Heart of Gold: Turmeric vs. Exercise

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 is 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:

I must have dozens of turmeric videos by now, but here are a few to get you started:

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

135 responses to “Heart of Gold: Turmeric vs. Exercise

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    1. Hi Keith! Have you gone to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine site (PCRM.org) and looked over their diets. They have some pretty specific information and good programs for different dietary needs. You can also find good information at Forks over Knives. They have a lot of recipes and articles about a plant based diet. If you live in California, Kaiser Permanente has a class that you can attend and there are some reading materials on their site.

    2. Hi Keith. 2tsaybow gave some good links. A lot of groups offer meal plans, but it’s not something we have available on our site. You may consider checking out Jack Norris RD’s meal plans. Here is a great video explaining the work of Kaiser Permanente – the largest U.S. managed care organization that publishes patient education materials. Kaiser has established a very healthful meal plan that could help. For recipes, Dr. Greger has a video on chocolate shakes and pumpkin pie. I also find the Vegetarian Resource Group helpful for folks looking for more plant-based options, as well as the Physicians Committee providing literally thousands of recipes!

    3. Coming right up! That’s what my new book is going to be all about: putting all the science into practice. I can’t wait for everyone to see it. It (How Not to Die) will be out December 8th–mark your calendar! (all my proceeds go directly to the nonprofit that keeps NutritionFacts.org alive).

      1. How Not to Die – fantastic title!!! I am looking forward to December 8th. Nonprofit as always…. I will buy 2!

      2. An idea to raise money? : Random drawings (however many you want) out of every person who makes a donation (at least equal to the cost of the book) to NutritionFaction.org in December. Winners get a *signed* copy of the book. Just a thought.

      3. Hi Dr. Greger, I love your site and am a big fan.

        One question redarding your title…seeing how the #1 cause of ‘death’ is ‘birth’…will chapter one of your book be all about how not to get born in the first place?

      4. Also you once mentioned having one of the few jobs you could do while still in your jammies. Would you also please send the protocol for that? Thanks very much.

      5. Looking forward to your book. Superb choice of title. I’ve learned so many valuable and helpful things from you. Thank you.

      6. OOOOOOOWWW cant wait to get it please remind us all publicly and kindly sell it online. therefore people like me (indonesia) can buy it. thanks much Doc Greger and all of NF Staffs

  1. Dr. Greger, other than eating my favorited food curry every day what are some good sources of turmeric? Would you recommend taking a supplement in pill form? Does this need to be added to your short list of recommended supplements, vitamin B12 and D? Thanks for all you do!

      1. All the more reason to take a high quality, standardized, bioavailabiltiy-enhanced curcumin supplement. It removes the guesswork with regard to dosing as well as the non-therapeutic constituents.

        1. Yet for turmeric….in some cases…the whole herb works best?? Alzheimers for example? I take a phosphitalized curcumin…but should also take whole turmeric?

    1. As MacSmiley said, Dr. Greger does not suggest taking more than like a teaspoon per day due to the high oxalate content. It’s great you eat it with foods. Sometimes I’ll put a pinch in my mouth and go about my day. I saw a doctor do it once in the Marshall Islands. I said “is that good?” He replied “no, not particularly, but medicine is not supposed to taste good” (and smiled). I thought he was an interesting fellow. So sometimes when I am not downing curry or finding much turmeric in my diet I’ll take a pinch.

      1. Also, the addition of even small amounts of piperine boosts absorption as much as 2000 percent– a little goes a very long way. Which easily “explains” why Indian cuisine frequently includes black pepper.

    2. I chop it up and put it into my fermented vegetables, which I then put on my huge salad. I put pepper in it to increase the bioavailability. I always have seeds, nuts and extra virgin olive oil dressing, so oil will also increase its bioavailability. I agree with those who don’t think it tastes that great, but then if it’s just a tiny part of a huge salad, it’s hardly noticed and the flavor blends in well with all of the other items.

