. Laid end-to-end, the endothelial cells from a single human would wrap more than four times around the world. And it’s not just like an inert layer; it’s highly metabolically active. I’ve talked about how sensitive our endothelium is to oxidation and inflammation, and if we don’t take care of it, endothelial dysfunction may set us up for heart disease or a stroke. Are we ready to heed our endothelium’s early warning signals?

Well, if it’s all about oxidation and inflammation, then fruits and vegetables should help. And indeed they do. Each single serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 6% improvement in endothelial function. Now these fruit and vegetable-associated improvements in endothelial function are in contrast to several negative vitamin C pill studies that failed to show a benefit. It can be concluded that the positive findings of the fruit and vegetable study are not just because of any one nutrient in fruits and veggies. Rather than searching for the single magic bullet micronutrient, a more practical approach is likely to consider whole foods. Thus, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is likely to have numerous beneficial effects due to synergistic effects of all the wonderful things in plants.

Exercise helps too, but what type of exercise helps best? Patients were randomized into four groups: aerobic exercise (cycling for an hour a day); resistance training (using weights and elastic bands); both; or neither. The aerobic group kicked butt. The resistance group kicked butt. And the aerobic and resistance group kicked butt as well, compared to those who sat on their butts. Note that your endothelium doesn’t care if you’re on a bike or lifting weights, as long as you’re getting physical activity. And getting regular activity. If you stop exercising, your endothelial function plummets.

Antioxidant pills didn’t work; what about anti-inflammatory pills? Drug companies aren’t going to give up that easy. After all, there’s only so much you can make selling salad. For those who prefer plants to pills, one of the most anti-inflammatory foods is the spice turmeric. Researchers in Japan recently compared the endothelial benefits of exercise to those of curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric and curry powder. About a teaspoon a day’s worth of turmeric for eight weeks, compared to 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. Which group improved their endothelial function more?

The group that did neither experienced no benefit, but the exercise group significantly boosted their endothelial function, and so did the curcumin group.

The magnitude of the improvement achieved by curcumin treatment was comparable to that obtained with exercise. Therefore, regular ingestion of curcumin could be a preventive measure against cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, their results suggest that curcumin may be a potential alternative treatment for patients who are unable to exercise. But ideally, we’d do both. In this study, they looked at central arterial hemodynamics. Basically, if our endothelium is impaired, our arteries stiffen, making it harder for our heart to pump. But compared to placebo, we can drop that pressure down with turmeric curcumin or exercise. But if you combine both, then you really start rocking and rolling.

They conclude that these findings suggest that regular endurance exercise combined with daily curcumin ingestion may reduce the pressure against which your heart has to fight to a greater extent than one or the other. So healthy eating and exertion for our endothelium.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Andreas Fischer.

Doctor's Note

This was originally a follow-up video to Turmeric Curcumin vs. Exercise for Artery Function.

Endothelial dysfunction is at the heart (pun intended :) of many of our deadliest diseases. Pledge to save your endothelial cells and check out some of these other videos about the effects of food on our endothelial function:

For more on the concept of nutrient synergy, see Garden Variety Anti-Inflammation and Cranberries versus Cancer.

Regardless what you do or don’t eat, exercise is critical. How Much Should You Exercise? Watch the video!

For all our videos on the latest research on turmeric, visit our Turmeric topic page.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

132 responses to “Flashback Friday: Heart of Gold – Turmeric vs. Exercise

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  1. For the lazy and busy, what whole turmeric supplement should I take? I sometimes take Dr. Danielle’s “Turmeric Curcumin”. The ingredients are “Organic Turmeric” and “Black Pepper”. Is this supplement okay or is there a better alternative? Remember, I’m lazy and busy.

    1. I’m interested in this answer, too. I’ve been hearing a lot about the limited amount of curcumin in turmeric and questions about bioavailability. Thanks!

      1. Laura C. a lot of that is from supplement companies. The whole root turmeric in root or powdered form contains many anti-inflammatory compounds, so when you’re taking a supplement of isolated curcumin, you’re missing out on all the other amazing things the spice has to offer. I would also be careful in choosing any supplement company to buy from because supplements are so poorly regulated, you have to do your homework a bit if you’re going to take a supplement. And no worries about the curcumin in turmeric, it’s true that taken alone we absorb very little of the curcumin, however taken with black pepper, it increases the absorption of curcumin in the blood 2,000 x’s! I highly recommend checking out all of Dr. Greger’s videos on turmeric, there’s a lot of great stuff in them and I think it will answer any questions or concerns you have.

        1. 2000x? You probably mean 2000% which is 20x more? According to this study:

          The use of adjuvants, such as piperine [28] or turmeric essential oils [37], enhanced curcumin bioavailability (based on AUC) 20- or 7-fold, respectively (Table 5). Incorporation of curcumin into lecithin (mainly phosphatidylcholine) lipo- somes resulted in a ca. fourfold better absorption (based on AUC) than native curcumin in nine healthy volunteers [38]. The bioavailability of a micronized form of crystalline cur- cumin (“TheracurminTM ,” prepared from curcumin, ghatti gum, and water), compared to native curcumin, was 27-fold increased (Table 5) [39]. Thus, our micellar delivery system, which enhanced curcumin bioavailability 185-fold (all sub- jects), appears to be superior to all hitherto tested formula- tions, while our micronisate (ninefold increase in AUC) is similarly effective as previously reported strategies (Table 5). Furthermore, the Cmax achieved with a single oral dose of 410 mg curcumin from our micellar formulation (women, 3.7 mol/L; men 2.6 mol/L) are higher than those observed after the intake of 8 g of native curcumin [31].

