Curcumin vs Quercetin
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Curcumin and quercetin are natural ingredients with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These plant-derived products are surging in popularity as supplements for a wide range of health conditions such as asthma, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, aging, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Quercetin is the most potent flavonoid with significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. While curcumin possesses antioxidant effects that are comparable to those of traditional antioxidants and directly inhibits inflammation.
This article details curcumin and quercetin's effects and possible risks or side effects associated with their consumption.
What Is Curcumin?
Curcumin is a phenolic organic compound obtained from turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa. This active compound belongs to the class of curcuminoids with strong antioxidant abilities which help fight free radicals.
Curcumin has traditionally been used for the treatment of a broad range of diseases due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Absorption of curcumin in the bloodstream is poor and to improve bioavailability, it is preferably consumed with black pepper. Piperine, a natural compound obtained from black pepper improves its absorption by 2000%.
Help Relieve Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response of the body’s defense system which helps ward off foreign invaders and assist in healing the damage. Although short-term, acute inflammation is advantageous, it can be problematic if it persists and starts to destroy your body's own tissues.
Curcumin has the ability to relieve inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory molecules. Studies showed that curcumin has the potential to relieve inflammation by different mechanisms. It can inhibit the synthesis of leukotrienes, stimulate fibrinolysis, reduce the neutrophil response to different stimuli and stabilize the lysosomal membrane.
Can Alleviate Pain
Various health professionals and other people mention their anecdotal experiences of using curcumin as an analgesic substance. Curcumin also helps relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
Studies seem to support the use of turmeric for pain management; a study revealed that curcumin appeared to be as effective as ibuprofen (Advil) in treating knee arthritis. Those who took part in the study consumed 800 mg of turmeric in pill form every day, even though dosage recommendations appear to fluctuate.
Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Owing to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It improves the function of endothelium which is the lining of blood vessels.
Numerous research indicates that curcumin may benefit cardiovascular health. Additionally, one study discovered that it works just as well for post-menopausal women as exercise. According to research, 121 patients having coronary artery bypass surgery received either 4g of curcumin or a placebo daily for a few days. Results revealed that individuals who received curcumin had a 65% decreased risk of a heart attack in the hospitals.
May Treat Cancer
Curcumin supplements have the ability to treat several types of cancers by reducing the growth of cancer cells. It works by inhibiting angiogenesis, increasing apoptosis, and restricting the spread of cancer. According to a study, 44 men with lesions in the colon, consumed 4g of curcumin daily and experienced a 40% reduction in lesions.
Can Treat Neurodegenerative Diseases
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease that may lead to dementia. Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help prevent the disease because it has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and clear the amyloid plaques.
Relieve Depression and Anxiety
Studies revealed that curcumin shows promising effects on relieving depression and anxiety. It works by increasing BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factors) and improving neurotransmitter levels like serotonin and dopamine.
Possible Risks or Side Effects
Curcumin is associated with a multitude of benefits however, when taken in large amounts it may cause digestive problems.
It has purifying properties and can lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure. People who are using blood thinners like warfarin should avoid curcumin supplements.
Curcumin is thought to increase contractions however, there is limited research to support this claim. To be on the safe side, pregnant women should avoid consuming curcumin supplements.
What is Quercetin?
Quercetin is an antioxidant compound that is a natural pigment found in vegetables, fruits, and grains. Its antioxidant properties help the body fight free radicals and reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and allergy symptoms.
Quercetin is the commonly found flavonoid in our diet and we consume about 10-100mg of this flavonoid daily in our diet. These supplements are commonly used to enhance immunity, relieve inflammation, fight allergies, improve exercise performance and maintain overall health and well-being.
Possesses Potent Antioxidant Properties
Quercetin is an antioxidant compound that neutralizes the harmful effects of free radicals, reduces oxidative stress, and prevents cellular damage. It may also help relieve inflammation by reducing inflammatory molecules like TNF-alpha and interleukin-6.
According to a study, 50 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who consumed 500mg of quercetin observed a remarkable reduction in morning stiffness, pain in the morning, or after-activity pain.
Have Anticancer Properties
Quercetin is abundant in antioxidants and known to have cancer-fighting abilities. Various test tube and animal studies showed that quercetin has the potential to decrease cell growth and increase cell death in prostate cancer. Human studies are needed to confirm the anticancer effects of quercetin before using it as an alternative treatment for cancer.
May improve Brain Health
Research revealed that quercetin’s antioxidant properties help the body fight against free radicals and prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a study, mice with Alzheimer’s disease were given a quercetin-rich diet for some time and results showed that it improved brain function at an early stage of the disease.
Slow Aging Process
Studies revealed that quercetin is a potent antioxidant that fights against free radicals, eliminates aging cells, and slows the process of aging.
Reduce Allergy Symptoms
The anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin may help relieve allergy symptoms. Various laboratory and animal studies revealed that quercetin supplements decrease inflammatory molecules like histamine and enzymes.
A study revealed supplementing with quercetin prevented the mice from experiencing allergic reactions to peanuts.
Possible Risks or Side Effects
Quercetin is a compound naturally found in various fruits and vegetables and is safe to use. However, in supplement form, it may result in some health risks.
Consuming quercetin in a dosage of more than 1000 mg may cause a tingling sensation, headache, and stomach problems.
It suggested avoiding quercetin supplements in pregnant and lactating women to reduce the risk of hazards.
Curcumin and quercetin are natural compounds and abundant in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. They help fight free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and lower the risk of various illnesses.