Curcumin Supplements Versus Whole Turmeric
When it comes to healing compounds, whole foods are greater than the sum of their parts.
Many people wrongly assume that when a substance has a healing property, it must be because of a single, specific compound. We make the mistake of assuming that we can isolate and synthetically recreate a concentrated form of what we think is the healing element and often do not fully consider how other compounds might be affecting the sought after element in question. Such is the case with curcumin, what is normally accepted as the active ingredient in turmeric. We know that curcumin is a wonderful substance that without a doubt helps the body fight off disease, but is it the only active ingredient? Studies have shown that consuming whole turmeric or even turmeric with curcumin removed can be just as effective against cancer as a curcumin supplement.
The problem is that we fail to consider the synergistic qualities of foods. Scientists will come across an herb or plant that seems to have an anti-illness quality, and assume it’s the doing of a single substance found in the plant. So we go looking for that one substance that will give us the “holy grail” cure-all for the disease in question, forgetting that the reason they looked into it in the first place was because consuming the whole plant seemed to hold cancer off. We too often think we know better than nature, so instead of just including whole turmeric to our diet and knowing we’re doing ourselves good, we become obsessed over the why, and try to simply and boil down the reason into a single answer. However, few things in life are simple enough to have one single explanation, and when it comes to the healing properties of food, we too easily cannot see the forest for the trees.