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Turmeric & Its Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

A selection of fresh whole, sliced, and ground turmeric

Those of use who are partial to Asian foods and curries may already be familiar with turmeric! This brightly coloured spice comes from the roots of the turmeric plan (Curcuma longa) and is a member of the ginger family.

As well as being an aromatic addition to our cooking, turmeric is used as a natural dye in clothing and has been used in traditional medicine for nearly 4000 years. Many modern studies have been conducted on turmeric to examine its health benefits, and these studies have proven that this plant does indeed hold beneficial properties.

This includes:

  • Antibacterial

  • Anti-carcinogenic

  • Anticoagulant

  • Antifungal

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Antioxidant

  • Antitumour

  • Antiviral

  • Lowering cholesterol

  • Promoting organ health (liver, pancreas, digestive system, heart)

  • Protecting against stomach ulcers

  • Assisting in wound healing

How Does It Work?

Turmeric contains molecules called curcuminoids which make up the substance curcumin. It is this substance that provides a majority of turmeric's many benefits.

Turmeric’s ability to aid the body in reducing the severity of joint disorders comes from its multiple anti-inflammatory and pain killing properties. It contains 12 naturally occurring painkiller chemicals collectively known as analgesic phytochemicals and over 24 anti-inflammatory compounds. As a result, it can be incredibly beneficial for dogs and cats that suffer from arthritis and other joint degenerative disorders.

Curcumin is also capable of inhibiting various inflammatory agents, such as a substance known as arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is a type of omega 6 fatty acid which, when present in high quantities within cells, creates inflammation. Curcumin helps to reduce the amount of arachidonic acid in the body, thus reducing the risk of inflammation.

Curcumin & Inflammation

Curcumin is known to decrease the impact of arthritis on the body by slowing down its development through the regulation of glycoproteins. Glycoproteins are types of proteins that contribute to a wide range of processes in our pets’ bodies, including the production of collagen for muscles, skin, and joints. When some glycoproteins are produced in excess by the body they can have a negative effect, including the aggravation of existing arthritic conditions. Curcumin can help reduce these excessive levels. As well as aggravating arthritis and other bone diseases, scientific links have been made between inflammation and the triggering of certain cancers. Inflamed cells in the body create an ideal environment for cancer mutations to occur by producing cytokines, chemokines, and lipid mediators. These are all molecules that cause inflammation, but they are also all molecules that curcumin has been known to inhibit and decrease the production of. From these observations, it can be assumed that as well as protecting our pets' joints from inflammation, curcumin can protect the body from the development of some cancers.

Feeding Curcumin & Supplements

Curcumin naturally has a low solubility, and as a result is not easily broken down and absorbed by the body. To help combat this, piperine (a substance found in black pepper) should be fed alongside curcumin. Studies have found that doing this increases the absorption of curcumin by more than 150%. Luckily, many high-quality turmeric supplements will contain both ingredients for our convenience.

Foods containing moderate levels of phosphatidylcholines can also increase the absorption of curcumin. Phosphatidylcholines are a type of fat found in a variety of foods such as eggs, liver, fish, and potatoes. As these ingredients are regularly seen in a wide range of pets foods, our pet may already be ingesting these foods without us having to alter their diet.

Turmeric and curcumin supplements are available in many forms, including capsules, tablets, and powder. Some are manufactured specifically for dogs or cats, but we can also find products that are marketed as being suitable for general use. When buying for our pets it is ideal to purchase products that are sourced from organic turmeric, and also ensure that the products are free of any added synthetic ingredients.

At the present time, there are no confirmed side effects of feeding turmeric to dogs and cats, and no maximum dosage has been noted in any studies. However, we always recommend following the dosage guidelines on any supplement purchased, and if you have any concerns get in touch with the manufacturer or your own vet.

If your pet has a diagnosed medical condition and is currently on any form of medication, please speak to your vet before adding any form of supplement to your pet's diet. Some medications and conditions can be negatively impacted by certain supplements and it is always better to double check with a trained professional before altering your pet's treatment at home.

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