While curcumin and turmeric are often treated as two different herbs, curcumin is a compound found within turmeric, making them intimately related. The turmeric plant, known as Curcuma longa, is native to India, and the root is used as one of the key ingredients in curry. In the past, curcumin was used to treat smallpox; today it’s often used to reduce pain and inflammation. While additional research is needed, it may also help fight cancerous tumors, prevent body-fat accumulation, and regulate blood sugar. 

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Perhaps most interesting for fitness enthusiasts: 1) Curcumin may boost the anabolic effect of insulin by increasing insulin sensitivity and, 2) it may help increase testosterone levels by preventing T’s conversion to DHT, which carries unwanted side effects like gynecomastia and hair loss. Curcumin may also protect testicular function and may help reduce estrogen levels. 

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You can directly consume the turmeric root, slicing it thin and adding it to foods like ginger, and absorption of curcumin may be enhanced significantly when consumed with black pepper. The most effective way to get the full benefit of curcumin is to take it as a supplement. Look for supps that provide about 500mg of curcumin. Many of these also add black pepper fruit extract for better absorption.