Curcumin For Arthritis: Does It Really Work
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is the most common type of arthritis. Usually, it occurs among people of advanced age. But it can begin in middle age or even sooner, especially if theres been an injury to the joint.
While there are treatments available exercise, braces or canes, loss of excess weight, various pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines these are no cures, and none of the treatments are predictably effective. In fact, often they dont work at all, or help only a little. Injected steroids or synthetic lubricants can be tried as well. When all else fails, joint replacement surgery can be highly effective. In fact, about a million joint replacements are performed each year in the U.S.
So, its no surprise that people with osteoarthritis will try just about anything that seems reasonably safe if it might provide relief. My patients often ask about diet, including anti-inflammatory foods, antioxidants, low-gluten diets and many others. Theres little evidence that most of these dietary approaches work. When there is evidence, it usually demonstrates no consistent or clear benefit.
Thats why one study is noteworthy: It suggests that curcumin, a naturally occurring substance found in a common spice, might work for osteoarthritis.
A study of curcumin for osteoarthritis of the knee
Heres what this study found:
Ready to start taking curcumin?
The bottom line
Does Taking Turmeric For Arthritis Really Work
Over the past few years, turmeric has become an increasingly popular supplement for treating arthritis pain. The bright orange spice, derived from a root and commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, is now offered in pills, drink mixes, juices and lattes. But does taking turmeric for arthritis really reduce pain and inflammation?
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What Is The Proper Dosage Of Curcumin
Curcumin is considered an extremely safe supplement for human consumption, but the FDA does not regulate it. The typical dosage used in the studies we have mentioned is between 500-2,000 mg a day. However, no fully established dosage can be cited for curcumin. The World Health Organization does offer a suggested dosage of 1.4 mg of curcumin per pound of body weight as an ideal baseline. The exact dosage of your supplement will likely be listed on the packaging and will be sufficient for your needs. However, you should avoid exceeding the printed dosage to avoid any side effects.
The only side effects to speak of when it comes to curcumin involve allergic reactions such as rashes, stomach pain, nausea, etc. However, these issues are best avoided, so following the dosage information on your supplement’s packaging is an essential step. Otherwise, curcumin combined with piperine can be a powerful tool in your battle against joint pain and arthritis. The only remaining concern you should have now is acquiring a quality curcumin supplement.
Data Sources And Selection Criteria
The following electronic databases were searched: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Korean databases such as DBpia, the Research Information Service System , the Korean Information Service System , Chinese medical databases such as China National Knowledge Infrastructure and the Chinese Scientific Journals Database, the Indian Medical Journals and the Indian Journals. Dissertations were also included. The search was conducted in the databases using proper languages of English, Korean, and Chinese. The following keywords of Medical Sub Headings were used as search terms: curcumin,curcuma,turmeric,Curcuma domestica,Curcuma Longa,arthritis,osteoarthritis,randomized,controlled trial, and clinical trial. In the systematic review, all RCTs were included from the available databases up to April, 2016, that had examined the effects of turmeric and curcumin on arthritis.
Should You Take Turmeric
Its possible to take turmeric for RA, but the real active ingredient is curcumin. Curcumin makes up about 2 to 9 percent of turmeric, so you may get more benefit taking supplements. Scientists are still unsure about the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. It remains an intriguing possibility for medicine in the future.
Always check with your doctor before taking turmeric or curcumin for RA symptoms.
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Turmeric Spice Vs Supplement: Whats Better
Though you might like the flavor, a sprinkle of turmeric in your smoothie or soup isnt going get you much benefit for treating arthritis symptoms. Turmeric only contains about 2 to 9 percent curcuminoids, a family of active compounds that includes curcumin. Plus, curcumin is hard for your body to absorb.
Supplements are the more efficient choice. Look for turmeric supplements that say standardized to 95% curcuminoids on the label, advises Dr. Horwitz. And make sure it contains piperine, or black pepper extract. When combined in a complex with curcumin, it has been shown to increase bioavailability by 2,000 percent.
Both turmeric and curcumin are generally considered safe, without any serious side effects. The supplement may interact with certain prescription medicines, and may aggravate gall stone disease, cautions Dr. Horwitz.
Before you consider adding turmeric to your regimen, talk to your doctor about dosing, potential drug interactions, and if its a safe option for you.
How Much Turmeric Should You Use
How much turmeric you should use depends entirely on what you are hoping to accomplish with it.
If you are looking for a supplement to help you keep on top of systemic inflammation that is, inflammation affecting your whole body at the cellular level then adding in more turmeric through your diet should be all you need to do. We recommend adding turmeric to as many dishes as you reasonably can: add a handful to curries, stir-fries, soups, and casseroles try some turmeric-based drinks like smoothies and lattes marinate meat in turmeric and olive oil, and so on.
