Curcumin’s Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-VEGF Benefits

Curcumin’s Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-VEGF Benefits

Posted under Eye Health, Low Vision Info

Curcumin is the active yellow ingredient in the herb turmeric which comes from the Curcuma longa plant belonging to the ginger family. While there are many traditional medicinal uses for curcumin, there is also plenty of research that involves the use of this spice.



In fact, at the time of this writing there are 205 studies listed on the website researching the use of curcumin for conditions such as ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, periodontitis, breast cancer, dermatitis, multiple myeloma and prediabetes. Research sites include prestigious health care centers like MD Anderson Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts’s General Hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and UCLA Longevity Center. There are plenty of reasons why curcumin is the focus of so many research studies. This phytochemical has shown to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-thrombotic, anti-diabetic and anti-VEGF properties.


Retinal Diseases

Three of the main pathways that undermine the health of the retina are inflammation, oxidation and angiogenesis (formation of blood vessels). The protein Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) promotes the growth of the abnormal, unhealthy blood vessels that leak fluid under the macula which leads to wet macular degeneration and the loss of central vision. The retina is especially susceptible to oxidation and free radical damage. In the article Vascular endothelial growth factor: An important molecular target of curcumin (Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition Vol 59, 2019-Issue2) “Curcumin, the yellow pigment derived from turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) rhizomes, has a wide range of pharmaceutical properties. It has also been shown to inhibit VEGF by several studies.”


Therapeutic potential of curcumin in major retinal pathologies provides a review (Int Ophthalmol. 2019 Mar;39(3):725-734. doi: 10.1007/s10792-018-0845-y. Epub 2018 Feb 5.)  that summarizes and reviews curcumin’s therapeutic potential use in ophthalmology and especially in retinal disorders. The review article states,” Curcumin has found a role in slowing, and in some cases even reversing, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, proliferative vitreoretinopathy, and retinal cancers.”



The therapeutic doses listed in the various research studies ranged from 500 mg to 3000 milligrams of curcumin per day. Some studies instructed participants to take half in the morning and the other half in the evening. The curcumin was often given together with BioPerine (pepper) for better absorption.   Turmeric powder typically contains only about 3% curcumin. According to Consumer Labs “one teaspoon of turmeric powder (about 5,000mg) provides only about 150 mg of curcuminoids.” Because it is a fat-soluble phytochemical it is best to take it with some fat or with a meal. Be aware that this spice can have gastrointestinal side effects for some people and can interfere with certain medications and medical conditions.


For more tips on foods that are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce chronic inflammation visit:

Anti-Inflammatory Foods


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN