Curcumin: A Longevity Powerhouse
By Anthony Ricciuto
Just Scratching the Surface
Hey, my fellow power mongers, I have some interesting info for you in this next mini-series. I am going to be doing an in-depth write-up on one of the most valuable compounds for your health, recovery, and longevity not only in the sport of Powerlifting but also in life. I feel that Curcumin is without a doubt one of the most important things you can take for not only your training performance but also increasing your life span. Now Curcumin will not add 300 pounds to your total like a 12-week stack of Sustanon, Anadrol, and Trenbolone Acetate. But in my humble opinion, it is one of the best things to take long term to keep your body running like a fine-tuned machine.
Curcumin Won’t Increase Your Total Like Sustanon Unfortunately!
Cutting Edge Information
Now some of you who have read my column in PL USA may say that I did mention a Q&A column on Turmeric about a decade back. Yes, while one of the components of Turmeric is the compound Curcumin, this time I want to go more in-depth into the specifics and scientific research regarding isolated Curcumin. You may notice with my new column that I will touch on some similar topics that I discussed in PL USA and for a good reason. While you may think it is to make things easier for me, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Many of the topics that I discussed ten and twelve years ago are now obsolete in terms of the information that I presented. Yes while much of it still is the same, the amount of studies done in this past decade has made much more information available. With that being said I want to make sure you the hardcore Powerlifter is getting the most up to date information available.
Let’s Get Started!
Now that I got that out of the way I want to get to the meat and potatoes of this series. Since my very first article published on Power Nutritionist, the emails have been coming in like a tsunami. Yes, it was like I was never gone because the correspondence I got from lifters back in my PL USA days was a daily occurrence. I am happy to see such a warm welcome by being back in the folds of the Powerlifting and Strength scene. I want you all to know that I will be here to help bring you the info like the good ole days. So without me yakking anymore let’s get started!
Laying the SmackDown
Now one of the most important topics to discuss with Powerlifters and Strength athletes is Cardiovascular Disease. I may say some things that you won’t like here but if I don’t say it no one will. Yes, you may think I am being a little harsh but with Powerlifters, you have to lay the smackdown on them every once in a while to help get it through their thick heads. Then within a couple of years, it may sink in. Now we all know that this epidemic of Cardiovascular Disease is not only one of the biggest killers of the general population, but it affects strength athletes just as much. Now many of you might be thinking, “How can it hit Powerlifters as much as the sedentary population who don’t lift anything heavier than a 6 oz Coors to their lips and a remote control to waist level to flip channel to channel until they find their favorite show”?
Does this Represent Your Cardiovascular Blueprint?
Telling it Like it Is!
I believe this answer to be two-fold. The first thing to look at is lifestyle. Let’s be honest before I started my monthly column in PL USA way back in 2002 what was the average Powerlifters nutritional regiment? In fact, it was worse than the average public. It contained all the horrendous practices of consuming large amounts of sugar, saturated fats, processed meats, artificial colors, nitrates, preservatives, and other goodies that destroy your health. The only difference is the Powerlifter would consume them in even larger quantities than their couch potato counterpart. In the hopes of getting big or just because the Powerlifting mentality of “More is Better” usually led Powerlifters to consume large amounts of foods that really didn’t improve their strength or performance in the least. But it did contribute to laying the groundwork for health issues down the road.
Heart Disease among Strength Athletes is Very Common!
Time to Get in Shape
This then leads to many lifters carrying way too much body fat than they need. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want you to look like a Physique competitor as that is not what this sport is all about. But at the same time, you should not look like one of those obese Walmart shoppers that uses a driving cart to go from aisle to aisle because he can’t do it on his own. Last I wanted to talk about cardiovascular conditioning. No, I am not talking about you running a marathon or even jogging at all. Louie Simmons was the one that really popularized GPP training and got it out to the average Powerlifting enthusiast. His numerous articles on the topic helped bring it to light what the large majority of top lifters were doing to build a solid cardio base. The goal here was that it would later help you lift even more weight on the platform. We are in debt to Louie for helping lifters with this very valuable training tool. Not only to help you lift more but the fact that in the long term it can help you live longer even though that is probably the last thing you ever thought about when doing it. So with the combination of consuming the most horribly nutritiously void foods on a daily basis, keeping your body fat levels much higher than needed, and thinking that the only cardio work you need is from your car to the McDonald’s entrance, this is how Powerlifters got in the mess they are currently in.
GPP Is Critical for Long Term Health Not Just a Big Total!
One Anabolic Side Note
Now one last thing that you may have forgotten in this mix is the use of Anabolic Steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Now if you know me I am not here to preach to you about the dangers that the abuse of these substances can cause you. As I have said before I work with both Enhanced and Natural athletes of all sports and I do not look at anyone different if one decides to go the PED route. Now with that being said, we have to look at the reality of their use and abuse in the sport and how it can affect your cardiovascular health. The reality is that doing one or two cycles of moderately dosed anabolic steroids will do little to harm you in the long term if it is properly designed and followed with a proper PCT regiment. This is of course meaning you have real product and not some underground junk made in some guy’s condo with impurities and raw materials laden with heavy metals. This is another article in itself.