If your goal is general health, then eating more turmeric through food is more than enough to see the results you desire. Just be sure to add some black pepper to the same dishes as piperine increases turmeric bio-availability by an enormous factor.
However, if your goal is to help manage severe joint pain , then you are going to have to take a more targeted approach.
For assuaging joint pain, we recommend taking a high-quality turmeric extract which has been standardized to contain a high concentration of curcumin .
If youre able to source a highly bio-available, potent, high-curcumin turmeric extract, then 250mg per day is plenty. In contrast, if youre taking a simple turmeric powder capsule, then we recommend upping the dose to at least 750mg per day coupled with piperine to maximize bio-availability.
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Is Turmeric Really Any Good For Arthritis
Turmeric is not listed as an arthritis treatment by the NHS, and therefore is unlikely to be prescribed by your GP. However, there issome evidenceto suggest that it can be an effective treatment for arthritis symptoms.
Historically, the spice has been used by alternative healers to treat pain and swelling. This is because it contains a substance called curcumin, which is thought to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
One study of 107 people found that daily consumption of curcumin had an effect comparable to commonly used anti-inflammatory medicines. However, evidence is still limited, if youre thinking about taking turmeric, we recommend you speak to your GP or a pharmacist.
While more research needs to be carried out into curcumin and its effects on the body, in clinical trials turmeric has been safe to take in doses of 1-10g a day.
Who Should Buy Curcumin
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that provides many of the health benefits found in turmeric. It has found use in a wide variety of applications, all of which are linked to high levels of systemic inflammation.
It is most popular for long-term health applications like reducing risk factors for chronic disease, fighting pain from arthritis, and treating inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract.
However, curcumin finds some use among athletes as a way to reduce post-workout soreness and speed recovery from tough training sessions. It also may help improve depression and could even boost bone density in older adults with osteoarthritis.
If you want to incorporate a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory supplement into your regular routine, curcumin is a great option.
Its not for everyone it has the potential to interact with some prescription medications, for example, but if your overall aim is long-term health and wellness, curcumin is a good way to move closer to that goal.
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How Long Does It Take For Turmeric To Work
How long do you need to take turmeric before noticing results? The answer depends on the reason youre using a curcumin supplement. For example, turmeric starts to work almost immediately after taking it for improving overall health and providing temporary pain relief.
However, if youre dealing with chronic inflammation or arthritis and joint pain, you need to stay consistent. It may take 2-4 weeks before noticing any improvement in the arthritic condition. To achieve maximum benefits, you need to remain on a steady dosing schedule for 4-8 weeks.
The results achieved also depend on many other factors, including activity levels, age, body mass, other medications, and the severity of the condition. Turmeric works well, but its essential to give curcumin time to build up in your system so it can reduce systemic inflammation.
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Risks And Side Effects
Is it safe to take turmeric? According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Turmeric in amounts tested for health purposes is generally considered safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. High doses or long-term use of turmeric may cause gastrointestinal problems.
What is the maximum dosage of turmeric? Typically, a recommended dosage of turmeric is not over 2,000 milligrams per day.
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Other Treatments For Arthritis
If youre going to take turmeric for your arthritis, just remember that this should not be thought of as a replacement for other treatments, especially those prescribed by your doctor.
You can manage your symptoms by:
- Doing more exercise and maintaining a healthy weight
- Taking over-the-counter and prescription painkillers
- Applying capsaicin cream or using topical drug pain relief like Flexiseq
- Using insoles, walking aids or splints
- Using hot or cold packs
- Having physiotherapy
In combination, these treatments, lifestyle changes and medication prescribed to you by a healthcare practitioner should help to make your symptoms more manageable. You should not take supplements as a substitute for a varied, balanced diet or a healthy lifestyle.
Article Evaluation And Selection
Two independent reviewers screened the articles. In the first screening, the related articles were identified by the titles and abstracts of the articles and the relevant articles were retrieved in full text and validated for inclusion in the systematic review. The third reviewer independently validated the selected articles.
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Celery Seeds Have Been Used For Millennia To Ease Pain
Fragrant celery seeds, which come from the flowers of the celery plant, have been used since ancient times to treat pain. A review published the journal Progress in Drug Research notes that celery seed extract has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in animal models.
According to Mount Sinai Health, celery seeds may interact with blood-thinning medications, lithium, and thyroid medications if youre taking any of these, its important to talk with your doctor before trying celery seed.
What To Know Before Taking Turmeric
Curcumin and turmeric are generally safe. Talk to your doctor if you are interested in taking curcumin supplements. While there are no reports of severe effects from high doses of curcumin, its still possible for side effects to occur.