          From:
          https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/mnfr.201300724

          1. Dan II,

            Welcome to the curcumin bioavailability wars…… but a real question to be asked is what’s the optimal dose and is more better ?

            Dr. Greger’s video on curcumin suggesting a number of means of increasing the absorption in WFs might be the most appropriate intake. Obviously there are other nutrients that would be also enhanced as part of the WF meal. As with most nutrients there might be an ideal combination. Clearly many ethnicities have made their own recipes.

            In practice I have seen the higher bioavailability curcumin products vary in their pain relief results. It would be ideal to have a RCT of a number of foods vs pill based approaches. Wonder who would fund such an experiment ?

            Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

    2. Black pepper contains peprine which slows the body’s “detoxifying” the turmeric (or any other flavinoids/anti-oxidants.) In other words, pepper keeps them in the body longer.

      If you are truly lazy and busy, purchase the most highly anti-oxidant herbs in powdered form (pound lots from ebay are the cheapest) and mix them together. Add piprine (also available on ebay) at a ratio of 250 to one (!) Mix a teaspoon or so into a liquid and drink it down. WAY WAY WAY more effective than turmeric alone because of the effect of synergism.

      Most highly anti-oxidant herbs: Allspice, Cardamon Seed, Cayenne, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Ginger Root, Mustard Seed, Nutmet, Sumac, and of course Turmeric.

      1. Probably everyone is aware of the lead and other metals contamination risk in tumeric powders and other spices. This was discussed in one of Dr Greger’s videos, and the topic comes up frequently under tumeric vids. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/food-poisoning/news/20160809/tumeric-recall-lead It is important to buy quality spices from suppliers who have their products independently tested for contamination. Organic or not has nothing to do with contamination.

    3. I enjoy a small glass of half orange juice half distilled water first thing in the morning… I add 1/4 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder (which I pick from the herb and spice section in the supermarket), 1/4 teaspoon of Klamath blue green algae and 1 heaped teaspoon of organic wheat grass powder. It’s kinda my own concoction but it gives me a real boost in the morning, especially if I’m doing a class at the gym. I work with a lot of young children, who at this time of year are constantly coughing and sneezing and having some virus, bug or sickness. Most of my colleagues have succumbed with illness and look pretty miserable because of it. So far, I feel fit and healthy and to be honest feeling quite smug and I have no doubt my increased immunity because of my diet, exercise and lifestyle choices will keep me in great health.

    4. Aaron, even if you are ‘lazy and busy’, can you not take a few minutes for exercise?
      I certainly don’t agree with Dr. Mercola on diet, but his exercise videos are good. Check out the one he calls the ‘Nitric Oxide Dump’. It only takes about 3-5 minutes each time you do it.
      I personally only do it when I don’t have any time to do a complete workout, but at least it is something.

      1. As for the bioavailability of, and more benefits from curcumin, you can read this study from the NIH. I personally prefer the Phytosome type made by Meriva. Several brands sell it. Piperine upsets my stomach. I think there is benefit in both using turmeric and curcumin.
        I generally put 1/4 tsp. of turmeric in coffee plus raw cacoa, and Ceylon cinnamon. Also add turmeric to soups and sauces. Traditionally turmeric is cooked.
        But I also use curcumin combined with ginger and sometimes frankincense as an anti-inflammatory when needed, as I don’t use NSAIDS.
        See NIH study, scroll to page 7 for the discussion of Phytosome Curcumin.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097/

        1. Marilyn, your coffee recipe sounds wonderful! I eanted to ask about the frankencense because when I saw it , it was in small chunks. Do you throw one in with the ginger and make a tea? I don’t take any nsaids or pain relief either, but it is becoming a problem. I would like to try this!

          1. Barb, on frankincense, I found trying to use frankincense tears difficult. No info on how much boswellic acids, the active part, in a particular sample. So I’ve gone with a standardized supplement. About 110-125 mg. of the boswellic acids is the right dose. That generally translates to approximately 300mg. of boswellia in a standardized type.
            Can be taken up to, but no more than, 3x a day. If I’ve really overdone the workout, or had dental surgery, for instance, I’ll take the three herbs, then 4 hours later another dose. The first dose takes the edge off the pain, the second seems to fix it.
            You can take more curcumin and ginger without a problem, but need not to overdo the frankincense (boswellia).

        2. Marilyn,
          Would appreciate your take on using curcumin with baby aspirin if taken many hours apart. Have tried to google but find disparate opinions. Talking about baby aspirin and 500 mg of curcumin phytosome meriva daily.

          Thanks,
          Lida

          1. I need to clarify a bit. Taking baby aspirin on advice of doctor following a TIA that required carotid artery surgery. I want the benefits of curcumin for my osteoarthritis and as an overall anti-inflammatory .

            1. Lida, if your doctor is concerned about TIA’s he’s probably doing PT and/or INR tests on you. If you are taking both the aspirin and the curcumin, and staying in the test range he wants you to be, that should be fine.
              Btw, if you are on blood thinners, and have been told not to eat greens, the best way to handle that is to eat a consistent amount everyday. Then have your PT/INR checked. I tell my patients to actually weight out the greens on a food scale. 60-80 grams is a serving.
              That way they can keep getting all the benefits of the healthiest foods without having a blood clotting problem. The medication gets adjusted to their diet.