    3. Hello again – I just saw you had an older question that was not answered. So sorry for the delay, here’s some info that might be helpful: Dr. Greger recommends ¼ teaspoon of dried turmeric daily as part of his Daily Dozen. This amount is equivalent to about a quarter inch of fresh turmeric root. Turmeric can really be added to anything – smoothies, entrees, soups, even desserts! Enjoy experimenting with the endless (and delicious!) possibilities. We also have evidence that shows adding a quarter teaspoon of black pepper can significantly boost the compounds of turmeric in your blood. So, it’s always a good idea to consume these two together!

  2. Dr. Greger, why were these studies conducted on postmenopausal women? If curcumin and exercise was good for them, would it be as good for healthy middle-aged men, for example?

    1. It seems fair to assume that the results can apply to healthy middle-aged men.
      Actually much cardiovascular research with drugs are done on men (dont ask me why) and few are questioning that the drugs strictly speaking only are tested on men, but are prescribed to both gender.

    1. You may have to check the studies in “sources cited”. He does say “about a teaspoon a day’s worth of turmeric.” The study methods will say more. If you are still curious and cannot find I’ll ask Dr. Greger. Thanks, Julie (as always asking important questions).

      1. OK, so curcumin, NOT turmeric was used. One study used 150 mg curcumin/day, the amount used in the other study wasn’t in the abstract.

        1. Unfortunately Dr. Greger tends to use the terms turmeric and curcumin almost interchangeably. The reality is that none of the many prospective studies he has cited in his numerous videos have used dietary turmeric. All have used some sort of curcumin preparation. While I understand his emphasis on consuming whole plants rather than extracts or solitary nutrients, eg. vitamin A, C, E, etc., the science supporting curcumin is overwhelming. Every time he does a piece on turmeric/curcumin the inevitable question is always, “What dose should I use?” Well, if you’re using one of the homebrews of ground turmeric, black pepper and some sort of fat the answer: as much as you want since nearly all of it will end up in your feces anyway. If you actually want to repicate the results of scientific research buy some Curqfen (the one I take), Longvida (developed at UCLA), Theracurmin, Meriva, or one of the other enhanced preparations and follow the directions on the bottle. All will achieve meaningful blood levels. I like Curqfen because it has the longest half-life that I have found, has been shown to cross the blood brain barrier, and is relatively inexpensive.

          1. Doctor: Can you please post the source of half lives of curcumin preparations if it is one paper with a comparison? Thanks

            1. I have reviewed hundreds of curcumin studies on Pubmed and frankly it is a daunting task to sift through the nearly 8000 citations and find the study to which I referred. I do have a link to the most recently published study with the caveat that it is a company press release. I do have the original study but it is in the form of a file on my computer which I don’t think I should publish.

              http://akay-group.com/spiceuticals_products/

              Here is another study (abstract). I didn’t feel like spending $35 for the privilege of reading all the details:

              http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464612000059

          2. Here is an interesting question: is it bad or good if turmeric goes through gut without full absorption. In the light of recent discussion of importance of healthy/non-inflamed gut for overall health and wellbeing. Might it be that turmeric does exactly keep gut inflammation in check? After all neurodegenerative statistics in India is impressive and they get their turmeric old-school way. But again, I’m not so fast to attribute those numbers to turmeric only, as always it’s probably more complicated. Another question is given curcumin is lipophilic do we need to ingest it (and I’m talking rather turmeric here) with some fat. From my limited understanding it is not uncommon for Indian tradition to put turmeric in milk spice tea and in the frying pan with other spices and oil to give it a quick “roast”.. Interesting..