Curcumin may also interact with prescription drugs. This can make your medication less effective and impact your health if you have certain conditions. Check with your doctor before taking turmeric if you take medicine for:
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Turmeric For Arthritis And Joint Inflammation
Turmeric is best known as a spice used in Asian dishes it is often added to Indian curries, giving them a distinctive yellow colouring. Related to the ginger plant, turmeric grows as a root, and is typically ground into a powder and cooked into dishes in small quantities.
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints, causing pain and stiffness. The most common type, osteoarthritis, is caused by the protective cartilage on the joints wearing down. Another type, rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune condition with this condition, symptoms are caused by the immune system attacking the cells that line the joints.
If you live with arthritis, youll know that while it is a chronic condition that cannot be cured there are a number of treatments and lifestyle changes that can be adopted to manage the symptoms.
Cinnamon May Reduce Free Radical Damage
While more research is needed, the Arthritis Foundation points to encouraging studies that show that cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, both of which have antioxidant properties that help inhibit cell damage caused by free radicals. Like cloves, cinnamon contains the anti-inflammatory eugenol as well.
Cinnamon is delicious to sprinkle on oatmeal or in a smoothie, but that wont be enough for a therapeutic dose. However, if used in tandem throughout the day with other antioxidants, you can build up a cumulative effect.
Warning: Do not try to up the dose by trying the cinnamon challenge, for which people try to swallow heaping teaspoons of the spice in under a minute. A study published in January 2021 in Critical Care Medicine reports that there is a high risk of aspiration, sometimes leading to acute respiratory distress and the need for ventilation.
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What Are Turmeric And Ginger
Turmeric and ginger arent new foods both have been consumed for thousands of years. Ginger has its origins in ancient China, where it was used as both a spice and a medicine. It was long considered an herbal remedy for motion sickness, nausea, pain and digestive distress. From there, it spread through Asia and on to Europe and is now a household staple for many. Turmeric has also been historically grown in southeast Asia, with India still being the primary producer. Both foods come from the part of the plant called the rhizome, a stem that grows underground and produces shoots off its sides, similar to a root system. Both plants actually grow beautiful flowers above the ground when they are ready to be harvested.
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Is It True That Turmeric Can Turn Your Skin Yellow
Turmeric is not only a sacred spice used in weddings, but it also has cosmetic properties. If you think that turmeric when used as a colorant will make your skin yellow . not really. There are many types of turmeric and casturi turmeric is used for beauty and skin conditions.
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Turmeric For Joint Pain Relief
Curcumin has also been shown to have a strong antioxidant capacity. In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, patients with mild-to-moderate knee osteoarthritis were given the curcuminoid and were compared to a group that received a placebo for 6 weeks. Researchers measured the levels of enzymes known to influence inflammation and malondialdehyde ). The treatment group showed significant changes in these enzymes suggesting that short-term supplementation with curcumin decreases oxidative stress.
Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of low or high dose bio-optimized Curcuma longa in 150 patients with knee osteoarthritis measured serum biomarkers of cartilage degradation . The high dose extract showed a transient but non-significant decrease in the cartilage degradation biomarkers. Moreover, pain improvement in the low- and high-dose extracts was better than in the placebo group after 90 days of treatment.
The effects of topical curcumin 5% ointment on osteoarthritis knee pain in patients older than 70 years was studied in a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Subjects applied either the ointment or a placebo twice a day for 6 weeks. The pain intensity was significantly lower in the group receiving the curcumin ointment than in the placebo group suggesting that this treatment may be considered for older adults with knee osteoarthritis.
Curcumin As A Treatment For Osteoarthritis
Inflammation plays a huge role in osteoarthritis Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is naturally a go-to for this disease. The science supporting the effectiveness of curcumin to treat osteoarthritis is conflicting, but there is enough there to support its efficacy to some extent.
One follow-up study examining the efficacy of turmeric vs. the efficacy of a placebo in reducing pain produced a meaningful result. Over a two-week period, patients who took 1000mg of a turmeric per day reported lower amounts of pain than patients who took a placebo. While the scientists conducting the study said the clinical significance of this result was unclear, the results indicate that this is a worthwhile treatment. Another study at Harvard had a similar conclusion concerning turmeric?s potential benefits. . So, there is a body of science that supports the potential of curcumin for helping lessen osteoarthritis symptoms, but this endeavor is still very much in progress.
However, the anecdotal support for curcumin as an antagonist to osteoarthritis symptoms is strong. The logic of using an anti-inflammatory for a condition that results from inflammation also seems to hold up, at least on a basic level.
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