Most people in the West have heard about the health benefits of turmeric by now.
Studies prove this incredible root may treat every one of the diseases we link to aging. That the active compound in turmeric — curcumin — helps reverse Alzheimer’s… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer.1
But when it comes to anti-aging, turmeric does even more…
It’s also a powerful rejuvenating force for your skin.
When I was in Bali, my friend Lelir showed me how she uses turmeric to make an anti-aging facial scrub. Lelir is a fifth-generation Balian — a traditional healer. Balians have been using turmeric for thousands of years for both its health and anti-aging properties.
They know it works, even if they don’t know the science behind it…
But science shows that curcumin protects your telomeres. Those are the protective caps at the ends of your chromosomes. They prevent DNA strands from unraveling.
As cells in your body divide, the caps burn down. When your telomeres get too short, your cells stop dividing. New cells stop replacing the old ones. And you’re left with older, tired skin cells.
Telomere shortening is a big culprit in skin aging. Skin cells are the fastest-dividing cells in the human body. Every time they divide telomeres get shorter. That means your skin is extremely sensitive to telomere loss.
Short telomeres lead to lines, wrinkles, dull dry skin, under-eye bags, and all the other annoying signs of aging. One study of Dutch twins showed that shorter telomeres can make you look as much as 10 years older.2
New research shows that curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric, helps stop your telomeres from shortening. And it may actually help your telomeres grow longer.
You see, when you were young, you had a natural enzyme called telomerase that preserved your telomeres. It even helped rebuild them. Unfortunately, we don’t produce it when we’re adults.
But curcumin activates telomerase.3 That helps preserve and lengthen telomeres so your aging process slows down. Your skin stays biologically younger.
Longer telomeres translate to moist and dewy skin like you had in your 20s. It means lines and wrinkles appear smoother, and skin looks more firm and tight.
In Bali, India and many other countries, turmeric is an essential part of beauty treatments. Traditional healers may not know about telomere science, but they can see the real results of this healing plant.
When applied to the skin, turmeric can help stop inflammation. It has been used to treat acne, eczema and rosacea. It can also help soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
That’s why I often recommend a once-a-week turmeric mask to my patients. It’s easy to make:
- Combine two tablespoons each of dried turmeric, organic honey and yogurt in a bowl.
- Mix until it forms a paste. Add more yogurt if it’s too thick.
- Apply the paste to clean skin and leave on for 20 minutes.
- Wash off with warm water.
Just be careful when you work with turmeric. The intense color will stain your clothes if it drips. You may even notice a slight orange tinge to your skin. But that will fade quickly.
To get all of the other anti-aging benefits of curcumin, I recommend cooking with turmeric every day. Add it to soups, stews, stir-fries, mayonnaise, salad dressings or scrambled eggs.
Still, I find most of my patients don’t eat enough turmeric. They do better with a supplement. But don’t waste your money on one that doesn’t really work.
Look for a supplement standardized to 90% or more “curcuminoids.” It should also contain piperine, a black pepper extract that increases absorbency. (The ingredient label may say BioPerine.)
Take at least 500 mg a day, or 1,000 mg if you want to see even better benefits.
I believe so strongly in the anti-aging power of curcumin, I’ve included it my new supplement.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Sordillo PP, Helson L. “Curcumin and cancer stem cells: curcumin has asymmetrical effects on cancer and normal stem cells.” Anticancer Res. 2015;35(2):599-614.
2. Kaare Christensen, et al. “Perceived age as clinically useful biomarker of ageing: cohort study,” BMJ 2009;339:b5262.
3. Xiao Z, Zhang A, Lin J, et al. “Telomerase: a target for therapeutic effects of curcumin and a curcumin derivative in a?1-42 insult in vitro.” PLoS One. 2014;9(7):e101251.