The Appeal Of Natural Medicine
Turmeric is the powdered form of the underground stem of Cucurma longa, a member of the ginger family. Like ginger, you can peel and chop the fresh root, or use it dried in spice form. The vivid-colored stem gives yellow mustards and curry their bright colors, and boosts their flavors. This spice is used both orally and topically, to treat things like bruises and wounds, in traditional medicine in Southeast Asia, China and India.
For many, the traditional and natural designation adds appeal to turmeric. In a push toward better health, dietary supplements are tempting little shortcuts. Natural health products are easy to find in the grocery or drugstore. Theyre accessible, whereas visiting a doctor for a prescription takes money and time. They also pose a potentially way to soothe achy knees or other ailments, without the side effects of aspirin and other Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs . Combined with high health care costs today, people look for promising ways to prevent cancer, dementia and heart disease, or find a path toward a restful nights sleep.
The term natural has its own appeal, too, when it comes to the realm of minerals, vitamins or dietary supplements. But researchers advise to approach with caution. People make a mistake in thinking something is safe because its natural. Remember, all poisons come from nature, says Ikhlas Khan, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi.
Curcumin As A Cox Inhibitor
Typical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen and naproxen, work by blocking both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. COX-1 enzymes influence the clotting of blood and the health of the stomach, and COX-2 enzymes influence inflammation that can lead to pain. Researchers have found that curcumin has the chemical properties of a COX inhibitor17-20 and can provide modest pain relief. However, experts have not yet found a way to harness curcumins COX-inhibiting properties to reliably relieve moderate or significant arthritis pain.
Curcumin: Health Benefits And Cautions Explained
Curcumin is the major component of the herb turmeric and is one of the most versatile and widely used health supplements. There are plenty of high-quality studies to confirm most of the benefits but there are some cautions to be aware of too.
Outlining the benefits
Curcumin is well known therapeutically for its anti-inflammatory action as it can help reduce joint pain. In one systemic review, curcumin was found to be an effective and safe anti-inflammatory across six human trials1.
In another pilot study with patients who had rheumatoid arthritis, the results found that the patients taking curcumin had significant improvement over patients taking diclofenac sodium2.
In people with osteoarthritis C-reactive protein levels , the inflammatory marker was shown to decrease whilst taking curcumin for a period of three months3.
Part of its anti-inflammatory action may also be responsible for its ability to improve heart health, as studies have shown it to be useful for some heart conditions, including arthrosclerosis4.
Although some people believe that it could improve memory loss in patients with Alzheimers, so far the evidence does not confirm this5.
Some studies have found curcumin can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhoea and nausea7. These side effects were dose dependent and therefore reducing the dose can be enough to reduce adverse stomach effects.
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How To Get Turmeric In Your Diet
Turmeric is usually found in root form or in a powder and can be sprinkled on veggies and rice or added to soups and smoothies. You can even drink turmeric tea.
However, curcuminthe active compound that accounts for much of turmerics health benefitsonly makes up 3 to 5% of turmeric.
In order to get enough curcumin for its benefits to be effective, many experts recommend that people take curcumin supplements. Advocates suggest a daily curcumin supplement of 200 to 1000mg that contains 95% curcuminoids.
Read more: Dietary Supplements for Treating Arthritis
How Curcumin Actually Fights Inflammation In Arthritis
Arthritis means you have inflammation in a joint its chronic in RA, but also present OA. Your body makes inflammatory proteins , and a huge number of them are controlled by one molecule called NF-B, explains Randy Horwitz, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine. Think of it like an on/off switch for these genes, says Dr. Horwitz, who also serves as the medical director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Treating arthritis with corticosteroids and anti-inflammatories inhibits NF-B research shows turmeric can have the same effect. Inhibit NF-B, and youre turning off a whole bunch of inflammatory molecules, says Dr. Horwitz.
Research suggests curcumin also targets specific inflammatory cells and blocks certain enzymes that lead to inflammation.
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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.
How Long Does It Take For Turmeric To Reduce Inflammation
And a recent analysis of research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food on turmeric extracts concluded that eight to 12 weeks of treatment with standardized turmeric extracts can reduce pain due to arthritis, compared with placebo. Studies are still in the early stages, and much more research is needed.
