curcumin helps treat COVID-19

Curcumin holds promise for COVID because it is a safe anti-inflammatory, blood thinner, antioxidant and antiviral: the perfect recipe for fighting COVID. Now the supporting evidence is starting to grow.

In an uncontrolled study, 41 hospitalized patients with mild-moderate COVID-19 were given either a placebo or 40mg of curcumin four times a day in the form of nano-curcumin in addition to standard treatment. Nano-curcumin is one of the many absorption improved forms of curcumin, the active ingredient in the herb turmeric. The study lasted two weeks.

Most of the COVID symptoms, including fever and chills, abnormal breathing, muscle pain and cough resolved significantly faster in the curcumin group. Oxygen saturation and lymphocyte count were significantly better in the curcumin group. Time spent on supplemental oxygen and time spent in hospital were significantly shorter in the curcumin group.

Importantly, while 40% of the people who were on standard treatment alone had their condition deteriorate, no one in the curcumin group did. And while only 15% of the control group had a complete recovery during the two weeks, 47.62% of the curcumin group did (Phytother Res 2021;35(5):2616-2623).

A just published study that also used nano-curcumin was triple-blind and included 40 people with COVID. Once again, the dose was 40mg four times a day for two weeks. Everyone received conventional treatment but half added a placebo while half added the curcumin. This study did not find a clinical difference between the two groups, perhaps because of the short duration of their illnesses, but it did find important inflammatory benefits to curcumin. C-reactive protein, an important marker of inflammation, decreased in the curcumin group. Lymphocytes and neutrophils increased in the curcumin group. Inflammation and white blood cells are both critical in determining infection severity. This study suggests that curcumin improves inflammation and modulates the immune system in a way that “can accelerate the process of recovery from the acute inflammatory phase of COVID-19 disease” (Phytother Res September 2021;35(11):6417-6427).

In perhaps the most important curcumin study yet, 525mg of curcumin twice a day led to faster recovery from symptoms, less deterioration, better oxygen saturation, less blood clotting and shorter hospital stays. Curcumin also reduced the risk of death from COVID. For the intriguing details of this study, check out our earlier blog.

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