Ever imagined the yellow herb lying in a corner of your kitchen could work wonders for your health? Turmeric is more than just a coloring agent in your curry. In fact, this common spice is so healthy that many health benefits are too good to be true. But luckily, everything about turmeric, especially curcumin, have been documented from hundreds of scientific studies. For females with a predisposition to hormone imbalance or other metabolic concerns, it can be an extremely beneficial herb. In this article we explore how turmeric can be a useful superfood for balancing hormone?
A Quick Overview of Turmeric for Balancing Female Hormones
Turmeric is a herb which belongs to the ginger family. It is a common coloring agent in the curry and some people also use it as a dye. The use of this native South Asian herb dates back to thousands of years. Its benefits are well-documented in the traditional Indian medicinal system Ayurveda.
It is rich in curcumin, the most active chemical that accounts for a majority of its health effects. Curcumin is a member of natural phenols collectively known as curcuminoids.
Owing to a long history of use and potential role in disease prevention and healing, it has garnered a lot of attention from the scientific community in the recent years. Interestingly, the early study results are very promising. Going by this encouraging trend, we can expect more favorable results to unfold in the future.
6 Disorders of Hormone Balance in Women Where Turmeric Could Help
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
PCOS is a common disorder of hormone balance. It causes an increase in the blood levels of a male hormone, androgen. As a result, women experience typical symptoms including:
- Irregular or missed periods.
- Excessive hair growth on the body and face, a condition called hirsutism.
- Acne which is often severe and does not get better with conventional treatments.
Why Turmeric May Be An Effective Solution To Relieve PCOS Symptoms
According to a 2016 study involving rats, curcumin has a comparable effectiveness in treating PCOS to clomiphene citrate. The researchers pointed the following mechanisms behind such effects.
- A significant reduction in the blood levels of testosterone, which is an androgen. Moreover, it boosts the levels of a female hormone called estradiol.
- It cuts down the blood levels of glucose and bad cholesterol.
- Rats fed with turmeric also exhibited an increase in the levels of protective antioxidant enzymes like catalase, glutathione and superoxide dismutase.
Turmeric for managing obesity, high blood cholesterol, and signs of aging due to low levels of hormones after menopause.
Older women who have reached the end of their menstrual cycles often struggle with obesity high blood cholesterol and visible skin changes. It is because they do not have enough progesterone and estrogen in their bloodstream. Such hormonal insufficiency is the main reason why they cannot be pregnant again.
A 2015 animal study found that curcumin supplementation could help reduce the problems caused by hormone imbalance. After a month of supplementation, the lab animals had an improved heart and brain functions. Also, their blood glucose was under control and even the skin changes due to aging were less obvious.
Turmeric for delayed puberty.
Delayed puberty in girls occurs when breasts don’t develop by age 13 or menstrual periods do not begin by age 16, says MedlinePlus. Though most US girls are now menstruating earlier than their counterparts from other countries, delayed puberty still remains a challenge for the girls, their parents, and the clinicians. So far the treatment is concerned, use of female hormones forms the mainstay of the treatment.
One study suggests curcumin-supplementation can enhance the initiation of puberty. In fact, the effect could be similar to that by estradiol.
Turmeric for managing diabetes.
Though not exclusive to women, diabetes is a major health global health issue currently. The risk of developing type II diabetes increases considerably if you are obese. Both these conditions are thought to occur due to inflammations at the cellular level. Oral consumption of curcumin has been found to improve glucose levels as well as reduce the inflammatory processes inside the body. In fact, it can also reverse hormone imbalance and inflammatory damages on the cells. The researchers also believe curcumin can reduce the risk of diabetes complications like nerve damages, heart and kidney problems, and impaired fat distribution.
Turmeric for regulating high estrogen that increases your risk of breast and endometrial cancers.
The female hormone estrogen is necessary for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in females. However, high levels of estrogen increase your risk of having breast and endometrial cancers. This clearly shows how important it is to have hormonal balance for a healthy life.
Curcumin in turmeric can fight cancer by signaling the death of cancer cells and preventing the growth of the tumor. The researchers also believe, one day, you may be able to use curcumin supplements along with hormonal therapies to increase the effects of the latter.
Turmeric for managing thyroid problems.
Overproduction and underproduction of thyroid hormones are the major thyroid problems commonly seen in women. Nonetheless, men are also not immune to these conditions.