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Turmeric For Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic form of inflammatory arthritis which can develop in people suffering from psoriasis. As per National Psoriasis Foundation, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric have been effective in treating the psoriasis arthritis. You can add turmeric to your daily food or try any remedy mentioned above or consume turmeric capsules for relief.
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Turmeric For Joint Pain: Takeaway
Clear evidence suggests that turmeric is highly effective and can significantly reduce joint pain in people with osteoarthritis. Knee pain and arthritis affects over 55 million people, with 24 million limited in their activities, and more than 1 in 4 adults reporting severe joint pain. When youre searching for a turmeric supplement, its important to consider the dose. Swolverines Turmeric capsules contain 750mg of turmeric with 95% active curcuminoids and 5mg of Bioperine for optimal absorption and efficacy.
Quality Assessment Of The Articles
The Cochrane tool was used to assess quality of the RCT articles included in this systematic review by determining the risk of bias .28 This validated tool consists of the following eight categories: random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding of participants, assessor blinding, reporting drop out or withdrawal, intention to treat, selective outcome reporting, and other potential bias. Each category was scored as H, high ROB, U, uncertain ROB, or L, low ROB. Three independent reviewers performed the quality assessment, and disagreement on scores was resolved through discussion.
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What Is Turmeric Curcumin
Turmeric powder is the primary spice in the Indian dish, curry. This powder derives from the ground-up roots of a species of ginger plant known as Curcuma longa. The curcumin content within turmeric provides the bright orange color as well as the majority of turmerics benefits.
The problem is that turmeric powder only contains about 3% curcumin, which is the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. When youre buying a supplement, it should contain at least 150-250 mg of curcuminoids per serving to have any real positive effect.
Another issue with turmeric is the poor bioavailability into the bloodstream. The body struggles to make use of turmeric by itself without the help of bioavailability enhancers, such as piperine . Piperine, usually in the form of trademarked ingredient BioPerine, significantly increases the absorption of turmeric.
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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.
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How Turmeric Can Treat Arthritis Pain And Inflammation
To get turmeric in your diet, you can add the powder to veggies, soups, smoothies, or tea. Or you can take curcumin supplements. Read more:Turmeric and Curcumin for Arthritis
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can be especially helpful for those with arthritis. This includes both degenerative arthritis and inflammatory arthritis .
V Benefits Of Turmeric For Joints And Inflammation
Turmeric or turmeric is a rhizome of the Zingiberaceae family. It is appreciated in cooking, cosmetics, and especially in medicine for its multiple virtues.
Used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine, turmeric is a spice with unmatched anti-inflammatory properties. It relieves rheumatic or articular pains and attenuates redness due to inflammations.
Whether you use the powder, the rhizome, or its oil, turmeric retains all its benefits and guarantees you well-being because of its effectiveness, scientists compare the effects of turmeric to those of aspirin and cortisone.
If the European Food Safety Agency, EFSA, has recognized the benefits of turmeric, especially for joint pain, it is first because turmeric rhizomes effectively relieve patients.
Secondly, AESAs scientific research proves that the consumption or use of turmeric for anti-inflammatory purposes has no adverse effects on the patient.
And to optimize the effects of turmeric and facilitate its absorption by the body, it is important to add black pepper.
These Supplements And Spices Are Becoming More And More Popular But Are They Worth A Try
Turmeric: This centuries-old spice often used in curries is now popping up in chips, protein bars, even chocolate. Its touted for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and has been studied as a natural protection against certain cancers and treatment for Alzheimers disease. The potential health benefits stem from curcumin turmerics most active compound.
What Is The Maximum Amount Of Turmeric You Can Take Per Day
Its safe to take up to 8 grams per day, but my recommendation would be somewhere on the lighter side: 500 to 1,000 milligrams a day for the general population, says Hopsecger. For optimal absorption, try taking with heart-healthy fats like oils, avocado, nuts and seeds, she adds.
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What You Should Know Before Taking Turmeric
The supplement industry is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration . That means you have no way of knowing what is actually in the bottle of turmeric/curcumin pills or powders youre buying. It might not have the potency it claims to have, and there could be additional ingredients you dont know about. In recent years there have been cases of imported turmeric with levels of lead high enough to cause lead poisoning in children and the FDA has not yet created limits on how much lead can be allowed in any spices at all.
