Turmeric: This centuries-old spice frequently used in curries is now popping up in protein bars, chips, and even chocolate. It is reputed for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to have been studied as natural protection against treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. The possible health benefits stem from curcumin — turmeric’s most potent compound.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a widespread human condition referring to painful joints characterized by swelling and stiffness and, or a joint problem. Most adults have arthritis in some form or the other. While it can occur in young adults and children and, as we age, the more likely it becomes.
Severe arthritis can limit your range of movements and make even the simplest activities such as ascending stairs or walking extremely challenging. While it’s possible to minimize the damage done by arthritis, if left untreated, it can aggravate and get severe over time. It may also cause irreversible and permanent changes to your joints.
If you start to experience arthritic symptoms such as lack of mobility, joint pain, and decreased quality of life, it’s pertinent to get it handled right away.
So, Can Turmeric Help Treat Arthritis?
Data from preliminary trials on patients suggest that curcumin may help relieve arthritis symptoms. In one case study, 50 people with rheumatoid arthritis took either curcumin, diclofenac sodium, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or a combination of both. After 8 weeks, the curcumin-only group reported the most improvement in symptoms, without any adverse effects.
Research on using turmeric for osteoarthritis is even more encouraging. In a study published by Phytotherapy Research, participants with mild-to-moderate knee osteoarthritis who took a curcumin supplement saw significant improvements in physical function and pain and after six weeks, compared to placebo. Other studies have shown turmeric compound was as powerful as ibuprofen (a kind of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine) for knee OA pain — with fewer GI effects. And a recent study of research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food on turmeric extracts concluded that 8 to 12 weeks of treatment with standardized turmeric extracts could reduce pain due to arthritis, compared with placebo.
How Curcumin Fights Inflammation in Arthritis
Arthritis means you have inflamed joints — it’s chronic in RA, but also present OA. Your body makes cytokines (inflammatory proteins), and a considerable number of them are controlled by one molecule called NF-κB. Treating arthritis with anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids inhibits NF-κB; research shows turmeric can have a similar effect. Inhibit NF-κB, and you’re avoiding a whole bunch of inflammatory molecules.
Research indicates curcumin blocks certain enzymes and also targets specific inflammatory cells that lead to inflammation.
Turmeric Spice vs. Supplement: What’s Better?
Though you might like the taste, a sprinkle of turmeric in your soup or smoothie or isn’t going get you much help for curing arthritis symptoms. Turmeric only contains about 2 – 9 % curcuminoids, a family of active compounds that includes curcumin. Plus, curcumin is difficult for your body to absorb.
Supplements are a more practical choice. Pick up turmeric supplements that say “standardized to 95% curcuminoids” on the label. And make sure it contains black pepper extract or “piperine”. When mixed in a complex with curcumin, it has been shown to spike up bioavailability by two thousand percent.
Both curcumin and turmeric are generally considered safe, without any severe side effects. The supplement may react with certain prescription medicines and may aggravate gall stone disease.
Before you consider adding turmeric (or any supplement) to your regimen, talk to your doctor about dosing, potential drug interactions, and if it’s a safe option for you.
How to use it
Turmeric is widely available in the whole root form as well as a powder. The sliced root or powder can make an excellent inclusion to a variety of meals, including soups, curries, and rice dishes.
Many people use grated or ground turmeric to brew herbal tea. An array of pre-packaged turmeric tea bags are also made.
Although people can include turmeric to their diet in multiple ways, much of the study around the anti-arthritic effect of the spice targets primarily on curcumin, which is available in the dietary supplement model.
There are several curcumin supplements on the market, which tend to come in the form of tablets or capsules. Manufacturers may also include other ingredients like black pepper to make the compound handy for the body to absorb.
The suggested dosage for curcumin supplements can vary. The researches of a 2016 systematic study suggested consuming 1,000 mg of curcumin daily to treat the symptoms of arthritis. Highly bioavailable forms of curcumin can be effective at fewer doses.
Final Thoughts on Turmeric Benefits for Arthritis
Its curcuminoid content will help control the symptoms and flare-ups associated with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
If you need a way to minimize stiffness and swelling and improve joint mobility and enhance your quality of life, turmeric may be an excellent complementary treatment for your arthritis.
Emylee is a wellness lifestyle writer. She currently writes for How To Cure. She like to share her thoughts and personal experiences related to natural remedies, ayurvedic yoga and fitness through her writing. She can connect with others experiencing health concerns and help them through their recovery journeys through natural remedies.