              1. Marilyn, I am intrigued by your comment about greens. Is this all greens? My cardiologist is plant based eater and has encouraged me to do the same but never mentioned limiting greens. My TIA was ocular. Apparently a smidgen of calcification broke off from caroltid and found its way to my eye, wherein I lost vision in that eye for a few seconds. Test revealed my right carotid was 80% blocked which then led to the surgery to clear out the calcification. Perhaps he is not concerned about clotting factor but I will bring that up on my next visit. Thanks for being such a great resource.

                1. Lida, all greens have Vitamin K, which causes prescription blood thinners to be less effective. So some cardiologists who don’t consider nutrition, tell patients no greens if they are on blood thinners. Since you aren’t, you don’t need to be concerned. Greens are so important, especially for eye health.

          2. Lida, really can’t give you a definite answer. Could not find reliable studies one way or the other. As I’m sure you are aware, they do both lower platelet aggravation. I wouldn’t take the type of curcumin with piperine, because of course, that also affects platelets. But you are using the Phytosome instead, and not taking them at the same time. I’m assuming you aren’t taking warfarin or other blood thinning drugs, or having bleeding problems. Many patients of mine do take both, but everyone is different.

            1. Thank you very much for this information Marilyn.
              Baby aspirin and toprol xl (25 mg) both at bedtime are my only meds. I take the curcumin following breakfast along with my other supplements and although I do bruise more easily it is never spontaneous but requires bumping into something and it is never significant. So until some valid information becomes available that is definitive and reliable I will keep my fingers crossed and of course be watchful.
              Thanks so much for your help!

              1. Lida, yes, toprol isn’t a blood thinner. Sorry I couldn’t give you a better answer. No info on studies of low dose aspirin and curcumin negative interaction.

          3. Lida, interesting fact! A tsp of cumin is the equivalent (in regards to blood flow I believe it was) of a baby aspirin. This was in one of Dr. Greger’s videos and I’m going by memory so I hope I’m getting it all right. Anyways, wasn’t suggesting anything, sorry to jump in, your comment just reminded me of that and I just think it’s cool.

            1. Thanks S,
              There is some talk that curcumin may be as effective as baby aspirin and may one day be an adequate replacement for it. At this point I do not have any practitioners willing to make that suggestion.

      2. Actually I work a very intense manual labor job. I walk all day, 5 days a week. I meant that I’m lazy because once I get home at 7:00 pm or later every night I don’t have the energy! I eat broccoli and black beans and oatmeal about every day. Flaxseeds, nutritional yeast, etc. Bunch of healthy stuff. Just looking to add some more good stuff.

        1. Aaron, if you work “a very intense manual labor job” & walk all day long 5 days a week, you’re not lazy. We were meant to move all day long, not sit at desks staring at computer screens. It’s one of the reasons why Dr. G does so many interviews on his treadmill. He’s showing by example.

          I like to watch his treadmill videos while I’m on mine.

      3. Marilyn,

        Years ago, I was part of Sparkpeople and they promote not going less than 10 minutes per day of exercise.

        I remember that there was a lot of discussion about easy ways to find the 10 minutes, like when your dinner is cooking or taking a dry run through the grocery store before putting thjbgd in the cart. They had chair exercise videos and some of my friends who were highly obese and who had bad knees needed it to only be 10 minutes and needed to start sitting down.

        People would lose 200 pounds on the site and would say that when they started, they could only do a few minutes of bed exercises, then wheel chair, then walker, then walking.

        I learned that if people aimed for 10 each day, eventually that would become so easy that they would build to 15. Lots of people ended up doing 10k races by the end, which surprised me because they never raised the standard. They only had the don’t go below 10 minutes, even if you lift your legs up and down in the recliner

        1. Deb, there has been a lot of new research on exercise. The ‘nitric oxide dump’ that I referred to is supposed to be done 3 x a day, hours apart. It’s a very active few minutes. It’s not a complete exercise, but the point is to increase nitric oxide to lower blood pressure. If the person does it correctly, it will do that.
          I agree a few minutes isn’t ideal, but it is better than nothing.

            1. Haha! The mysteries of auto-correct. Now if you were drinking almond milk at the time, that would be eerie.

              I agree everything counts. Even after I do intense workouts I like to do additional things throughout the day. If I was sitting longer than I wanted to I might decide to get up and do like 100 jumping jacks or something… might sound like a lot but it depends on what you’re used to. 10 or 20 would be beneficial too I’m sure.
              And it all adds up. In one of Dr. Greger’s videos on exercise, he gives examples of exercise and reccomends how many minutes (more is fine and good) and says that it can be broken up.

    5. That’s good. Standard kitchen turmeric is best and usually cheapest. Always add a little black pepper to absorb it better. Buy a big bag of turmeric, add a teaspoon to a small amount of water with a touch of pepper, swallow, add more water, swirl, swallow, until cup is clear. Or some people add it to their cup of Joe or tea to make a turmeric latte

    6. Aaron, I kind of get what you mean. I’d love to at least have the ability to just take my turmeric in capsulated forms when I’m traveling or particularly busy or whatever… I’ve been thinking about getting vegetable cellulose capsules and doing it myself but I hope I can get ones big enough to fit 1/4th tsp of turmeric in. PLUS I’d want it mixed with enough black pepper and I doubt there’d be enough room, so I was thinking of doing even numbers of capsules, half with turmeric the other of black pepper and just taking them together.
      If I had the means I would make and sell this kind of thing… a supplement that’s REALLY a whole food, but extra conveinent. I wish someone would. But it would have to be tested for contaminants and preferably organic. Also, how cool would it be if you could get pre-heat-treated turmeric considering cooked turmeric offers different benefits. I mean yeah we can put it in our food but I don’t cook that much with turmeric at the moment. I do occasionally just make a cooked turmeric paste and keep it in the fridge.