If you are experiencing joint pain, your best bet is to talk to a doctor about whether turmeric/curcumin supplements could help and, if so, what brands are considered safe. If you decide to take turmeric supplements, try combining them with black pepper and a healthy fat, such as olive oil to help your body absorb the compounds. And dont neglect the power of a healthy lifestyle: An overall healthy diet and exercise routine can improve your joint health regardless of which supplements you take.
If arthritis pain interferes with your daily life, request an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.
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Curcumin As An Antioxidant
Researchers suspect that some or all painful arthritis inflammation may be caused by free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules or atoms missing an electron that occur naturally in the body. Too many cause oxidative stress is linked to inflammation. Antioxidant foods, such as turmeric, leafy greens, and seafood high in omega 3 fatty acids, neutralize free radicals. Curcumin is the essence of pain relief when taking turmeric to ease RA symptoms. Curcumin is known as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
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Health Benefits Of Turmeric
Turmeric in supplement form has higher levels than the spice used in cooking. Its a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet. The anti-inflammatory properties make it a popular remedy for conditions, including:
- Kidney Problems
Recent studies show turmeric helps prevent and reduce joint inflammation. This reduces pain, stiffness, and inflammation related to arthritis.
For digestive relief, pay close attention to the amount of turmeric in a supplement. High dosages can cause an upset stomach.
Turmerics health benefits may include lower cholesterol levels. Research done on animals to date produced encouraging and consistent results. Its reasonable to think it can lower cholesterol in humans, too.
Be Aware Of Drug Interactions
Turmeric is generally considered safe when taken as recommended. However, patients should also be aware that in high doses, turmeric can act as a blood thinner, so it should be avoided if you are taking blood thinners, are having surgery, or are pregnant. There has been some reported research on turmeric reducing the tolerance to and effectiveness of opioids, so be sure to speak to your doctor if you are on opioid therapy and considering trying turmeric. Prolonged use of curcumin may also result in gastrointestinal problems. As always, consult your physician before adding any supplement to your dietary regimen.
Arthritis Foundation. Turmeric. Available at: www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/turmeric.php. Accessed January 7, 2019.
Chin KY. The spice for joint inflammation: anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in treating osteoarthritis. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2016 0:30293042.
Daily JW, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of turmeric extracts and curcumin for alleviating the symptoms of joint arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J Med Food. 2016 19:717729
Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A review of its effects on human health. Foods. 2017 6:92.
NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Turmeric. Available at:https://nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric/ataglance.htm. Accessed January 7, 2019.
Cautions For Some Users
Most people can safely take curcumin supplements without any serious side effects. But like nearly every medication or supplement, there are some people it may not be right for.
Those who should avoid curcumin supplements because of potential negative effects include:
- Women who are pregnant or nursing
- Those with iron deficiencies
- Those who take medications that may interact with curcumin, including:
- Blood thinners
More Effective Than Placebo
In another study, published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Australia in Tasmania assigned 70 participants, over age 40, with knee osteoarthritis and swelling diagnosed by ultrasound, to receive either 1000 mg per day of turmeric or a placebo.
After 12 weeks, the randomly controlled placebo trial found that an extract of turmeric was more effective than a placebo in reducing knee pain in people with knee osteoarthritis.
Those taking turmeric reported significantly less knee pain at the end of the study, according to the standardized questionnaire.
Researchers emphasized that more research is needed, and the only limiting factor of their study was the small number of participants.
This research also received funding from Natural Remedies PVT Ltd, a company that offers Ayurvedic medicines and herbs.
While this may indicate a conflict of interest, previous research also supports this spices effectiveness for pain relief.
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Turmeric For Arthritis And Joint Pain: Does Curcumin Work
Throughout history, many herbs and spices have become famous for their medicinal uses. Perhaps none have reached the level of notoriety of turmeric, as it has been a principal healer of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Turmeric contains a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent called curcumin. Derived from the Curcuma longa root, curcuminoids are the primary driver behind many of turmerics health benefits. But, can turmeric help relieve arthritis and joint pain?
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Ii Does Turmeric Help With Inflammation And Joint Pain
Turmeric is an excellent way to relieve various types of joint inflammation. Unlike non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, it is an all-natural remedy, and sometimes even more effective.
Whether it is an inflammation of the whole joint, like arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammation of the tendon, like tendonitis, or rather an inflammation of the bursa, many studies have proven that turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory, allowing you to relieve your ailments in no time.
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