Curry’s yellow colour comes from the spice turmeric. It has been used as a spice and a medicinal herb in India for thousands of years. Science has recently begun to support traditional assertions that turmeric contains chemicals that have therapeutic qualities.
One of the most common questions about turmeric’s therapeutic benefits is how it affects testosterone levels. Can it increase or decrease testosterone?
In this post, we’ll look at how turmeric affects testosterone levels.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice that belongs to the ginger family. Originating from India, this spice is cultivated from the rhizome (underground stem) of a flowering plant. The main ingredient of this spice is curcumin which is responsible for the spice’s yellow colour.
Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. It has also been approved as a food additive by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Drugs Administration of the United States and the European parliament.
Aside from being a spice used in cooking, it is also used for fabric dyeing and cosmetics. The rhizomes are used fresh or boiled in water and dried, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a colouring agent.
It has a lot of health benefits. Countries like India use turmeric for medicinal purposes.
A fun fact about turmeric is that it gives curry (a famous Indian dish) its yellow colour.
What are the health benefits of turmeric?
Turmeric offers a lot of health benefits. Some of which are explained below;
Good for the brain
The main ingredient of turmeric, curcumin, has been studied for its ability to boost brain health. Curcumin supports and increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a hormone that plays a key role in long-term cognitive function.
It promotes the growth of new neurons and fights off many degenerative processes and brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (a brain disease that destroys mental functions).
Lowers the risk of heart diseases
Curcumin, the chemical ingredient found in turmeric, is very important for the prevention of heart diseases. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it can improve the function of the endothelium.
The endothelium is a single layer of squamous endothelial cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. These cells form the barrier between vessels and tissue and control the flow of substances and fluid into and out of a tissue.
Decreased endothelial function or malfunction of the endothelium is associated with ageing and an increased risk of heart disease and so turmeric reduces your chances of developing heart disease. It also lowers bad cholesterol in the body.
Boosts the immune system
The immune system is a defence mechanism that protects the body from diseases. It is also responsible for warding off attacks from bacteria and viruses that can cause harm to the body.
Turmeric is good for boosting the immune system. It has antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which help to maintain, protect, and boost the body’s immunity, thus, reducing the risk of falling sick.
Good for cancer
Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably (abnormal cells) and spread to other parts of the body. Studies have shown that curcumin can affect cancer growth and development.
It kills cancerous cells, reduces the growth of new blood vessels in tumours and reduces the overall spread of cancer. Eating turmeric reduces the likelihood of getting cancer.
Good for joints
With its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is good for the joints. It helps ease joint pains.
Studies have shown good results in the ability of turmeric and curcumin to manage pain and inflammation associated with arthritis (a disease that affects your joints, causing inflammation and swelling to the areas where your bones meet and move).
It is especially helpful to athletes who want to ease soreness or any joint-related pains.
Contains a lot of nutrients
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one tablespoon (tbsp) of turmeric powder contains
0.91 grams (g) of protein
0.31 g of fat
6.31 g of carbohydrates
2.1 g of fibre
0.3 g of sugar
That same 1-tbsp serving provides:
26% of daily manganese needs
16% of daily iron
5%of daily potassium
3% of daily vitamin C
It may help prevent diabetes
Since curcumin can help fight inflammation and keep blood sugar levels steady, it could be useful in preventing or treating type 2 diabetes.
One study followed 240 adults with prediabetes and found that taking a curcumin supplement over 9 months lowered their odds of developing diabetes.
Good for the skin
With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is good for fighting acne (pimples). People with pimples can eat turmeric to get rid of them.
Cosmetic companies use turmeric for some of their skin related products. For example, the turmeric skin mask, a mask worn on the face to remove acne.
Turmeric is also good for treating eczema (a skin condition that causes patches of itchiness, inflammation, swelling, and cracked skin)
Boost your mood
Turmeric is a good antidepressant. Depression is related to lower levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and since turmeric can increase BDNF levels, this spice has the potential of an effective antidepressant.
In a study involving humans that was published in Phytotherapy Research, researchers randomly assigned 60 patients with a major depressive disorder to one of three groups: One group received daily 20 mg of Prozac, another received 1,000 mg of curcumin, and a third received a combination of Prozac and curcumin for a period of 6 weeks.
After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements similar to those of Prozac. The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best.
According to this small study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant.
Good for the gut
One health benefit of turmeric is that it is good for digestion. Turmeric is used to treat inflammatory bowel conditions like colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The spice can contribute to healthy digestion as a result of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
While turmeric does provide potential health benefits, it creates some risks that are worth considering before eating large amounts. An example of a side effect of eating too much turmeric is an upset stomach.
Does turmeric increase or decrease testosterone?
Turmeric has been shown to affect testosterone and sperm count in men, potentially reducing fertility. Turmeric in high dosages can interfere with iron absorption, therefore it’s best to avoid it if you have an iron shortage.
Reasons why you should eat turmeric
- Turmeric is good for people with weak or painful joints. With its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps ease joint pains.
- It improves brain health. It helps to prevent brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Turmeric is also good for the heart. It lowers the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
- It is good for treating skin diseases such as pimples and eczema.
- It is an effective antidepressant. For people who feel down or depressed, eating turmeric can help lift your mood.
Turmeric has been proven to reduce fertility in males by affecting testosterone and sperm count. Turmeric can interfere with iron absorption in excessive doses; therefore, it’s recommended to avoid it if you have an iron deficiency.
WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:
Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.
His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.
He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.