    1. On my probably less accurate kitchen scale, one tsp turmeric powder dithers between 3-4 g. So, Shimmy K’s number works for me and it yields a nice result as follows. The Sugawara paper in today’s sources states subjects were given curcumin 150mg/day. According to the paper linked to below, turmeric powder averaged 3.14% curcumin by weight. Doing the math, 0.15/0.0314=4.78g turmeric powder. So, to get 150g curcumin from turmeric powder, 4.78/3.13=1.5 level teaspoons of turmeric powder. Hope this is helpful.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17044766

    1. I have been taking a capsule from Lifeextension which has BCM-95, curcumin (blended with turmeric essential oil) Prior to that I took Turmeric capsule from New Chapter for over 1 year. I has been very, very, helpful for my arthritis discomfort.

    2. It’s probably ok, you can find turmeric capsule at many supplement company. But It’s much more cheaper to buy the spice and use it in recipe. I do it very often, it’s very simple. It goes well with almost everything. And don’t forget to add pepper. It boost absorption of curcumine by 2000%. Some company have curcumine and pepperine in the same capsule, and sometime turmeric essential oil, which also boost absorption. But, again, much more cheaper to buy the spice. If, in the cases where you can’t stand the taste or just isn’t practical for you. Turmeric capsule, with meals, might be usefull.

  3. I’ve been making turmeric capsule at home (a teaspoon of turmeric in a couple of capsule shells) and taking them but someone told me that this does not absorb properly. What can I do to make this home remedy effective?

      1. Dr. Greger says 1 teaspoon is okay, according to the research. It’s when someone is taking like 5-8 capsules per day where oxalate stones may become a risk. And note it’s not like everyone who takes a larger dose will develop kidney stones. He only mentions as a precaution ;-)

  4. In what form does one take turmeric? I am taking a teaspoon of the ground spice turmeric sprinkled on my cereal. I barely taste it. I also put cinnamon and cayenne pepper On my dearest with soy milk.

  5. You recently did a video on the possibility of getting to much turmeric/curcumin. What is your current recommendation. Is powdered natural spice better then pill?

  6. http://arterialhealth.net/physicians/physician-information/

    What is an EndoScore?

    An EndoScore is the final analysis of a 15-minute EndoPAT assessment based on the ratio of the post- to pre-occlusion PAT amplitude of the tested arm, divided by the post- to pre-occlusion ratio of the control arm. The higher the EndoScore, the better the health of the endothelium and the lower the risk for heart disease.

    There are three basic categories for EndoScores:

    Red Zone: Score of 1.67 and lower.

    You do not have proper endothelial function and this could be an important signal of an imminent cardiac problem. This EndoScore may indicate the presence of disease and that an immediate evaluation and intervention may be needed, whether it is aggressive medical therapy or a medical procedure. It’s imperative that endothelial health be restored.

    Yellow Zone: Score between 1.68 and 2.

    Your endothelium is healthy and while you don’t have any additional risk, you are still not in the well-protected Green Zone.

    It’s vitally important that you now take charge of your own health and do everything you can to improve your EndoScore. Good health depends of certain lifestyle choice you make that include what you eat, how active you are, whether or not you smoke, the precautions you take to avoid injuries and accidents, and how you deal with tension and anxiety. The choice is yours. Choose health!

    Green Zone. Score between 2.1 and 3.

    Your endothelium is functioning optimally, and you have maximum protection. Keep up whatever it is that you are doing, because the foods that you have been eating and the physical activity you have been performing regularly have affected a number of risk factors implicated in vascular health and longevity, particularly blood cholesterol levels, hypertension, and obesity.

    What is an EndoScore?

    An EndoScore is the final analysis of a 15-minute EndoPAT assessment based on the ratio of the post- to pre-occlusion PAT amplitude of the tested arm, divided by the post- to pre-occlusion ratio of the control arm. The higher the EndoScore, the better the health of the endothelium and the lower the risk for heart disease.

    There are three basic categories for EndoScores:

    Red Zone: Score of 1.67 and lower.

