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Turmeric for Hepatitis C, and Beyond

The Editors at Hepatitis Central
June 27, 2016

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Turmeric is the ultimate anti-inflammatory spice that protects liver cells from Hep C – and does so much more.
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Last Reviewed November 11, 2019

The foods you choose to consume can benefit a liver with Hepatitis C – or it can be harmful. Living with the Hepatitis C virus, or any type of chronic liver disease, is a constant reminder of this fact. The more educated we become on which foods are the most beneficial to the liver, the better daily meal choices we can make.

Including turmeric into your food or supplement habits is a prime example of how you can improve your overall health and strengthen resilience against Hepatitis C infection.

A coveted spice in Asian cooking, turmeric is a member of the ginger family. Besides its culinary applications, turmeric has been used in global herbal medicine for over 4,000 years. Derived from the underground stems of the plant Curcuma longa, turmeric is responsible for the yellow color of Indian curry and American mustard. Curcumin is the most active constituent of turmeric and possesses powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric’s Health Properties

A direct result of its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is revered for its wide range of health benefits. Some of these health benefits include:

  • Brain health – Population studies have shown that elderly villagers in India have a lower rate of Alzheimer’s disease compared to other countries and turmeric is believed to be responsible. Alzheimer’s begins as an inflammatory process in the brain, and Indians typically consume turmeric with almost every meal.
  • Gut health – Curcumin suppresses inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract associated with inflammatory bowel disease. It also improves bile production and flow, which aids in liver function, digestion and elimination.
  • Joint health – Turmeric extract worked as well as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee in a study published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
  • Heart health – Curcumin has a cholesterol-lowering effect, and may be able to help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Preventing cholesterol oxidation protects those with coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis from a potentially devastating cardiovascular event.

While turmeric appears to be an incredible spice for health, nutritionists agree that it is only absorbed well when taken with black pepper or piperine – the constituent of black pepper responsible for its pungency. Thus, you will get the most benefit out of turmeric when cooking if black pepper is added or in a supplement that contains piperine.

Turmeric and Hepatitis C

Turmeric has been discovered to possess a unique characteristic that helps fight the Hepatitis C virus. Although it may not be as potent as one of the new Hepatitis C antiviral drug combinations, a study published in a 2014 edition of the journal Gut evaluated affordable antiviral strategies targeting the early stages of Hepatitis C infection.

The researchers looked at the potency of turmeric as a Hepatitis C entry inhibitor. They determined that turmeric inhibited Hepatitis C entry regardless of viral genotype. In human liver cells, the researchers concluded that turmeric affected membrane fluidity by impairing Hepatitis C virus binding and fusion. Thus, supplementing with turmeric offers a potentially inexpensive route towards protecting liver cells from being infected with Hepatitis C.

7 Ways to Add Turmeric to Your Diet

There are many ways turmeric can be used in food. When used sparsely, turmeric doesn’t have much flavor on its own. About half a teaspoon is sufficient to flavor a dish that serves four people; too much might make it bitter. Balancing the flavor profile with a few drops of maple syrup or honey will neutralize any bitterness.

  1. Mixed with cumin, coriander, and cinnamon – turmeric is essential to a good Indian curry.
  2. A pinch of turmeric in scrambled eggs, a frittata or tofu scramble enhances the yellow color and imparts a warm, earthy flavor.
  3. Add a bit of turmeric to roasted vegetables to lend a warm, peppery flavor profile.
  4. Simmer turmeric with milk and honey to make an earthy and comforting beverage.
  5. Blended into a smoothie, the slightly bitter, pungent flavor is well masked. Consider adding some extra turmeric to UltraNourish!
  6. To enhance a vegetable or chicken soup’s warmth and depth, include some turmeric.
  7. Sprinkling some turmeric into a pot of rice will transform it from plain white into yellow rice with a mild flavor.

Supplementing with Turmeric

Adding turmeric to food and drink offers some health benefits and protection against the Hepatitis C virus, but it is not as strong as a good turmeric supplement. However, not all turmeric supplements are created equally.

When seeking a premier turmeric supplement, look for the following two characteristics:

  1. Piperine / BioPerine – The turmeric supplement should include piperine, also known by its trademarked name, BioPerine – an alkaloid in black pepper which is responsible for increasing the turmeric’s bioavailability. One study published in Planta Med in 1998 demonstrated that the bioavailability of curcumin in humans increased up to 2,000 percent when piperine was added.
  2. 95 Percent – To make sure you are getting pure turmeric, look for a supplement that is standardized to 95 percent curcuminoids, like Turmeric 95. This is the highest level available of turmeric’s beneficial ingredient.

Learning about turmeric’s health benefits will motivate most people to include it into their weekly regimen. Whether roasting cauliflower and potatoes with turmeric or taking a high quality turmeric supplement such as Turmeric 95, this revered, yellow spice is extremely valuable to those with Hepatitis C – or anyone who wants to reduce oxidation and inflammation in their body.

Anggakusuma, Colpitts, C. C., Schang, L. M., Rachmawati, H., Frentzen, A., Pfaender, S., . . . Steinmann, E. (2013). Turmeric curcumin inhibits entry of all hepatitis C virus genotypes into human liver cells. Gut, 63(7), 1137-1149. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2012-304299

Bhide, M. (2012, August 29). Turmeric: The healing spice. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2012/08/29/turmeric-healing-spice

Han, E. (2014, January 7). 7 ways to eat & drink turmeric. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://www.thekitchn.com/7-ways-to-eat-drink-turmeric-198696

McCaleb, R. (2016, March 10). Dosage and Method: Turmeric. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from http://www.herbs.org/herbnews/dosage-and-method-turmeric/

Weil, A., MD. (2019, June 4). Curcumin or turmeric? Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/curcumin-or-turmeric/

Which curcumin supplement has the best absorption? (2019, February 20). Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://www.superfoodly.com/best-turmeric-curcumin-supplement/


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