In one study comprising both men and women, it was found that the individuals with a higher consumption of turmeric were less likely to develop goiter, enlarged thyroid gland. Thus, it is evident that daily consumption of turmeric can ward off the thyroid disorders.
What Makes Turmeric an Excellent Food For Balancing Hormones?
In addition to the proven benefits of turmeric for balancing hormone, several other factors take it further as one of the most effective natural remedies.
First of all, turmeric is safe for daily consumption. People around the world have been using it for years, and yet there are no reports of serious side effects. The World Health Organization (WHO) and US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) have given a green signal to the daily use of turmeric as a food additive. Isn’t it good that the food you take daily could work as a medicine as well?
The chemicals in turmeric including curcumin have numerous health benefits. It is because of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, neuroprotective, cardioprotective and radioprotective effects.
Another reason why women are turning to turmeric supplements for balancing hormone is that the prescription medicines are not free from side effects. Moreover, many women who take the medicines fail to get the expected results.
Is Turmeric Supplement Safe?
Generally turmeric is a safe supplement. While you can take turmeric in your curry without a hint of worry, you should be a bit careful while taking a supplement. It is because the supplements contain a more concentrated form of curcumin. Nonetheless, it does not mean you should not take it. In fact, many human studies have shown it is safe when you take it by mouth.
Just remember that taking it in high doses may cause problems like:
- Kidney stones due to its high oxalate content.
- Bloating, diarrhea and increased stomach acid secretion.
- Skin rashes.
Also, remember to inform your doctor before taking a turmeric supplement as it may interact with the medicines you take. Moreover, if you have any other illness, it is better to consult a doctor beforehand.
Doses Of Turmeric Supplement
At a dose of 500 mg of curcumin per day for 7 days, there were no reports of adverse effects. Even higher doses (1,200–2,100 mg curcumin a day for 2–6 weeks) have not been shown to cause any noticeable harmful effects.
The Best Way To Take Turmeric For Balancing Hormones
- Turmeric is so powerful that even 1/4 teaspoon can be a great addition to your foods. Combining with black pepper extract, bioperine, increases the bioavailability or absorption of the curcumin compounds by the body.
- Make a healthy turmeric-tomato drink by adding 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to a glass of hot water. Now what? Take it daily and reap the benefits of both curcumin and lycopene in one glass.
- You may also prepare a turmeric salad dressing by adding it to a healthy oil like olive oil.
Have you taken turmeric for balancing female hormones? Please share your experience in the comment box below.
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1. Amalraj, Augustine., et al. “Biological activities of curcuminoids, other biomolecules from turmeric and their derivatives – A review” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine Volume 7, Issue 2, April 2017, Pages 205-233.
2. Pari, Leelavinothan., et al. “Role of curcumin in health and disease.” Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry 2008 Apr;114(2):127-49.
3. Kadasi, Attila., et al. “Direct effect of curcumin on porcine ovarian cell functions.” Animal Reproduction Science. 2017 Jul;182:77-83.
4. Morrone, Maurilio da Silva., et al. “Curcumin Supplementation Decreases Intestinal Adiposity Accumulation, Serum Cholesterol Alterations, and Oxidative Stress in Ovariectomized Rats” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2016; 2016: 5719291.
5. Murphy, Caitlin J., et al. “Reproductive Effects of a Pegylated Curcumin” Reproductive Toxicology 2012 Aug; 34(1): 120–124.
6. Zhang, Dong-wei., et al. “Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013; 2013: 636053.
7. Weisberg, Stuart P., et al. “Dietary Curcumin Significantly Improves Obesity-Associated Inflammation and Diabetes in Mouse Models of Diabesity” Endocrinology 2008 Jul; 149(7): 3549–3558.
8. Petric, Roxana Cojocneanu., et al. “Phytochemicals modulate carcinogenic signaling pathways in breast and hormone-related cancers” OncoTargets and Therapy 2015; 8: 2053–2066.
9. Jawa, Ali., et al. “Turmeric use is associated with reduced goitrogenesis: Thyroid disorder prevalence in Pakistan (THYPAK) study” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism 2015 May-Jun; 19(3): 347–350.
10. Chainani-Wu, Nita. “Safety and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Curcumin: A Component of Tumeric (Curcuma longa) ”The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8.
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