    1. Adrian, in Dr Greger’s book, How Not To Die” he recommends 1/2 tsp per day, but other sources I have found say up to a tsp is good. Powdered turmeric is used in cooking and it is fine cooked. If you can get fresh turmeric root, it might be good grated in a salad.

      1. FYI, you might look further into the NF videos on turmeric for the one which points out turmeric has different benefit profiles for when consumed raw and for when consumed cooked. The video, as a recall it, posed the question whether we should be taking it both ways. You might also consider this aspect of turmeric was not discussed in connection with the “daily dozen” recommendation so may not reflect current advise.

      1. George, you can purchase turmeric powder in “raw” form from places online. I’m not sure what the temperatures go up to during any steaming or whatever goes into it, but I’m not sure it would qualify as “cooked.” In his video “Spicing Up DNA Protection,” it’s shown that to cook the turmeric it was boiled for a period of time if memory serves. When I make my cooked turmeric paste, I boil it for at least 10 minutes.
        But I also suspect that any powder at the store, or at least in most cases, qualifies as “raw” considering the powder (in studies) is shown to contain curcumin and act as an anti-inflammatory whereas cooked does not but instead offers substantial DNA protection. I would say if that were an issue, Dr. Greger would have addressed it and considering there’s so much science on turmeric, I think that if people weren’t actually getting the curcumin due to cooking temperatures applied to the powder, that would have been noted in the literature.

    2. Adrian, Dr. Greger suggests in his daily dozen 1/4th tsp of turmeric as a rule, I believe that’s what he says he takes. In another video he says that if you’re prone to kidney stones, he would suggest not exceeding half tsp a day… or maybe it was a tsp (going on memory, you’d have to check). In regards to raw or cooked, YES it does make a different, BUT you get amazing benefits either way. For raw turmeric, you get all the great anti-inflammatory benefits and while with cooked, you don’t get that same effect, you instead get significant DNA protection. Here is a video on that: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/spicing-up-dna-protection/

      I highly recommend checking out all of Dr. Greger’s videos on turmeric, there’s so much helpful information in them and so much incredible science on turmeric!

  2. I’m joining the club here: I love both fresh grated turmeric and ground turmeric sold as seasoning. Which of those two is most effective?

    Dmitriy P,
    Shilajit Secret

    1. Shilajit, I don’t think it matters. I couldn’t tell you if one is more potent than the other but I do know that it offers proven benefits either way. If you love them both, I would just consume both.

  3. There is almost no excuse not to exercise. Busy? As an MD, I worked over 80 hours a week most of my life. Disease? I has a ruptured brain aneurysm with 2 brain surgeries and a loss of 50 pounds in medical school, severe spinal stenosis requiring 8 spine surgeries with persisting pain and neurological damage in addition to an idiopathic neuropathy, 2 cancers, a brain infection with 2 more brain surgeries and so forth. Married with children? I was married, now 50 years, with 3 children through all my training and illnesses. It was my duty as a parent to stay fit, be active with my children, set a good example for them and my grandchildren and showing what great fun it could be. I was fortunate to grow up in Australia where sports were mandatory, free, and time allocated for games every Wednesday afternoon, in addition to club teams as well. Australians do not exercise for health but for fun which is the attitude that lasts a lifetime. At 70, I still play singles tennis with my wife and 73 year old brother. We sail together, hike, and I still surf because we/I love it. I also meditated 30-60 minutes/day. Again we were fortunate that our mum used lots of fresh fruits and vegetables making going plant based, including turmeric, much easier. Words are almost meaningless to children unless you live the example you are trying to set. None of my children or grandchildren smoke or abuse drugs(no, I’m not trying to say we are perfect, far from it.) and they all follow some type of activity including hiking, surfing, running, resistance training, and because they were exposed to a wide variety of foods can eat healthful foods from most categories. Parents and schools must make eating and exercise fun and healthful. Maybe we could divert some of that egregious military budget to the health of all children. Long term changes in health and longevity work best if addressed in childhood. Kale and turmeric must not be foreign words. Family dinners without screens are a good place to start.

    1. Hi, I am a doctor too and always surprised when patients tell me they don’t have time to exercise, since you and I can find the time despite our busy schedule. I am also happy to hear you still play singles at 70. I am 60 and still playing singles, but wasn’t sure when I should stop singles.

      1. I did not get the impression that the OP meant he didn’t exercise, but rather that he’d prefer to have a more convenient supplement form of turmeric w/black pepper.

        He also later stated that his job is an intense manual labor job and he’s very active.

