Curcumin: A Longevity Powerhouse
By Anthony Ricciuto
Let’s Get it On!
With my second installment of this series, I wanted to now bring forth some information for several other areas where Curcumin can help improve your health and prevent disease. I got a ton of responses from lifters from all over the globe and I want to thank you for all the positive comments. Remember I write these columns for you so that you can truly benefit from what I report. It is my love for this sport and my care for the strength community that makes me want to educate you in many areas that you may not be aware of. With this said let’s get it on!
Prevention is the Key to Health
In the first part, I focused primarily on Curcumin and Cardiovascular health. As we all know this is a major issue with many strength athletes and since it is the case I wanted to dedicate a full issue focused on this. Preventing cardiovascular issues is something all lifters both male and female, as well as natural and enhanced, should be concerned about because it can hit all of us. In this issue, I will now cover many other very valuable benefits of supplementing with Curcumin that will provide you the Powerlifter with a longevity superfood that can truly increase your lifespan. So enough yakking from me let’s get started.
Curcumin and Your Brain
- You may not know this but Curcumin has a profound benefit on your brain health
- The leading neurodegenerative disease is without a doubt Alzheimer’s
- One very important aspect of supplementing with Curcumin is the fact that it has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
- Since this horrible disease is linked to oxidative damage as well as inflammation, scientists have discovered that Curcumin can play a role in preventing it
- This is because Curcumin can decrease inflammation and has potent antioxidant qualities as well
- There is one other major issue with Alzheimer’s that you may not be aware of
- Another cause is the build-up of something known as protein tangles
- This is a form of Amyloid plaque that causes damage to your brain
- But the good news is that Curcumin has been shown in different studies to help remove this plaque
Curcumin Can Help Protect You From Alzheimer’s!
- Another issue that millions of Americans deal with is depression
- You may be very happy to hear that Curcumin may help in this regard as well
- A recent study grouped over 50 patients into three categories. The first taking 1 gram of Curcumin. The second taking Prozac, and the third taking a combination of both
- After running the trial for 6 weeks scientists noted that the improvements between the group that only took Prozac and the group that only took Curcumin were very similar
- The group with the most improvement was the one that took both thereby showing that Curcumin does have qualities that are beneficial for those that suffer from depression
- There are two main causes of depression. The first is a shrinking of the Hippocampus, which is the part of the brain where your ability to learn and memorize take place
- The other is when Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels begin to decline thus leading to an altered state of mood
- The first positive thing is that Curcumin can increase these levels of BDNF thereby helping to get the ball rolling on reversing these degenerative changes
- Lastly, Curcumin has been shown to help elevate two major brain neurotransmitters including Dopamine and Serotonin
- So as you can see Curcumin offers your brain health plenty in many different areas
Curcumin and your Liver
- Now at the other end of your spectrum let’s talk a little bit about how this wonderful compound can help with your liver
- Now to break the ice here Powerlifters are notorious for having elevated liver enzymes
- For those of you who do get blood work done which I have recommended for close to two decades, many Powerlifters both natural and enhanced are dealing with this issue
- For the enhanced lifter, it’s a no-brainer. Most Powerlifters who have gone the “Anabolic” route can attest to the major strength increases from using orals especially in the last 6 weeks before a competition
- The problem is that these orals are not as forgiving on the liver as using injectable Testosterone and Deca
- These harsher orals are known as 17-alpha-alkylated (AA-17) anabolic steroids
- This comprises of strength favorites including Dianabol, Anadrol, Turinabol, Methyl Testosterone, Halotestin, Miberolone (Cheque Drops), Superdrol, and Methyl-1-Testosterone
Anadrol is a Strength Athletes Dream Come True!
- While these steroids can have a dramatic short term boost in strength and aggression, they will raise liver enzymes levels to several times the normal range
- Believe me, I have seen this first hand with many World Champions over the years
- While injectable steroids will pass through the liver once, harsher AA-17 orals will pass through twice
- Now when it comes to the natural guys you may be wondering how can they have this issue when they are not taking any compounds to get this response?