    You do not have proper endothelial function and this could be an important signal of an imminent cardiac problem. This EndoScore may indicate the presence of disease and that an immediate evaluation and intervention may be needed, whether it is aggressive medical therapy or a medical procedure. It’s imperative that endothelial health be restored.

    Yellow Zone: Score between 1.68 and 2.

    Your endothelium is healthy and while you don’t have any additional risk, you are still not in the well-protected Green Zone.

    It’s vitally important that you now take charge of your own health and do everything you can to improve your EndoScore. Good health depends of certain lifestyle choice you make that include what you eat, how active you are, whether or not you smoke, the precautions you take to avoid injuries and accidents, and how you deal with tension and anxiety. The choice is yours. Choose health!

    Green Zone. Score between 2.1 and 3.

    Your endothelium is functioning optimally, and you have maximum protection. Keep up whatever it is that you are doing, because the foods that you have been eating and the physical activity you have been performing regularly have affected a number of risk factors implicated in vascular health and longevity, particularly blood cholesterol levels, hypertension, and obesity.

    Took the test in May and my score was 3.56!!!

  7. Might also consider pomegranate

    http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2007/2/report_pomegranate/Page-01
    Pomegranate Reverses Atherosclerosis and Slows the Progression of Prostate Cancer

    http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2014/11/enhance-endothelial-health-how-pomegranate-protects-against-atherosclerosis/page-01
    Enhance Endothelial Health
    How Pomegranate Protects Against Atherosclerosis

    http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/13/2/128.pdf
    Therapeutic Applications of Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.):
    A Review

    http://www.wonderfulpomegranateresearch.com/media/pdf/health/HH_2006_de_Nigris_NO_025.pdf
    Pomegranate juice reduces oxidized low-density lipoprotein downregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in human coronary endothelial cells

  8. A few years back I began ingesting curcumin/turmeric daily, but my wife made me stop; she complained that my breath and body odor reeked to high-heaven. Soon after I discontinued, she said my “olfactory aura” had returned to normal. Anyone else had this problem with this spice? And, if so, is there any way to negate it? Thanks…

    1. I’m of south Asian origin, so I’ve been eating turmeric all my life, but this is the first time I hear about turmeric causing body odor. Interesting!

  9. I regularly eat a plant-based diet as does my wife however she loves to make fun of my breakfast smoothie. I am accused of adding a new ingredient whenever I hear of a beneficial plant based additive which is true. As a result, my breakfast smoothies includes Amla, Gogi berries, blueberries, flaxseed, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, kale, strawberries and walnuts. It is kind of funny but my question is am I defeating the purpose by dumping all these ingredients into the same mea?. By the way, it isn’t delicious but I like it.

    1. Great Job! I do the same. I also add rosemary, sage, ginger, fenugreek, rose hips, ashwaghanda, hibiscus, psyillium, and inulin to mine. I’ll also add a few dates to make it sweeter.

  10. This surgeon, Dr. Irminne Van Dyken feels that one should use fresh Turmeric, that powdered is not always “the real thing.” She said this in a lecture she gave in Maui in May 2015. Do not know if she also said this in the lecture she gave on Oahu earlier that week, that can be watched here: http://youtu.be/wTBZuCbhMLA
    Since fresh turmeric has become available in our local stores, am using that in preference to the dried version, even though it is a bit more work.

  11. If you go to Pubmed and type curcumin in the search box you will find nearly 8000 studies. The overwhelming majority utilize some form of standardized formulation, ie. supplement. Here is a link to an interesting study comparing absorption, bioavailabilty, and serum levels of free curcumin and metabolites among several ehanced preparations vs. plain turmeric.

    http://www.nutritionj.com/content/13/1/11

  12. I use a little food grade calcium chloride (like a match-head’s worth) along with my high-turmeric meals on the theory that calcium oxalate is insoluble even at post-prandial pH in the stomach. Hopefully it sails right through.

  13. This is very interesting … the endothelial layer is like our inside skin. How do they determine endothelial dysfunction? Great video.