Anabolics and Poor Lifestyle Choices Amplify Side Effects!
But it is the long term use that can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular health if you do not monitor many key variables. This is why I have always been a big proponent of getting blood work done at least twice per year. Nutrition is one of the most important factors in staying healthy because eating like a gluttonous sloth while on a heavy cycle is not going to do your heart any favors. Making sure your daily meals are clean and allowing yourself a weekly cheat meal or even twice per week is in reality what you should be doing when thinking of your long term health, especially when using anabolic steroids. Look at it his way. Anything you do that is negative for your health when on cycle will make it that much more dangerous for your overall health. Eating like a slob off-cycle is bad, eat like a slob on cycle and it is much worse. Drink a 24 of Bud per week off cycle is bad, drinking that same amount on cycle and your liver will be looking for a new home. Do you get my drift? This is why when lifters are in the Enhanced category they need to look at the long-term effects not just of the cycles they are dabbling in, but also how every other external factor they indulge in can amplify those negative effects on their health.
Curcumin and Your Heart
So now that I got all that off my chest let’s get to the point at hand. Now one of the most valuable things Curcumin can offer you is what it can do for your heart. Like I mentioned earlier Powerlifters need to focus more on their cardiovascular health and taking Curcumin daily can help in many ways. Let’s now go over some of the most important things you should know about how it can make a difference in your longevity plan.
- As we already know Cardiovascular disease is the world’s biggest killer. But how many deaths are we talking about?
- In 2012 close to 7.5 million people worldwide died of Ischaemic Heart Disease. I bet you didn’t know that
- When it comes to the USA there are close to 700,00 deaths per year due to heart disease
- The states that got first place for the highest amount of deaths was Mississippi while Minnesota was the lowest
- It looks like those lovely folks down in Mississippi need to push away from the “All you can Eat” buffet and start eating more salad
Time to Step Away from the Buffet!
- Now where Curcumin shines is in the fact that it may help reverse many of these different pathways that contribute to the formation of heart disease
- One of the most important actions of Curcumin for the heart is its ability to improve the quality and function of the endothelium
For those of you who are not familiar with this terminology, it is referring to the delicate lining of the blood vessels in your heart
When the endothelium is damaged or is not functioning properly there are many problems that can arise
Endothelial Health Should Never be Overlooked!
This can lead to problems with blood clotting which then translates to a heart attack
Curcumin can also regulate proper blood pressure values so take note
In fact, this is not just folklore but has been proven by numerous studies
One study showed that it improved the endothelium function as effectively as regular exercise
In another study, it showed that regular dosing of Curcumin actually worked as well as taking the heart drug Atorvastatin
Curcumin can also help reduce oxidation as well as inflammation which are also other critical factors that can lead to heart disease
It has been shown to help decrease C-Reactive protein which is a blood marker for inflammation in the body as well as the heart specifically
Curcumin can lower the LDL or bad cholesterol and bring high blood pressure under control
One major study had over 120 heart patients who were going in for coronary bypass surgery take either a placebo concoction or 4 grams of Curcumin
Scientists wanted to see if there would be a different outcome between those that used Curcumin even for such a short period of time compared to those who took a placebo
The results were shocking as the Curcumin group had a massive 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack while in the hospital
Curcumin is Heart Healthy!
This may be due to the fact that Curcumin increases blood circulation and prevents blood clotting that can lead to a heart attack
The fact that Curcumin can improve blood vessel elasticity and prevent heart disease from many angles should have all powerlifters rushing to their local health food stores to stock up on it
Another very interesting fact is that it can also help prevent heart enlargement in relation to heart disease
- This is very important since strength athletes are known for enlarged hearts due to the strenuous weights we lift and anabolic steroids over time can also contribute to this issue
Cardiomegaly is Something Strength Athletes Must Consider!
It can even reduce scar tissue formation in the heart by shutting down specific genes associated with cardiac hypertrophy
- Curcumin also prevents hardening of the arteries by inhibiting the oxidation of fat
Take my Words to Heart
So as you can see even just the cardiovascular health benefits offered by Curcumin makes it a 5-star supplement for every strength athlete. We all know that heart disease hits the powerlifting community quite hard and in fact, many powerlifters die from this each and every year. Hell, I remember every month in PL USA they would have a full page of powerlifters who had passed away much sooner than their families would have liked and many of these cases were due to heart issues. As Powerlifters, we need to look at different angles to help improve the quality of our health, and taking Curcumin on a daily basis just the way you would take a multivitamin is something that can do a lot for your overall health in many more ways than you can even imagine. In the next issue, I will be looking at some other very important health benefits of supplementing with Curcumin and how you can take full advantage of all it has to offer. Till next time train hard, eat clean, and pick yourself up some Curcumin because I am sure you will thank me later!