- The main culprits here is the eating of too much processed and junk foods as well as alcohol consumption
- Believe me, when I say this I have seen natural lifters with elevated liver enzymes matching steroid users simply because of poor eating habits and lifestyle choices that are not conducive to a strength athlete
- Many may not know this but when you go on a junk binge wolfing down that pint of ice cream along with a few chili dogs and a nice large soda to wash it all down, you are putting a tremendous strain on your liver
- Plus from what I have seen the majority of enhanced lifters are smart enough to lay off the booze when on cycle
- While the natural guy is more likely to indulge in that 6 pack of Bud on a Friday night with his buddies helping to get down that family size bag of Doritos
- The good news is that Curcumin can be a benefit for you no matter what choices you make
- Curcumin has been shown to activate Peroxisome Proliferator-Activator Receptor (PPAR)
- Now you may be wondering what the hell is that?
- PPAR is a group of nuclear receptor proteins that regulate gene expression in your body
- They also modulate sugar uptake and utilization from the bloodstream as well
- If you thought that was all hold on there is more
- Curcumin also has the ability to cause the liver to decrease enzyme activity that controls the release of sugar into the bloodstream
Curcumin Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar!
- Even better is that it can also increase the activity of enzymes that store sugar
- So in Powerlifter lingo what does all this really mean?
- Curcumin can help lower not only your triglyceride levels (which is another Powerlifter issue) but also lower blood sugar levels as well
Curcumin and Joint Health
- When it comes to strength athletes joint injuries and pain is as common as kids and Kool-Aid
- For those of you who have had major injuries like a blown-out patella tendon or those that just suffer from the wear and tear of decades of lifting heavy listen up
- Just go to any powerlifting competition and the smell of a thousand different types of body liniments will fill the air
- Its smells like a mix of Tiger Balm, Ben Gay, and Red Hot with a nice mix of baby powder
- I am telling you it’s like going to a geriatric baby ward at the hospital
- Now many powerlifters deal with these pain issues on a daily basis and use NSAID’s like Ibuprofen or Aleve to help manage their day to day activities and training
- Others with more severe issues will get stronger anti-inflammatory drugs from their doctors
- The problem is that these drugs are not without side effects and can damage your organs including your liver and kidneys especially when taken in higher amounts
- This also is exacerbated even more when these drugs are taken daily for several years on end
- There are several Pro Bodybuilders that when trying to kick a Nubain addiction would use large amounts of NSAID’s to mask the pain of injuries
Nubain was a Curse for the Bodybuilding World Starting in the ’90s
- For those not familiar with Nubain it was a popular drug in the ’90s and early 2000s
- It is an opiate-based pharmaceutical injectable pain killer, basically “Big Pharma’s” version of Heroine
- Bodybuilders would use this drug to deal with an injury prior to a competition that would allow them to train through the pain
- But the problem is that they would start abusing it and an addiction to this compound ruined many up and coming physiques in both the amateur and pro ranks
- It makes sense, how many Heroine junkies do you know with an amazing physique…not many!
- To make this even worse one of my top favorite Pro’s of the ’90s who got incarcerated who was addicted to Nubain ended up switching over to Heroine once inside
- Then when he got out he was still fighting the Heroine issue until he got a “Hot Pack” which is a hit that is overdosed and died
- This severe use of NSAID drugs to try and wean off the Nubain lead to severe kidney damage with a few even needing transplants while others are on dialysis
- All this aside, Curcumin can help in this very important area as well
- Curcumin has been shown to provide relief for those with osteoarthritis but also those that suffer from the autoimmune disease of rheumatoid arthritis as well
- This is due to Curcumin’s strong anti-inflammatory abilities
- This has been proven in numerous studies done over the last decade, including one that found Curcumin more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug
- So take it from me if you are suffering from some horrible joint issues from old injuries creeping up on you, or you are getting old like me, then Curcumin is something that can really help with managing your joint pain
Now with this latest installment, I wanted to touch on a few other very important benefits of supplementing with Curcumin. I wanted to cover benefits from several different parts of the body as well as touch base on specific areas of concern for Powerlifters in general. The fact is that we are getting older every day and we cannot stop the clock no matter how much you want to. So preventing degenerative diseases before they rear their head is something that everyone should do to make sure the quality of your life is better than you ever imagined. There is no point in just trying to deal with a health issue once it has become a major problem in your life. Take the initiative and work on preventing them from ever showing up and that is the best form of medicine. In the last part of this series, I will discuss some of the other major health issues Curcumin can help with as well as how to implement a good protocol of supplementing with this powerhouse compound to get the most bang for your buck. So until next time train hard, eat clean, take your vitamins, and at least think about what I have said in these pages so you can take full advantage of all this has to offer your health and training!