  14. I am not really crazy about the taste of Curcumin or Turmeric … what is the best way to get it into my diet and how much would I need?

    1. Brux: If you add a small amount of turmeric to anything you cook (pasta, rice, soup, curries,, stew, salad dressing) , you won’t taste it.

      1. Thanks George. I think I read though that there are two forms of this and the Turmeric is not absorbed into the body. Do you know if that is correct? I tend to be skeptical when it comes to buying things I don’t necessarily like, and I do not know what or if it is doing something for me. If this is a cost effective win I’d be willing to try it if I could figure out what is the minimum I need to do. That’s kind of where I am coming from. Do you take this stuff, and what for?

        BUT, what is a small amount? I could put it in rice … I like to eat rice with veggies, sometimes with tomato sauce.

  15. Hi Dr. Greger and Team, I just got my fourth concussion and am resting at home. What foods do you recommend for this? I have all the regular stuff, migraine, fog, dizzy, nausea, sleepy, light and noise sensitive, all that. I have been instinctively eating walnuts, celery, green smoothies, strawberries, ginger, turmeric, cloves, and oatmeal. Thanks for any tips you have.

    1. Not Team myself, but I’d really suggest checking out melatonin. There are lots of studies showing its very potent antioxidant/anti-inflammatory effect especially in regards to brain. But it induces sleepiness, so probably worth taking in the evening, although if I had such injury I would get it every few hours no doubt. To the list of products I would add green tea and coffee (also lots of studies re brain inflammation), also garlic no doubt (lots of studies again). Having first hand experience with brain inflammation I found it especially helpful to fast and eat very low glycemic food (say steamed broccoli and lentils as opposed to rice or even oatmeal). After about 15 hours of fasting thinking usually get so much clearer. Ginger/turmeric/green tea while fasting feels very good. I’d probably also go with very low dose of some NSAID like aspiring for a couple of days too. Get well soon!

      1. Hi Albert,
        Thank you I will try those as well. I might wait to do the fasting, I know it can increase brain cell growth which is good, but my headache might also get worse too. Yes I have the NSAIDs as well. To Fred the other guy who said to stop getting concussions, yes I wish it was that easy. These were car accidents where I was rear ended this one I was not even driving I was a passenger, and a drunk driver hit us rear ended, our car was stopped at the light not even moving. One was from me running on the pavement and I tripped. And
        yes repeated concussions are serious and that is why I was reaching out to others to see what I can do to mediate. Thanks for the suggestions!

        1. Hello Maria,
          yeah, I also think not getting concussions in the first place is a good idea, I hope it’ll be the last one :) Regarding fasting it’s quite easy to see if it is helpful, just try to skip a breakfast and by midday you’ll see wether you feel better or not.. Btw frankly at this stage you primary goal (for what I know) is to shut down excessive inflammation (the cause for all those headaches) rather than create new neurons (and neurogenesis works when there is no chronic inflammation in the brain). And fasting in my personal experience was one of the most powerful tools to do that, no doubt about that.. I also forgot to mention walking as an equally powerful way to improve brain blood circulation, remove bad stuff, supply oxygen and good stuff – and shut down endothelial inflammation via nitric oxide mechanism (in case you want to do some research). Studies show that the faster patients with brain injuries and strokes return to (tolerable) phisycal activity, the faster and better they heal. Personally I found that improvement could be felt after just 20-30 minutes, and even better closer to an hour of normal tempo/brisk walking. But of course it depends on your current state, just do what you can… I think it is really great that you are looking for some natural ways to heal!

        2. Maria222: Unfortunately, I don’t have any ideas for you. But I wanted you to know that my heart went out to you reading your post. What a terrible string of bad luck!

          But good for you for trying to figure out what you can do to mitigate the problems. I hope you are able to get some relief soon. You are due for some really awesome good luck.

