Turmeric and Arthritis

Tumeric and Curcumin Information


General Turmeric

Using Turmeric as a Spice

Turmeric and Alzheimers

Turmeric as an Anti-Inflammatory

Turmeric and Arthritis

Turmeric and Atherosclerosis

Turmeric and Cancer

Turmeric and Cataracts

Turmeric and Cholesterol

Turmeric and Crohns Disease

Turmeric and Cystic Fibrosis

Turmeric and Liver Disease

Turmeric and Psoriasis

Research Updates

Approximately one out of every six people in America suffers from some form of arthritis. It is the leading cause of disability in persons over the age of 65 in the U.S., affecting some 43 million people and amounting to millions of dollars in health care costs every year. Arthritis attacks the joints, causing and inflammation, which in turn results in mild to severe pain, stiffness, and a limiting of movement. Several factors influence the development and progression of arthritis, ranging from simple aging to injuries to being overweight. There is also a genetic tendency towards arthritis, which contributes to an individual’s risk. There are over 100 types of arthritis, of which the most common forms are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The former is caused by the deterioration of cartilage lining joints, and primarily attacks the finger joints as well as hip and knee joints, and often accompanies aging or repetitive injuries. The latter is more serious, and is the result of the immune system releasing antibodies that immobilize the joints, gradually destroying them. This reaction, essentially an inappropriate response on the part of the body’s immune system, typically occurs in response to the presence of allergens. Osteoarthritis tends to be worse at night, or after a period of rest, whereas Rheumatoid arthritis is worse in the mornings.

While there is no cure for arthritis, certain treatments may slow the progression of the disease and alleviate existing discomfort. For many sufferers, even partial relief is preferable to the pain they experience every day. Some common remedies for arthritis are NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol), aspirin, and other mild painkillers.

However, one promising new treatment—or old treatment, depending on how you look at it—is turmeric. For centuries, turmeric has been a staple of traditional medicine, especially in Asia. Because turmeric is both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it is able to reduce the swelling in joints and thus alleviate the pain of arthritis to some extent. Some researchers believe that turmeric has the potential to be more effective than cortisone or other steroids. Furthermore, turmeric has the advantage of being much safer than many drugs on the market. Turmeric, after all, is one of the main ingredients in curry as well as in other South Asian dishes, and has been consumed frequently and for generations by a large number of people without being shown to have any adverse effects.

Preliminary studies on the healing properties of turmeric have shown that one of its components, known as curcuminoids, is a protein blocker. By interfering with a protein called Nuclear Factor kappa-B (NF-KB), the curcuminoids are able to reduce the inflammation caused by the protein’s activity. While further studies are required to better understand the exact nature of turmeric’s role in blocking NF-KB and decreasing swelling, initial results show great promise. While turmeric is unlikely to cure arthritis, it may contribute to the relief of patient symptoms, as well as helping researchers discover new treatments for the disease.

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