Curcumin effects: the most important questions and answers

Curcumin Wirkung: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

The effect of curcumin is already considered a miracle cure in early Asian healing practices. Curcumin is a component of the turmeric root. Curcumin is said to have healing properties.

To give you a better understanding of how curcumin works, here are several aspects about curcumin. You will find out in which areas it can really help and when one should rather speak of a placebo effect. All of these facts are based on studies conducted to give you an unbiased view of things.

the essentials in brief

  • Curcumin is the pigment in the turmeric root. It contains most of the active ingredients in turmeric that have a positive effect on the human body.
  • Curcumin can be taken in the right dosage by almost anyone. The big advantage is that in most cases there are no side effects.
  • Research on curcumin's contribution to curing cancer patients is still immature. More research needs to be done to get accurate results in this area.

What is curcumin?

Curcumin is an essential component of the turmeric plant. It is the part that acts as a coloring agent and is what gives the turmeric root its yellowish color. The turmeric root originally comes from South Asia and has been cultivated for centuries, especially in India.

The turmeric root usually contains three to five percent of curcumin.

In the food industry, curcumin is labeled as E100.

Curcumin is the key component of turmeric root, which is said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, curcumin is said to have a positive effect in cancer treatment, calming the stomach and treating heart and brain diseases. In the following, we will use various studies to show you to what extent this assumption is confirmed.

Turmeric in a bag

Curcumin is the pigment of the well-known turmeric root. This is also the component that gives curry powder its yellowish color. (Image Source: Alice_Alphabet / Pixabay)

What is the effect of curcumin?

Curcumin is best known for having an anti-inflammatory reaction in the human body.

In addition, the active ingredient curcumin is also an antioxidant.

In addition, curcumin should also have a positive influence on the fight against tumors. Curcumin is also known to have a positive effect on digestive problems. (1)

The following table shows you what effect and effect the active ingredient curcumin has on different areas of the human body.

area of ​​the human body effects of curcumin
skin Anti-inflammatory effects help treat skin diseases, mostly in the form of ointments or masks.(2)
Brain Anti-inflammatory effects can protect brain from neurodegeneration. Curcumin can stop oxidation processes in the brain and promotes the formation of new nerve cells.(3,4)
Colon Anti-inflammatory effect helps treat inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and gastric mucosa.(5,6,7)
liver Antioxidant effects of curcumin help treat fatty liver.(8)
Heart Curcumin enables high oxygen levels in the blood. Curcumin lowers cholesterol, which helps reduce heart disease.(9)

Can Curcumin Help Cure Diseases?

As you have already learned, curcumin has a healing effect on your body. In the following you will find out what effect curcumin can have on common diseases in German society.

type of disease Effect of Curcumin
Cancer Contribution to healing not proven, not researched enough
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) cannot cure MS but may help relieve pain
arthrosis contributes to pain relief and improved quality of life.

The effect of curcumin on cancer

While curcumin's effects on the body have been described as positive, curcumin has its limitations. Despite curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects, curcumin's ability to cure cancer is not definitive.

A study of people with prostate cancer did not see a better response to chemotherapy than did those on placebo. (10) Patients with breast cancer could not see any improvement in their treatment either. Here, oral curcumin preparations or placebo preparations were taken. (11)

So it may well be that curcumin helps to strengthen the body of a cancer patient. However, the effect of actively improving the patient's condition by taking curcumin has not been researched enough to say that it can produce an improvement.

The effect of curcumin and multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the nerves. To date, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, and MS is considered incurable.

However, research has been conducted into whether taking curcumin can help relieve pain.

In addition to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, curcumin also has neuroprotective and cell-regulating properties. In the treatment of MS, the property of cellular regulation may contribute to pain relief in MS patients.(12)

The effect of curcumin on osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear on the joints that goes beyond age-related wear and tear. This is where patients experience pain. So, researchers have wondered if taking curcumin can help alleviate this pain.

This study tested the effect of curcumin on patients' knee osteoarthritis. It turned out that an alleviation of the symptoms could be noticed. However, it is also pointed out that this requires more research.(13)

This study also deals with the treatment of osteoarthritis with curcumin. It was found that taking curcumin helps improve patients' quality of life, improves body mobility and reduces pain. In addition, taking curcumin could significantly slow down the death of the important chondrocyte cells that are important for articular cartilage.(14)

Curcuma in the test tube

Research is concerned with the effects of curcumin in the human body. For this purpose, many studies are carried out for different disease areas in order to learn more. (Image source: cgdsro / Pixabay)

Does Curcumin Help You Lose Weight?

Basically yes. Because of course you can't expect to lose weight just because you take curcumin. In general, of course, it is also important that you eat well. Because curcumin is not a miracle cure either.

But how does curcumin help you lose weight? Curcumin also has an effect that makes it harder for blood vessels to form - in technical terms: an anti-angiogenic effect. However, new blood vessels are essential for the formation of fat cells in your body. This means that curcumin makes it harder for fat cells to form in your body. Thus, curcumin can support weight loss.

As already mentioned, curcumin also contributes to healthy digestion. Good digestion can have a positive effect on your weight loss success.

Therefore, curcumin can also help you lose weight in this way.

This is also evident in a study in which obese people consumed curcumin and phosphatidylserine over a period of 60 days. After those 60 days, you can see a significant drop in body weight in the participants who took curcumin.(15)

Does curcumin help against depression?

Of course, when answering this question, you have to keep in mind that there are different types of depression. And there is no general answer to this question.

However, researchers in this area have also tried to find out whether curcumin has a positive effect in treating depression.

For this purpose, 123 patients suffering from depression were treated with different doses of curcumin for 12 weeks. The first group received a dose of curcumin extract of 250 mg per day. The second group received double the dose of cucurmin extract per day. The third group received 250 mg of curcumin extract and 15 mg of saffron per day. And the third group received a placebo.

Various tests at the beginning and end of the study made it possible to determine how the patients' condition had changed over the course of the 12 weeks. In the first three groups, an average improvement in the condition of the patients could be determined at the end of the test series.

In general, it is advisable to carry out further studies to explore this topic. Above all, the type of depression must also be taken into account. In general, however, this study shows that an effect of curcumin on depression cannot be ruled out. (16)

Are There Side Effects of Curcumin?

In general, curcumin is considered a very tolerable food. That said, curcumin has very few side effects and is extremely tolerable if not overdosed. Nevertheless, in rare cases, side effects can occur despite a normal dosage.

In this case, or with a severe overdose, problems with the stomach and intestines appear in most cases. These manifest themselves in nausea, seizures, vomiting or diarrhea.

In some cases, mild allergic reactions may also occur.

If curcumin is then no longer supplied, the side effects usually subside very quickly. If this is not the case, you should consult a doctor and get to the bottom of the cause.

If you have gallbladder or liver problems, you should also avoid consuming curcumin, or at least ask your doctor how much curcumin you can take. It is also recommended to avoid curcumin during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

In general, you should be able to take curcumin in the right dose without having to worry about side effects. If you are unsure, you can always consult a doctor to be on the safe side.

Turmeric powder and turmeric root

Curcumin is the component of turmeric root that produces the most beneficial effects in the human body. You can take curcumin in different forms. (Image source: Kirsten Reupke / Pixabay)

In what form does curcumin work best?

Curcumin is very sparingly soluble in water, which means that curcumin has a very low bioavailability. Therefore, you should pay attention to how you consume curcumin.

It is especially recommended that if you are consuming curcumin in a dish, that you also add some oil so that the curcumin dissolves in the oil. In this way, the curcumin can develop better in your body and the effect is increased.

Another solution would be to heat the curcumin in almond milk, for example, so that the good active ingredients of curcumin can be released in your body.

You can take curcumin in capsule form, as an oil, as a powder or the turmeric root itself.

What is the best dose of curcumin?

When it comes to the dosage of curcumin, it is of course primarily a matter of body dimensions and especially body weight. In general, 2mg of curcumin per kilogram of body weight is recommended in one day.

That's about 120 to 200 mg of curcumin a day. As already mentioned, if you have previous illnesses or are unsure, you should still discuss the dose of your curcumin intake with your doctor.

What alternatives are there to curcumin?

Not only curcumin has a health-promoting effect on the body. There are also other remedies that have similar effects on the human body. Below are three alternatives to curcumin.

Cortisone as an alternative

An alternative to curcumin is the steroid hormone cortisone. Cortisone originally comes from the adrenal cortex of the human body, but it can also be made synthetically. Just like curcumin, cortisone has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Cortisone is available in the form of tablets, ointments, infusions and nasal sprays.

Chili as an alternative

Chili is also an alternative to curcumin. The active ingredient capsaicin contained in the chili pepper has a similar effect on the human body as curcumin. Chili also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and helps the body to fight stomach problems. You can use chili as a powder or as a pod in your food.

Pepper as an alternative

Just like a chili pepper, pepper also has an active ingredient that has a similar effect to curcumin. Piperine is the active ingredient in pepper that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is also interesting that piperine supports the effects of curcumin. So taking the combination of curcumin and piperine is recommended.


In conclusion, it can be said that taking curcumin only harms your body in very few cases, because the side effects are small to almost non-existent. Research can also identify a positive effect of curcumin in the area of ​​anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body.

However, you should not assume that diseases such as cancer or multiple sclerosis can be hastened by curcumin. Research in this field has not progressed enough. In general, if you are unsure, you should consult a doctor to guarantee a correct dosage of curcumin.


  1. "Induction of glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) contributes to anti-inflammatory effects of the natural product curcumin in macrophages"
  2. "Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications"
  3. "Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial"
  4. "Benefits of curcumin in brain disorders"
  5. "Curcumin for maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis"
  6. "Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial"
  7. "Efficacy of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol"
  8. "Efficacy and Safety of Phytosomal Curcumin in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial"
  9. "Therapeutic Applications of Curcumin Nanoformulations"
  10. "Effect of Curcumin Supplementation During Radiotherapy on Oxidative Status of Patients with Prostate Cancer: A Double Blinded, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study"
  11. "Oral curcumin for radiation dermatitis: A URCC NCORP study of 686 breast cancer patients"
  12. "Therapeutic potential of curcumin for multiple sclerosis"
  13. "Efficacy of curcumin and Boswellia for knee osteoarthritis: Systematic review and meta-analysis"
  14. "The spice for joint inflammation: anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in treating osteoarthritis"
  15. "Potential role of bioavailable curcumin in weight loss and omental adipose tissue decrease: preliminary data of a randomized, controlled trial in overweight people with metabolic syndrome. Preliminary study"
  16. "Efficacy of curcumin, and a saffron/curcumin combination for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study"
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