  16. Very interesting! For quite a while I’ve been really wondering about the timing of turmeric and exercise. Not just turmeric but also, say, green tea or berries – any natural potent antioxidant food. There was an argument that to get the maximum benefit from exercise we must allow for some acute oxidative stress to happen, giving boost to internal defense mechanisms of the body. So in this case the two “interventions” might work best when done separately. On the other hand it’s not hard to imagine some rationale for pre-workout ingestion (especially if there is some “special” synergy, I remember study about green tea and exercise combo helping with Alzheimer’s symptoms), or post-workout (to shut down excessive oxidation/inflammation). I would bet on pre-workout, so,etching along the line of up-regulating NRF2 pathway magnifying exercise effects. Gotta dig some..

      1. Thanks Psych MD, sounds good I will keep taking it. I notice a few seconds after taking it I have a brief squeezing sensation go around my body. Any idea what that is?

  17. Is turmeric BETTER than fruits and vegetables? For example, could I just eat a full head of broccoli and get the same benefits as a teaspoon of turmeric? It would be nice to see a comparison. It seems that often times these spices are compared to things other than dark green leafy vegetables.

    1. A wide variety of sources of brilliant nutrition equals _best_ nutrition and happiest palate. Who wants to eat the same “top ten” things forever. Mix it up.

      The benefits of a “widely varied” WFPB diet vs. a “not so widely varied” WFPB diet are something that will likely NEVER be assessed clinically due to the enormous complexities, BUT even so, I’m pretty doggone sure that the former would be preferable.

      So sure that I’m betting my longevity on it.

    2. Lol! But what is the practical application to this question really? I mean turmeric costs not that much to really choose between it and fruits and veggies.. Why not just to make it addition? All the products are different in their nutritional value and healthful substances, plus there is lots of synergy between them, so we want variety too. The literature on turmeric is HUGE, it has one of the highest spots in tables of foods with highest antioxidant value. But we can have only one teaspoon or so. Why not have it and call it a day? :) The only real competition between turmeric and other stuff I could see is oxalate rich foods like spinach and cinnamon, one has to really pay attention to how much of combined oxalate is in the diet. Garlic, herbs such as basil and oregano, spices, tea and coffee, ginger etc are not ingested instead of basic foods but can make a big impact as a nice fun addition. I mean, sometimes I run out of veggies and think that at least I should have at least a green tea (or a teaspoon of turmeric for that matter) to keep my oxidative stress in check. But even here different antioxidants have different specialization in terms of oxidative species and other effects, so variety is still best option. Pretty boring answer isn’t it? :)))

      1. I contacted Akay Spiceuticals directly and requested to see the full study so they sent me the link. I thought it would work here but I realize now that would probably violate copywrite or something. Sorry about that.

          1. My pleasure. First of all, the reason there have been 8000 studies published on curcumin is because of the incredibly broad range of “potential” therapeutic indications. If it were a simple matter of making a curry dish with black pepper and fat that would be the end of the story. Combining dietary turmeric with fat does indeed improve absorption and Inhibiting glucouronidation in the liver with black pepper increases the level of curcumin in the serum, but the effect is brief, about one hour, after which levels are essentially undetectable. To achieve therapeutc efficacy curcumin must penetrate the target tissues. To achieve this free curcumin must enter the circulation and remain there long enough to be taken up. This is especially true with respect to crossing the blood brain barrier. In one of the studies cited they went so far as to inject nanoparticles of curcumin intravenously to test BBB permeability. It worked but its clinical application would seem limited. The study on the curcumin/fenugreek complex demonstrated significant organ penetration as follows:

