Readers of my blog know that I’ve been a big fan of turmeric for a long time. I began taking a tbsp of turmeric powder daily after being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and ulcerative colitis in 2004. I attribute turmeric for keeping me in remission for several years and steadily lowering my inflammation markers,  C-reactive protein (CRP) and sedimentation rate. In addition, I’ve never had to take the autoimmune drugs like methotrexate and antibiotics. Recently, several new studies on the health benefits and disease-fighting properties are beginning to surface, and they all point to turmeric as an incredibly potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant tool to use for a variety of diseases. Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, cancers, liver disease, neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, psoriasis, chronic gingivitis, and back pain. Wow! In a study by Dr. Easton, at the UCLA Alzheimer Transition Center, researchers found that turmeric actually helps clear the amyloid-beta plaque that is responsible for that dreaded disease. One of the problems with taking turmeric is that it’s not assimilated very easily. Turmeric compounds get “tagged” in the digestive tract and is rapidly removed from the body. One way around this is to add black pepper to turmeric. The active ingredient in pepper is piperine, which increases turmeric absorption by 2,000 %. Eating a tbsp of turmeric is not very palatable, so I mix my powder with 4 oz. of Acai juice and 4 oz. of water. A pill form is also available, but look on the label for pepper to be included. Some brands, such as Longvida, bind turmeric to phosphatidylcholine, which also increases assimilation. When shopping for this spice, you may notice that the word curcumin pops up. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. Aim for 1,500 to 2,000 mg per day. One tbsp of powder is roughly 1,500 mg.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.