    2. Dr Greger says 7 hours of sleep per night is optimal. Did he cover sleep versus exercise? I remember a recommendation to choose sleep over exercise if it’s a choice you have to make so rethink your schedule if you’re a sleepless high achiever who gets up before dawn to exercise before working very long days

      R Haile worked over 80 hours per week and still exercised and meditated 30-60 mins daily (average 45 mins). Let’s take an average of 80 hours work across 5 days (as I’m sure you didn’t work 7 days per week every week for decades of your career). Then you typically worked 16 hours per day, and meditated 45 minutes and exercised let’s say 45 minutes aerobic or weights including getting to and fro the gym. So now we’re up to 17.5 hours per day. Did your “over 80 hours of work weekly” calculation include your lunch, afternoon tea and perhaps dinner breaks? Right now, if we allow 1.5 hour total for you to have breakfast, lunch (whole food lunches usually take a lot of time to chew, perhaps you chewed while working), dinner, shower, commute, change gym and work clothes, kiss wife on cheek, parent your kids, brush teeth, etc, you can now get just over 5 hours in bed per day. This assumes your wife did all the healthy whole food preparation for you as that’s time consuming, otherwise we need to allocate time for that too.

      Trainee Drs and medical staff on shift work do very long hours with little sleep, but 5 hours of sleep daily spanning a decades long career despite brain and spine surgeries? Is that healthy? Neurologists say all brains need plenty of sleep especially a brain that needs to heal. I’ve worked 80+ hour 5 day weeks, sometimes 100, and know how very hard it can be, but I’m well off enough. Let’s acknowledge that it is very hard and many people also work very long hours or shirt work with long commutes and other “excuses” such as financial struggles, social, medical, family, emotional or psychological challenges, difficult neighbourhoods, etc, and often without sports exposure no matter what country, so have more obstacles, fewer choices or a less rosy situation to support or motivate them. I agree with most of what you recommend but we can tell ourselves misleading stories, so “there’s almost no excuse, look at me, I’m not perfect but look at my great example” seems to be unrepresentative and is unlikely to inspire many

    3. Robert, exercising for fun is a good point. I feel like a lot of people go to the gym or get their workout in and then the rest of their free time watching tv or going to a bar, and sitting.

  4. I’ve only watched the video (turmeric vs exercise) once, but I seem to recall the studies cited were specific to “postmenopausal women”. Are the findings equally valid for the rest of us? ( men and premenopausal women)

  5. Hi Michael Lauriston, thanks for your question. It is right that that study was done in postmenopausal women, however Dr Greger has done so many other videos to show the health benefits of Turmeric. Dr Greger has mentioned that Curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric, is a spice that’s a tad cheaper, and safer. But, does it work outside of a test tube? There’s evidence that it may help in all the diseases. However, if one has Kidney problem have to watch the consumption to too much Turmeric or Curcumin. I refer you to test videos and I hope that is helpful to you.
    Which Spices Fight Inflammation?
    Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric?

    1. Spring03
      I watched the video you were kind to recommend but It didn’t give me a clear idea of how much curcumin in supplement form is safe to use on a daily basis. Can you enlighten? I use it to moderate arthritis pain primarily. Thanks.

      1. Lida, this link does have some information that you might find helpful https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-662/turmeric# Under the ‘dosage’ heading you will find examples of various ailments, and dosages and time periods that were trialed safely… none long term. Even with the whole spice tumeric, dosages are teeny. (all pubmed trials i have read used very small amounts). They also mention some specific well known commercial products of extracts, and using curcumin. Maybe your product is there?

        Also, Note the contraindications… many spices can cause bleeding/blood clotting issues, and people taking aspirin, warfarin, or other medications are warned about tumeric interfering.

  6. Hello Dr. Greger,
    Thank you for the video. We, with a Vietnamese culture, sometimes eat curcumin with potatoes.
    Interesting, as always.
    TDiane Nguyen

  7. Re: Exercise – I thought I’d share this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHN-4ve81TY Although this video is 27 minutes long, it explain how to get fitness into your day if you don’t have much time. Although I’m not saying it completely replaces all the benefits of exercise, because, as other’s have mentioned, the social and fun aspects of exercise is very valuable as well. But this video explain how to keep some fitness in your life if you are short on time. I sometimes use it for a quickie.

    Also, I’d like to share my evening toddy. I keep whole turmeric root on hand in the freezer. A few seconds in the microwave will thaw it. Smash a piece of turmeric along with a chunk of fresh ginger root and 2-3 whole cloves in a mortar and pestle creating a paste. Put the paste in a cup and fill with water to desired level. Add some fresh ground pepper (to potentiate the turmeric), cinnamon, nutmeg if you have it (leave it out if you don’t), some orange zest if you have it on hand or not if you don’t. Microwave the concoction to nice and warm and let it steep for a bit. Strain out the chunks of stuff into a new cup. I like a sweeter taste so I add some stevia and/or a little honey. This is the most wonderful after dinner toddy.
    It is also well known that spices acting together – like the turmeric and pepperine – potentiate each other in ways that we don’t know about yet. Cinnamon and clove are two of the most wonderful antioxidants which Dr. G. has told us on many of his videos over time.

    Hope you enjoy the drink. Cheers!

    1. Okay, I use almost all of those spices both fresh and dried, but nutmeg is one which I don’t understand.

      I bought the balls of nutmeg, rather than the ground nutmeg and I didn’t know what to do with it.

      I might have ground it up in a coffee grinder.

      Is there a shell on it which I should have removed or something.

      Laughing.

      I forgot to watch a YouTube video.

      1. Deb, for nutmeg, just use a very small handheld grater, grating right into the food, there is actually one made for this. Works to grate citrus rinds also.

      2. Remember not to consume too much nutmeg though! That is one spice you can actually OD on. There’s a video on here somewhere explaining that.

    2. Ruth,

      I love spices, but I will say that I bought whole nutmeg and I didn’t know what to do with it.