            “The delivery of significant concentrations of biologically active free curcuminoids (curcumin,
            demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) at the target tissues has always been regarded
            as a major limitation for the efficacy of curcumin. Herein we report the blood–brainbarrier
            permeability, tissue distribution and enhanced bioavailability of free curcuminoids
            following the oral administration of a food grade curcumin formulation in comparison with
            the standardized native curcumin, for the first time. UPLC-ESI-MS/MS analyses of postadministration
            tissue samples ofWistar rats (200 mg/kg body weight) demonstrated significant
            (p < 0.001) enhancement in plasma bioavailability (25-fold), in vivo stability and blood–brainbarrier
            permeability as evidenced from the tissue distribution of free curcuminoids at, (ng/
            g), brain (343 ± 64.7), heart (391.7 ± 102.5), liver (445.52 ± 83), kidney (240.1 ± 47.2), and spleen
            (229.72 ± 42.2), with extended elimination half-life of 3 to 4 h. Standard curcumin, on the
            other hand, detected only 1.4 ± 0.8 ng/g of curcumin in the brain tissues."
            The only tissue that showed significant penetration by plain curcumin was intestine which would stand to reason since since most of it is not absorbed and would remain in physical contact, as they used to say in med school "from mouth to anus." That may account for its protective effect against colon cancer.

            1. Very informative! … thanks for taking the time to summarize this study for us. I have learned so much from both this website and the comments section, too!

            2. Interesting indeed. As I see it, there may be benefits from/of things passing through the entire system without ever becoming part of the blood circulatory system. IOW just because it leaves in the same state as which it entered does not mean the passage was for no benefit.

        1. The link you provided looks like a private Comcast e-mail account. Perhaps you mistakenly posted the wrong link to the study. I, too, would be interested in the content of the study.

  18. hi again. this is a more general request, not quit specific to this video only. when you post a video with a study that involves giving a certain spice or
    vegetable to people could you make sure you specify ( if the study does not, maybe contact the authors and find out?) how the item is actually prepared
    and given? as in cooked, or raw; on its own or as part of a regular meal; etc. thanks

  19. This video recommends endurance exercise. I’m a runner, so that’s good. But I’ve read several articles recently saying that running of an real significance, or other comparable endurance exercise, causes heart attacks. Do you think those articles have any truth? I mean, should I stop running?

  20. I recently had a cardiac stress test and during the test my
    blood pressure diastolic DROPPED below normal while my systolic rose normally according to the stress of the exercise.
    I exercise a considerable amount (mostly biking and hiking) and I take
    300 mg to 600 mg of turmeric daily. My doctor
    has not been able to explain why my diastolic dropped or the consequences of that so I
    am wondering if you can.

  21. I’m only use the root of vegetable of tumeric – I’d add a small piece 1/4″ to my smoothie and blend it. Other times, I would grate a piece in my food. Is it harmful to use the root?

  22. What are the best ways of incorporating turmeric into your diet? I add it to curries, but don’t eat curry every day so would love more ideas.

    1. Bassam: Sadly, coconut oil is not good for you. (I love the stuff, so this is bad news for me!) Check out these pages from NutritionFacts:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=coconut+oil

      Also, check out this great segment of a talk from Jeff Novick. Jeff Novick compares olive oil to sugar. The next part of the talk goes into coconut oil. I’ll just do a spoiler and let you know that the end result is very similar to olive oil, except that coconut oil has even more saturated fat than olive oil. Bottom line is that no pure oil is good for you in any significant amounts. Even the following segment is enlightening. The full talk is simply awesome.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbALgjmZUek

  23. All the studies talking about Turmeric not “bioavailable” are using it empty stomach :D Turmeric was never intended to be used on it’s own. It’s a spice that must be used with food. If you use it with food and add some pepper, enough Turmeric (not just curcumin) gets absorbed. Turmeric contains lot more then just curcumin. It’s the evil supplement companies who come up with variety of reasons to sell their supplement.

  24. Kidney biopsy I recently had done:
    “A single sizable focus of medullary, non-polarizing crystalline deposits, consistent with calcium phosphate, is identified, with associated tubular basement membrane rupture and focal granulomatous inflammation is seen in the medulla.”

