Curcumin – what are its roles in healthy aging?


Where does curcumin come from?

Curcumin, along with the rest of the family of curcuminoids, are important components in turmeric root that have been found to have a range biological activity. Turmeric is not only popular in Asian countries in cooking, but is used in different forms for herbal medicines [1].

Recent reviews [2-5] describe how curcuminoids may help in a range of health conditions, ranging from minor wounds and inflammation, to infections and chronic diseases, such as liver and heart disease.

Ageing health benefits

The benefits of curcumin in ageing health problems are related to its ability to control free-radical production, oxidative stress and inflammation [6]. Curcumin also acts at the genetic and cell level to control genes for antioxidants, and those involved in tissue longevity.

Curcumin demonstrates these effects in different tissues of the body. Specifically, it has been shown to block mechanisms that lead to damage in ageing muscle fibres [7], aging brain cells [8], aging joints [9] and even skin [10].

Effectiveness in mobility problems

Several clinical trials have investigated the use of curcumin in supporting musculoskeletal health. In one clinical study, 86 volunteers over the age of 65 years were assigned to a physical fitness and diet regime (standard care), with 31 participants electing to also take standard curcumin daily, with another 22 electing to modified bioactive curcumin in combination with other dietary supplements over a 3-month period [11].

The trial revealed that those who took the bioactive curcumin showed significant improvements in muscle strength (hand grip test, weight lift), endurance (cycling time, walking distance, stair climb), general fitness and increased pumping ability of the heart, when compared to the changes in the standard care group [11]. Even just 3 months of supplementation was able to significantly enhance physical fitness and strength, potentially delaying or preventing the development of sarcopenia.

Another group of studies involved the use of bioactive curcumin, as part of a combination of herbs as a supplement for the support of elderly sufferers of mild knee osteoarthritis [12]. The participants were of an average age of 60 years (40-88 yrs) and suffered from the condition for a median of 1.8 years, with the longest being 17.7 years.

Overall, use of the curcumin supplement showed a gradual reduction in knee pain over a 36 week period, with decreases in swelling, improved mobility and walking endurance, improved knee flexibility, and a reduction in the use of prescription pain killers.

Insert graphs on trial from tregocel ppt

Effectiveness in other health areas

Curumin may also be effective in liver and cardiovascular problems. One study demonstrated that a bioactive form of curcumin significantly improved cardiovascular biomarkers and grade of liver function in middle-aged sufferers non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) [13].

Another review of 11 clinical trials found that curcumin was able to consistently improve blood vessel openness and blood flow, suggesting a benefit in prevention of circulation problems, such as clots.


  1. Gupta, S.C., S. Patchva, and B.B. Aggarwal, Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials. The AAPS journal, 2013. 15(1): p. 195-218.
  2. Aggarwal, B.B., S.C. Gupta, and B. Sung, Curcumin: an orally bioavailable blocker of TNF and other pro-inflammatory biomarkers. British Journal of Pharmacology, 2013. 169(8): p. 1672-1692.
  3. Peddada, K.V., et al., Role of Curcumin in Common Musculoskeletal Disorders: a Review of Current Laboratory, Translational, and Clinical Data. Orthopaedic Surgery, 2015. 7(3): p. 222-231.
  4. Pulido-Moran, M., et al., Curcumin and Health. Molecules, 2016. 21(3): p. 264.
  5. Aggarwal, B.B., et al., Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol, 2007. 595: p. 1-75.
  6. Zia, A., et al., The role of curcumin in aging and senescence: Molecular mechanisms. Biomed Pharmacother., 2021. 134:111119.(doi): p. 10.1016/j.biopha.2020.111119. Epub 2020 Dec 24.
  7. Campbell, M.S., N.A. Carlini, and B.S. Fleenor, Influence of curcumin on performance and post-exercise recovery. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2021. 61(7): p. 1152-1162.
  8. Bhat, A., et al., Benefits of curcumin in brain disorders. Biofactors., 2019. 45(5): p. 666-689. doi: 10.1002/biof.1533. Epub 2019 Jun 11.
  9. Chin, K.Y., The spice for joint inflammation: anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in treating osteoarthritis. Drug Des Devel Ther., 2016. 10:3029-3042.(doi): p. 10.2147/DDDT.S117432. eCollection 2016.
  10. Thangapazham, R.L., S. Sharad, and R.K. Maheshwari, Skin regenerative potentials of curcumin. Biofactors., 2013. 39(1): p. 141-9. doi: 10.1002/biof.1078. Epub 2013 Jan 11.
  11. Franceschi, F., et al., A novel phospholipid delivery system of curcumin (Meriva®) preserves muscular mass in healthy aging subjects. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 2016. 20(4): p. 762-6.
  12. Żęgota, Z., J. Goździk, and J. Głogowska-Szeląg, Prospective, Multicenter Evaluation of a Polyherbal Supplement alongside Standard-of-Care Treatment for Mild Knee Osteoarthritis. Adv Orthop., 2021. 2021:5589597.(doi): p. 10.1155/2021/5589597. eCollection 2021.
  13. Panahi, Y., et al., Efficacy of phospholipidated curcumin in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a clinical study. J Asian Nat Prod Res., 2019. 21(8): p. 798-805. doi: 10.1080/10286020.2018.1505873. Epub 2018 Nov 11.

from an Expert Author


Leave a reply