      I think I ground the whole thing in a coffee grinder, but wanted to ask it, “Do you have a shell of some sort?”

      I felt certain that I got the wrong result.

      I forgot to watch a YouTube video.

      1. Laughing because I am having a lot of very tasty meals, but I already have my hands full that my Instapot sprays my Miso soup all over the room.

        I am not sure that I have any cooking genes.

    3. Ruth, your toddy sounds good. I make one with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. I cook the spices in almond milk. The little bit of fat in the almond milk probably aids absorption of the spices. I don’t do well with pepper. Will have to to try adding the clove.

    1. Panchito, in what way are you stating ginger makes turmeric + black pepper more potent, increasing absorption or the combined effect on the body?

      1. Hey S.

        This quote says that ginger works “synergistically’ with pepper as a bioenhancer in most cases

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioenhancer

        “Ginger promotes due to the gingerols the intestinal absorption of many compounds (including drugs) and elements. In most cases, ginger acts synergistically with piperine.”

        And the bennefits of using pepper don’t stop with turmeric

        “Piperine acts as bioenhancer to vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, C, D, E, K), amino acids (lysine, isoleucine, leucine, threonine, valine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, and methionine), minerals (iodine, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, magnesium, potassium, manganese), herbal compounds (including ginsenosides, Pycnogenol), and drugs (such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, rifampicin, ampicillin, tetracycline, vasicine, pyrazinamide, fexofenadine, resveratrol, epigallocatechin, curcumin). ”

        turmeric and ginger belong to the same family so they could have similar but maybe different properties

        1. FYI. I said it in previous posts but once curcumin makes it in the body and stays in(pepper), it enhances ALA conversion in the brain

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4754352/

          “These findings have important implications for human health and the prevention of cognitive disease, particularly for populations eating a plant-based diet or who do not consume fish, a primary source of DHA, since DHA is essential for brain function and its deficiency is implicated in many types of neurological disorders.”

          So the list is now updated as follows:

          Turmeric = OK

          (Pepper) + turmeric = potent

          (Pepper + ginger) + turmeric = Most potent

          (Pepper + ginger) + turmeric + flax seeds = PLANT BASED GOD

          1. I use turmeric and ginger in cooking, but often add red pepper and forget the black pepper. Though I do use lemon pepper often, too.

            Is there piperene in red pepper?

            Boy, I need to add flax seeds to my dishes. Some of us need a brain boost. I haven’t been eating them because I haven’t been eating my oatmeal. Need to add it to the meals with the spices instead.

            I will say that I had an hour long nap today and I feel slightly smarter.

            If I could solve for sleep that might help.

            But finding another spot for flaxseed might help.

        2. Panchito, thanks for your response! That’s interesting. You seem to know a lot about this so I wonder if maybe you could actually answer a question I’ve had for a while… It was under one of Dr. Greger’s videos on black pepper, maybe the turmeric and black pepper video, but it was in the comments section and since Dr. Greger explained about how piperine closes a sort of gate where your body is trying to get out invaders as it would see the curcumin as, so you absorb it into the blood, someone had asked if black pepper might interfere with your body’s natural detoxification process if you have it regularly with meals. I would imagine that if this were a concern, Dr. Greger would have mentioned something and recommended to limit our intake and that we’d have heard things about it throughout the years in general, so I haven’t worried about it too much but the question has been on my mind basically since I read it. To my recollection, no one on the site or other commenters answered.

          1. I think you can totally detox and have pepper on meals. This is my explanation. The liver likes to do one job at a time (but you have 24 hours in a day) and pepper has an operational lifetime (half fife). If you have a large window on the day without eating (when the liver is most burden burden), then the liver will change hats and detox (to bile output). But I could be 100% wrong, just a thought ;)

            1. This is what I do. I add pepper like 5 times a week ( a little) at lunch only. But if someone goes overboard and starts adding pepper in every meal, then something weird could happen as the pepper effect would spread to 24 hours. It is good to give the liver a break (2 days a week off sounds good to me) to recover from any extra possible burden.

              1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Panchito! I think you’re right. Whenever it comes to whole plant foods, the body always seems to know what to do… with the exception of those who overdo things by having them in such extreme amounts like the bok choy case and the overdosing on water cases.

              2. Panchito,

                Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

                I think my problem with that is that I often eat the same dish for lunch and dinner lately, so I would get it 2 meals.

                Hard to work through all of the little logic.

                Sometimes I feel like I am getting there, but then I see how bad my brain still is and I am managing, it is just so complicated and I really feel like I am doing the process with half my brain tied behind my head.

                Then, I go to Dr Greger’s YouTube channel and watch the trolls and think, well, at least I am still half in my right mind and some of them are deniers about everything. My friends don’t know anything about any of the topics eithet.

                By next year, I might be 3/4ths in my right mind and they still may have not started.

  8. I had a few quadriplegics in my life.

    Plus, people like my cousin who had a stroke and they never offered him rehab and he is a smoker and has trouble walking.

    Plus a few seriously morbidly obese people closer to 400 pounds who have so much pain and depression that they can’t make it to the mailbox.

    Plus I live near a wheel chair community.

    Seems like turmeric having some benefit is such a hopeful thing to offer to people without any hope at all.

  9. As I’m unable to walk or move in a coordinated way I’m unable to exercise….most frustrating especially because I know that this inactivity negatively impacts my health……

    I’m confronted daily by the box I can’t ✅ in the app….
    I’m very happy to find out about curcuma powder…..simply have to find a palatable way to ingest it. Suggestions are most welcome !