    I read ( https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/diet-for-kidney-stone-prevention/Pages/facts.aspx ) that these “deposits” could be developing because of high dietary oxalates.
    Turmeric is high in oxalates.
    Could my daily turmeric consumption have played a part in the formation of these “deposits”?

    1. Perhaps important for those taking turmeric daily:

      “Once again: vitamin C increases oxalate but inhibits the union of calcium and oxalate.

      The calcium phosphate kidney stone can only exist in a urinary tract that is not acidic. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C’s most common form) acidifies the urine, thereby dissolving phosphate stones and preventing their formation.”
      -http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v09n05.shtml

    2. Your biopsy shows you have deposits of calcium phosphate, the non-polarizing crystals are what we see in something called pseudogout. Looking at the document you linked, it advises adjusting your diet to decrease meat as well as other items high in calcium and phosphate. Very often people improving their diet will load up on green vegetables not realizing that spinach is very, very high in oxalates. If you are not used to this load and start eating it in great quantities, say- three times a day -your body will not be able to process it effectively. Since much of your intake is filtered via the kidneys it is extremely important to help them by keeping yourself extremely well hydrated with water and lots of it. Since you have already damaged your kidneys your diet and hydration are of paramount importance. Most people do not eat a large amount of turmeric and unless you are consuming it with pepper much of it will not be absorbed into your bloodstream even then. Of all the items in your diet contributing to your kidney problems, turmeric is probably low on the list.

      1. 1. I hadn’t been eating meat (cow, chicken, or otherwise) with any regularity (maybe a couple of times total) during the approximate year leading up to the health event–and even in the years leading up to the health event (when I wasn’t avoiding meat as seriously) I didn’t eat it regularly (I probably ate it once every 2 weeks or less often). What I had eaten moderate amounts of had been (Gossner brand) cheese (something like 1lb weekly) in the couple of years before the health event (but less and less of it in the last year leading up to it).
        2. I’m not “most people” in terms of turmeric use–I was dosing 1 tsp + coconut butter + pepper sublingually and holding it there for 30-60 minutes.
        3. I cannot “hydrate” because I have congestive heart failure and chronic-on-acute kidney failure.

        Thanks anyways

    1. Hi, Susan! About one teaspoon per day was the amount of turmeric used in the study cited in the above video. The doses of turmeric that have been used in human studies range from less than one-sixteenth of a teaspoon up to nearly two tablespoons a day. Few adverse effects have been reported even at high doses, but the studies typically have only lasted a month or so. In his book, How Not to Die, Dr. Greger recommends that because turmeric can be quite powerful and we do not know what long-term effects of high doses may be, sticking to a “culinary dose” is best. Dr. Greger’s recommendation is about a quarter teaspoon per day. I doubt that consuming a teaspoon of turmeric per day would be problematic necessarily, but you could also reap the benefits from a slightly smaller dose. It should also be noted that if you are pregnant, have gallstones, or are susceptible to kidney stones, you may want to limit your intake of turmeric.

  25. Hi Dr. Greger and Team –

    Can you get all the health benefits of tumeric by drinking it in tea? or does the curcumin (and/or other phytonutrients) not really steep into the water?

  26. Hello Michelle. Thanks for your question.
    Despite turmeric tea is quite popular, I search about how much bioavailable the curcumin is in there or the other bioactive compounds, and there’s no info about eating
    There’s a short study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25183139) which evaluated herbal infusion, but turmeric was not the only herb included in the study.
    I’d believe that drinking turmeric tea wouldn’t affect its beneficial effects, the most important thing in here would pay attention about how much turmeric are you using to prepare your tea, or if you buy turmeric tea bags check how much curcumin it has.
    Check this couple of videos that are useful to know how much turmeric you should take on a daily basis.
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/boosting-the-bioavailability-of-curcumin/
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/oxalates-in-cinnamon/

    Hope it helps

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