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How Turmeric Improves Mental And Physical Performance

When I'm working with a client to improve their physical or mental performance, there's two factors that we always address first. These factors are so fundamental to the functioning of the body and brain, it's next-to-impossible to meaningfully improve performance or well-being without addressing them first and foremost.

First on this list is to determine the level of chronic inflammation a person has, and then find the causes of the inflammation and eliminate them as much as is possible. I've written at length about inflammation and how damaging it can be to the performance of the brain and body. In short, inflammation results in decreased energy metabolism, accelerated aging, increased risk of many diseases - and more generally, a body that feels like crap.

The second factor we address is the client's level of toxin exposure, primarily from the diet, the environment and the products we interact with. Toxin exposure is one of the primary causes of chronic inflammation, but the consequences of persistent exposure to toxins can go a bit deeper. Toxins disrupt cell functioning by damaging enzymes, cell receptors and other proteins critical to a properly functioning metabolism and endocrine system. Needless to say, minimizing these impacts of toxins in the body can produce huge improvements in well being and performance.

Turmeric: A Performance Enhancer?

This gives a bit of context to why I believe so strongly in turmeric root as a tremendously powerful tool for promoting well-being and vitality - and even go as far as to call it a legitimate performance enhancer.

Turmeric is perhaps the most powerful "nutraceutical" I know of for addressing not just one, but both of these issues I obsess over so deeply in my own diet and wellness practices, as well as those of my clients.

Inflammation Fighter

First a bit of background on inflammation:

Inflammation is effectively a response of our immune cells to a perceived threat of infection. Unfortunately, in our highly contaminated modern world, immune systems are often constantly triggered, producing crippling chronic inflammation.

When the immune cells encounter a threat, they release molecules called cytokines that instruct cells in the surrounding tissues to trigger their inflammatory signaling cascade (often referred to as the NF-Kappa-B pathway). 

Turmeric and curcumin (one of the primary active compounds in turmeric) effectively interrupt this inflammatory signaling system by inhibiting a critical enzyme (COX-2) in that NF-Kappa-B pathway. The result is a significantly blunted inflammatory response. [1][2]

Turmeric is so effective at reducing the inflammatory response it's been successfully used to treat a number of inflammation-driven diseases, and often more effectively than the common (and often toxic) prescription drugs. 

In studies, turmeric has shown to be comparable or occasionally superior to prescription drugs in treating several types of arthritis, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel diseases and even inflammation-driven neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and major depression disorder. [3][4][5][6][7]

Pretty amazing stuff.

So how does this relate to your mental and physical performance? For a number of reasons I outlined in depth in my Inflammation Series, an inflamed body and brain simply don't perform as well as they could. Energy metabolism is suppressed, the body is more prone to injury and recovery from training becomes less efficient. At a simpler level, an inflamed body feels like crap and as any athlete knows, it's difficult to perform at a high level when this is the case.

Boosts Body's Antioxidant Systems

I've spent plenty of time in previous articles explaining why eating a diet rich in antioxidants is one of the better practices you can adopt for promoting overall health and vitality. (as you might have guessed, turmeric is indeed quite rich in toxin-neutralizing polyphenols)

There's another fascinating level to turmeric's antioxidant activity. In all of our focus on eating antioxidant rich foods, we can forget that some of the most powerful antioxidants we know of are actually enzymes produced by our own bodies.

Turmeric has the unique capacity to actually stimulate our body's production of our four most powerful antioxidant enzymes. Studies have shown that turmeric increases levels of superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and glutathione reductase enzyme levels in blood and glutathione-S-transferase and superoxide dismutase enzymes in liver. [8]

This radical stimulation of our body's natural toxin-protective systems likely accounts for a lot of the neuroprotective and DNA-protective activity researchers have observed turmeric to have.

Indeed, several studies have shown turmeric extracts to have significant neuroprotective activity against toxin-induced oxidative neurological damage. [9] [10]

Getting Turmeric In Your Diet

Perhaps the only real drawback to using turmeric on a daily basis is that it can be fairly complicated to deal with. Neither raw turmeric root nor turmeric powder are particularly convenient, especially if you want to take large doses.

Turmeric extracts simplify the process tremendously, but many are poorly absorbed by the body or contain only one of the many beneficial compounds found in whole turmeric root. This glaring lack of good turmeric options led us to develop Synchro Gold, our new liposomal turmeric elixir. 

Synchro Gold uses a full-spectrum extract of turmeric root, so it contains the complete set of beneficial compounds (not just one or two as with 98% of turmeric products). We used two innovative nutrient delivery systems - liposomal delivery and black pepper extract - to allow the body to absorb huge amounts of these beneficial compounds.

We have no hesitation saying Synchro Gold is both the most powerful and most innovative turmeric product on the market today, and the effects on the body and brain are nothing short of profound.

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[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11566484

[2] http://www.jbc.org/content/270/42/24995.full

[3] http://www.inaactamedica.org/archives/2012/22745140.pdf

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18588355

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16240238

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24335167

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23832433

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195121/

[9] http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0101251

[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569212

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