Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its orange colour and it is extracted from the Curcuma longa plant, part of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Curcumin is the main component and it is the part of the turmeric that has all the health benefits. Turmeric/curcumin has been used for thousands of years in the Indian and Chinese Ayurvedic medicine and recently it gained a huge popularity worldwide. This is because people can now take very concentrated forms of curcumin through capsules, powders or liquids. The compound has been heavily researched and scientists have confirmed the many health benefits that turmeric/curcumin has. In this article we’ll find out how does curcumin thin the blood.
Overall Health Benefits of Turmeric
Before we discuss the blood thinning properties, let’s look at the overall benefits of curcumin:
- It reduces inflammation
- It improves the immunity
- It is a great antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial. Antioxidants are beneficial for protection against disease (including cancer and heart disease), for fighting inflammation, and also for slowing down the aging process
- It enhances blood flow, regulates blood pressure and reduces levels of cholesterol
- It may prevent cancer
- It helps manage IBS and other stomach issues
- It improves brain function
- It reduces depression
- It protects against liver damage
- It helps manage diabetes
- It helps treat or manage lung disease
- It helps with prostate issues
- It aids weight loss
What Are Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners)?
These are drugs used to prevent blood clots from developing, and also to prevent pre-existing clots from forming blockages that can lead to heart attacks or strokes. The name derives from “anti” and “coagulate”, which is the process in which the blood changes from liquid to semisolid or solid form. So basically, anticoagulants prevent blood clots.
People usually take blood thinners prescribed by a doctor when they have:
- certain blood vessel or heart diseases
- abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation)
- a valve replacement in the heart
- a high risk of developing blood cloths
- congenital problems of the heart
Besides the anticoagulants that slow down the process of blood clotting, there are also the antiplatelet drugs (such as aspirin), that limit the extent of platelets clumping together. The platelets are specific blood cells that stop the bleeding. When there is a cut or any form of damage to the blood vessels, these platelets go there and “plug” the wounded area. This is usually a good thing, but under certain conditions they can cause blockages.
How Does Curcumin Thin The Blood
Studies have already proven the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin, and new research shows that it is also a great anticoagulant (blood thinner). A trial looked at the following aspects:
- aPTT (Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time) – a blood test that shows the levels of coagulation in the blood
- PT (Prothrombin Time) – a blood test that measures the time needed to form a clot of blood
- Cell-Based Thrombin – an enzyme in the blood involved in the clotting process
- FXa (Activated Factor X) – which has an important role in the coagulation process
The study showed that curcumin improved aPTT and PT, almost as close as anticoagulant drugs. But it also inhibited the production of thrombin and FXa, making it a great blood thinner.
Another study looked at the antiplatelet action of curcumin and found out positive results. So turmeric extracts have both anticoagulant and antiplatelet benefits, so you will be able to reduce (or eliminate) the medicine you are taking.
Another study treated human blood samples with curcumin extracts and noticed a significant reduction of the thromboxane B2 production. Other studies confirmed that curcumin has blood thinning properties and it protects against intravascular thrombosis (or simply put, blood clotting).
More studies on humans are needed in order to show the benefits on the long term use and the required dosage, but overall, curcumin seems to have anticoagulant properties, making it a good blood thinner. Whenever you choose a curcumin supplement, make sure that it also includes black pepper (piperine) in order to improve absorption. You may want to combine turmeric extracts with your current anticoagulant medication, but make sure to ask the opinion of your doctor first. Curcumin may interact with certain drugs and may give side effects.
Turmeric Dosage: How Much Curcumin To Take?
There isn’t a precise recommendation, but the most common dosage used to treat or prevent most health issues is between 500 and 2,000 mg of curcumin per day, split into 2 or 3 servings. So the number of capsules to take or powder to use depends on the concentration of each specific product. For a few extra mg each day, you can also drink turmeric tea and sprinkle turmeric powder in your foods or shakes.
Curcumin Side Effects
This substance is usually safe for most people, even at high dosages. However, a small percentage of users will get some side effects. These include bruising or bleeding, low blood sugar, kidney stones or gallbladder disease, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation or allergy and a reduced absorption of iron in the body. If any of these symptoms occur, stop supplement useage and consult with your doctor immediately.
Both the results and the side effects depend on age, activity levels, weight, other medication, the severity of the disease and the quality of the supplement. Children and pregnant women should not use the product, as well as people with gallbladder problems, diabetes and certain cancers.
So now you know how curcumin can help to thin the blood. Make sure to stick to the treatment for 4 to 8 weeks in order to get the full benefits, and then let us know your results in the comments area below. For a wide variety of turmeric products, you can check out this page.|