The best curriculum supplements are equaling NSAIDs like ibuprofen in studies
Arthritis is one of the most common chronic pain conditions affecting Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), more than 52 million people in the United States have an official diagnosis for some type of arthritis.1
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, which accounts for 28 million arthritis diagnoses among Americans. Although arthritis prevalence increases with age, there is a significantly higher prevalence for women (23.5%) than for men (18.1%).1 Similar to many other chronic conditions, such as cancer and atherosclerosis, arthritis is an inflammatory condition, in which the short-term inflammatory process needed to fight off pathogens becomes chronic and attacks the connective tissue in the body’s various joints.
Interestingly, ongoing research into curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, shows that it has powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities for arthritis, as well as a wide range of other medical issues. How do curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties work, and what are some of the findings about its effectiveness for treating arthritis? Read further to find out more about one of the most prized medicinal herbs within traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties
The best curcumin supplements works by blocking the transcription-factor protein NF-kB, which has the ability to activate genes related to inflammation.2 NF-kB is thought to play a large role in a number of chronic diseases, making it an excellent target for studying the therapeutic possibilities of curcumin to prevent NF-kB from activating if there is no acute condition for which an inflammation process is needed to fight off pathogens or other foreign bodies.
A 2003 article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine performed a meta-analysis to compare findings on papers that studied the effects of curcumin in treating inflammatory diseases to look for patterns of similarity.3 In-vitro, animal, and human studies were all included in the analysis. The in-vitro studies confirmed the role of NF-kB in the inflammatory process and also identified several other molecules that may also be involved, including chemo-attractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interferon-inducible protein, and interleukin-12 (IL-12).
The human studies found curcumin to be safe and effective, with doses up to 8,000 mg per day for three months. The researchers concluded: “Curcumin has been demonstrated to be safe in six human trials and has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity. It may exert its anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of a number of different molecules that play a role in inflammation.” 3
A 2014 article in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging compared the short-term (four-week) effectiveness of 1,500 mg/day of a curcumin extract against 1,200 mg/day of the standard treatment of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) ibuprofen for treating a group of 367 patients with knee osteoarthritis.4 Study patients taking curcumin extracts showed significant improvement at weeks 2 and 4. Furthermore, the curcumin extract had a significantly better side effect profile than ibuprofen, with fewer gastrointestinal issues.4
A 2018 article in the Journal of Medicinal Food performed an analysis similar to Chainani-Wu’s,3 but instead specifically focused on the use of curcumin extract for treating arthritis.5 After reviewing all articles on the topic across various databases that met their inclusion criteria, the researchers concluded: “[T]hese RCTs [randomized clinical trials] provide scientific evidence that supports the efficacy of turmeric extract (about 1,000 mg/day of curcumin) in the treatment of arthritis.”5 They added that while there needs to be further study, these results do look promising.
Arthritis can be very frustrating for patients as it presents a conundrum – keeping active will slow down the disease progression, yet it can be painful to move the affected joint. Fortunately, finding the best curcumin supplement may be able to improve symptoms of arthritis, but with fewer adverse side effects than standard NSAID treatment.
- Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Boring MA, Brady TJ. Vital signs: Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation – United States, 2013–2015. Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report. 2017;66:246-253.
- Singh S1, Aggarwal BB. Activation of transcription factor NF-kappa B is suppressed by curcumin (diferuloylmethane) [corrected]. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1995 Oct 20;270(42):24995-5000.
- Chainani-Wu N. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: A component of turmeric (Curcuma longa). Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-168.
- Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P, Taechaarpornkul W, et al. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: A multicenter study. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2014;9:451-458.
- 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. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2016;19(8):717-729.