    1. Gabs, first, make sure to combine with black pepper!

      I don’t use turmeric in a lot of food (though I really want to learn to make Indian food, so that will be a great way!) so what I do is just take 1/2 tsp mixed with black pepper everyday with a meal containing fat for best absorption. I just put it in my mouth from my measuring spoon, and take a drink of water to get it down. It doesn’t taste bad or amazing but it takes like a second.

      Some of the ways I’ve incorporated it into food and liked has been mixed in with mashed potatoes, sprinkled on pop corn along with some garlic powder, and mixed in with homemade salad dressings which can actually give a really good mustard-y flavor.

    2. Gabs,

      I use it in foods.

      I started with a small amount in everything which uses tomato products. I consider tomato and peppers to be turmeric training wheel foods.

      Oh, I forgot, lentils and rice are other good ones for hiding it.

      Tomato products got me to try it. Lentils were still so bland that I started using more and more of it.

      Found out that I really like curried vegetables and rice. I also put it in anything which uses chili or taco spices. Those mask it entirely.

      My friends do golden milk, but I still haven’t tried that. I switched from dry ginger to fresh ginger, but haven’t tried fresh turmeric to know if that is a zillion times better than dried, too. Ginger was unbearable from the spice jar, so it took me a whole year to try fresh ginger. Night and day.

      Not sure if turmeric is like that, too, but I go through jars of turmeric now.

      I started with one pinch in tomato paste to get past the aversion.

    3. Gabs,

      Do you have pain or mobility problems?

      Spark people has chair exercise videos.

      Other people have them on YouTube.

      They also sell seated cycles which you can use with your arms or legs or even just stretch bands you can tug on.

      I developed a whole office chair exercise routine after I injured my ankle. I could do twists in my office roller chair to work out my core.

      Sparkpeople really had people start off exercising in bed and within 2 years a few of them were racing in 10k’s.

      I just googled SparkPeople chair exercises and 912 results came up of exercises for limited mobility.

      If it is time instead of pain and mobility issues, I suggest while dinner is cooking even if it is a 30 second microwave marching in place. Just choose something and commit to it.

      1. If you are not disabled, I recommend Sparkpeoples 10 minutes per day minimum.

        If there are psychological reasons, which I used to have, coming from abuse I was afraid people would see me moving. Irrational fear, but as a young person I felt ashamed of any movement. That took 30 years or something to get past. Walking outside didn’t trigger it as long as I didn’t have to wear special clothing to do it.

        1. If it is something like knee problems, places like the YMCA often have water exercises. There are even water tresdmills and antigravity treadmills where they can suspend you over a special type of treadmill and remove 80% of your body weight so you can walk as if on a cloud.

          It is expensive, something like $75 for 3 Sessions, but people end up doing it even once a week.

          Pilates reformer machines are another good exercise where you spend the whole time laying down. I found that soothing, even as a young person with movement terror.

          I did it when I lived in California and loved it.

          When I got injured, decades later, the physical therapist had the machines and I loved it just as much.

            1. Sparkpeople is free, by the way and the exercise videos are helpful.

              Walkaway the Pounds is another fairly low impact if you don’t have knee problems. Those are free on YouTube, too.

              Seniors and wheel chair exercises are on YouTube, too.

              1. The Blue Zones people didn’t do as much formal exercise, but they moved their body.

                Getting up from your desk every hour and stretching and walking even a little bit can changing thibgs.

                My uncle did isometric exercises when he was wheel chair bound and I thought, “That’s nice” but I got to arm wrestle him when he had an infection which affected his brain and he might have weighed 125 pounds or something by then, but he was strong as an ox.

  10. Dr. Greger, I just bought your How Not to Die cookbook, and it’s even better than I expected. You’ve managed to include recipes that I will absolutely love and will use all the time. Thank you so much. Our good health is in large part due to the work you have done.

  11. With all due respect, I’m really surprised how it’s even possible to be “lazy and busy” at the same time?
    Seems like an oxymoron to me..

    1. Shilajit,

      I don’t find it a contradiction at all.

      Small business owners spent years of 80 hours per week and did caretaking and end up going home and not feel like moving at all. That is my frame of reference.

      1. Depression is another one.

        I have 2 friends whose sons suffer with depression / passivity so strong that the mothers wonder whether to lift their toothbrushes for them or let them just not brush their teeth.

        They are in therapy and on meds, but they don’t bathe or brush their teeth is how little exercise they get.

    1. hi John, the short answer is no! Even for therapeutic doses the quantities used in trials (with some exceptions) were tiny.

      I cooking, the saying is that too much tumeric will ruin a meal. If I am making a dish for 4 large servings I might use 1/2, 3/4 tsp at MOST along with the other spices I use . If you are using curry powder in a recipe, the tumeric is already in the curry powder. I use separate spices. What recipe are you making ?

      If the family is about to eat a non indian dish like spagetti, they can just add a pinch to their meal themselves, or provide a shaker tin if you prefer that to cooking Indian cuisine. Many middle east and african dishes also use tumeric. (Moroccan, Ethiopian, etc )

  12. Had a strange nosebleed a while ago….which got me out of bed and to the computer. (It’s now nearly 2 a.m. where I live.)

    Because of so much “good press,” I’ve been adding a few shakes of powdered tumeric on something or other while it cooks every day for I dunno how long. Yesterday I might have put on more than usual. Am wondering if there might be some connection. Could be because of the dry, cold time of year too….

