Conquer this winter. Turmeric could be a powerful tool to protect from the flu
The Flu is no joke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that since 2010 there has been “between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths.”
This year has been particularity bad. A couple weeks ago, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, the director of the influenza division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease at CDC addressed the media: “We often see different parts of the country light up at different times, but for the past three weeks the entire country has been experiencing lots of flu all at the same time.” For the first time in the last 15 flu seasons Dr. Jernigan warned that flu activity has “became widespread within almost all states and jurisdictions at the same time.”
Because influenza viruses mutate so frequently, it is nearly impossible to produce a timely and highly effective vaccine each year. Even for those that diligently get their flu vaccine its still important to look for alternative methods to prepare your body and immune system to fight off viruses.
Which brings us to Turmeric.
Turmeric gets its distinct orange and yellowish color from the compound Curcumin. This is what offers the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial effects that turmeric is famous for.
Curcumin’s anti-inflamintory abilities are well known and well documented by western science over the last few decades. However, more recently, curcumin has been shown to possibly have a powerful effect at battling strains of influenza as well.
The Influenza virus contains a tiny protein called a hemagglutinin. Like a tiny grappling hook this protein is responsible for targeting and then attaching the virus to healthy cells to spread influenza throughout your body.
Curcumin acts as a hemagglutinin inhibitor and disrupts this process. Research published in the 2009 edition of “Emerging Infectious Diseases,” stated that in a laboratory setting, curcumin reduced the viral replication of various Influenza strains by over 90 percent in infected cells.
More recently, research published in last months edition of Computational Biology and Chemistry further supported the idea that curcumin is a viable way to prevent viral reproduction of the Influenza virus.
Scientists are partially interested in this method of battling influenza. What makes influenza so insidious and deadly is its ability to mutate and resist traditional drug therapies. Curcumin attacks the virus’s mechanism to replicate and spread. Isolating the virus could potentially allow you own body to repel the virus without producing a drug resistant response.
Curcumin is a proven hemagglutinin inhibitor and therefore could be of great value to scientists as they combat the rise of drug resistant strains of influenza.
Keep in mind when consuming turmeric that the actual curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. Most of the curcumin ingested will get metabolized before it can even get absorbed by your body.
Just make sure to add some black pepper to whatever turmeric concoction you’re creating. According to a clinical trail done at the Department of Pharmacology, St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore, India; adding black pepper to curcumn greatly increases the actual bioavailability.
The study concluded that the compound found in black pepper known as piperine enhanced the turmeric’s concentration, extent of absorption, and bioavailability of curcumin in both rats and humans by 2,000%.
Make sure whatever turmeric or curcumin supplements you purchase contains some kind of peperine or black pepper extract.