    Anyway, I found this: https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2016/05/23/did-turmeric-cause-a-frightening-nosebleed/

      1. YR,

        You be careful.

        Yes, taking breaks on it is good.

        Also humidify your space.

        Be extra careful walking outside and driving for a few weeks.

        Not kidding.

        Have some Yunnan Baiyoa on hand, in case of emergency and genuinely do not mess with it.

        If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to the ER.

        But humidify your space no matter what.

      2. Hey YR, I wrote a cautionary note at the end of a reply to Lida, up near the beginning of this forum based on my own experience, and on a couple of website references. webmd for example. I myself have to be very careful even though I dont take blood thinners. I use a lot of herbs and spices in cooking daily. I cannot take omega 3’s either. They will cause bleeding/bruising, and I am afraid of hemoraghic stroke. A tiny pinch of tumeric is enough to be effective according to many studies. . Hope you are feeling better soon!

        1. Barb, now that sounds really scary! Lordy, it’s hard to know what to eat these days, even (or maybe especially) in the herb department.

          1. I posted some time ago about my horrible reaction to eating the fennel seeds our favorite Indian restaurant offered as a digestive aid or whatever. Had never tried them before.

            The next morning I saw my mouth looked like a lip job gone wrong. Yikes, was afraid to go out in public. Then I googled and found that there are side effects to fennel seeds (too). It seems almost anything can have side effects. We just don’t know what affects us personally until we give it that first try.

            https://celebsundertheknife.com/7-lips-jobs-gone-wrong/

  13. I have a handful of people who died because things happened while they were on blood thinners.

    John McDougall said that the Eskimos used to have that happen quite often.

    1. Thanks for sharing it. My brother is most likely having surgery in 11 days. I put turmeric and garlic in everything.

      I am not going to know what to make him this week, but the logic just changed from the spices which might shrink his tumor to not having blood thinners before surgery.

      1. Am up early, Deb….heading down to the City to see “Kinky Boots” with a friend this afternoon.

        Thanks for your input. Yes, I always have pans of water near my radiators; that’s a given. I noticed the nose bleed only when I blew my sort of clogged-up nose during the night. It’s not like it dripped all over the place or anything.

        I take no meds, so no blood thinners. Rarely take aspirin. Supposedly, as a blood type O, my blood doesn’t clot as well as other blood types. Who knows — might be something to that, too.

        But I’m reconsidering taking tumeric from now on. :-/

        1. YR,

          They said to cycle on and off of it. A month on, some time off.

          Glad you aren’t going to become a cautionary news article!

          Enjoy Kinky Boots.

          I am deciding whether to try Pasta Zero Fettuccine with pesto.

          Has anyone tried Pasta Zero?

          I am already overwhelmed with choices of pesto.

          Basil, arugula, pea, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, one recipe had a mix with walnuts.

          1. I found the winner of the worlds best pesto recipe and the trick was using a mortar and pestle. They said you can freeze the food processor blades or freeze your whole blender.

            Hot spinning technology wrecks pesto.

          2. Deb, I’m going to just stop tumeric altogether. Got enuf things to keep track of, don’t wanna bother with the “on again, off again” business.

            Well, two ol friends from way back were always curious about “Kinky Boots.” After all, it won some awards and all that hoopla. So, as one of us had discount tickets (it wasn’t moi) because the musical is closing in April, and even though we knew nothing about it AT all about the story, we sallied forth to watch the thing. In a word or three: What WAS that? We should have guessed just from the title.

            Maybe it’s just me, but it’s sure not the kind of musical I used to enjoy years ago when I lived in the City.

  14. Well, I have used way too much of my data plan since I stopped being able to post with my computer. I am probably going to run out this month.

    I still don’t know what happened.

    Did you ban me or did your system think I am a robot?

    1. Proposition: “When all else has been eliminated, that which remains, no matter how improbable, must be true” -Sherlock Holmes’ father, attr.” Solve for the value of “all”.

  15. I literally add turmeric to my dinner every night thanks to “Mr Man” as Dr Gregor has become known in my house.

    “Oo Mr Man said this” and “well Mrs vegandrew, I think you’ll find Mr Man said…”

    Seriously though as it’s quite a mild flavour you can add it to pretty much anything in the small amount required on the daily dozen. So sprinkle away and eat up!

  16. I am taking tumeric for inflammation from RA, are there other supplements or specific fruits and vegetables to eat or avoid for RA?

    1. Hello Kelly. Thanks for your comments!

      If you’ve been diagnosed with RA, there’re several things you can do in your diet to help inflammation.

      It’s been concluded that: “Proposed mechanisms of improvement include altered antioxidant levels, weight loss, and removal of food allergens and intolerances. The improvement of symptoms seen in clinical studies may also be due to change from an unhealthy diet to a healthier diet with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and a reduction of saturated fats during the course of the study”

      In these couple of videos, Dr. Greger addresses the benefits of a plant-based diet on RA:

      The Best Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis
      https://nutritionfacts.org/2017/05/09/the-best-diet-for-rheumatoid-arthritis/

      Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/why-do-plant-based-diets-help-rheumatoid-arthritis/

      I’d also recommend this one:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/anti-inflammatory-antioxidants/

      Besides diet, it´s also important to avoid smoking, have good stress management and take care of your gut microbiota… although this would be already covered if you’re following a plant-based diet

      Hope it helps

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