Many health conditions can stem from chronic inflammation, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and other autoimmune conditions. Modern-day medicine uses a selection of drugs. These can prevent health conditions from worsening and may reduce symptoms like pain and swelling. Alongside medications, there are some natural remedies that are effective in reducing inflammation like turmeric. Does turmeric help with arthritis? GreenBox will answer a few questions surrounding what turmeric is and why you should take it .
What are the health benefits of turmeric? Is turmeric good for you? Does turmeric help arthritis patients and if so, what is the best turmeric supplement for people who are suffering from this condition?
Let’s answer all of these questions and more!
What is Turmeric and Where Does it Come From?
Turmeric is a spice from a plant with the species name Curcuma longa. This plant is part of the ginger family.
Turmeric is still used for medicinal purposes in complementary and alternative practices, as well as in cooking. It can be in curries, mustard, cheeses, and butters to add a bitter taste and strong aroma.
What Are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?
The turmeric plant contains a range of bioactive compounds called curcuminoids, one of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is found naturally in turmeric root. It is a polyphenol with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body. It’s the curcumin in turmeric that provides the health benefits of the turmeric plant.
Here are some of these amazing benefits:
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved heart health
- Reduced joint pain and stiffness
- Reduced oxidative stress
- Improved blood glucose regulation
- Increased insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin resistance
- Reduced blood cholesterol levels
- Improved cognitive function
- Increased ability to fight off infections
- Reduced cancer cell growth and migration
Does Turmeric Help Arthritis Patients?
So, the answer to the question ‘is turmeric good for you?’ is pretty clear based on all of the health benefits we’ve listed above. But the real question is using turmeric for arthritis patients an effective method of treatment?
There is some evidence to support the use of turmeric for arthritis. So, many health practitioners are now recommending it to their patients to ease pain and reduce symptoms.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is the most common joint disorder in the United States and affects tens of millions of people worldwide. Most commonly, it affects the knees but can affect multiple joints at once.
Individuals who are above the age of 60 are more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis. However, it can affect people of all ages. In Western medicine, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain-killers can help arthritis patients.
But recent research suggests that the popular bright yellow Indian spice could be just as effective at treating arthritis and the associated symptoms as Western medications. It may help to relieve joint pain and reduce stress in the body because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin.
What Do the Studies Show?
One study compared the effectiveness of turmeric against diclofenac, a commonly used anti-inflammatory drug. Some patients were provided with a 500 mg capsule of curcumin three times a day while others were given a 50 mg pill of diclofenac twice a day.
The researchers found that curcumin had a similar efficacy when compared to diclofenac but produced fewer unwanted side effects.
Other studies have compared the effects of curcumin to placebo and found that it was more effective for reducing knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
Are There Any Concerns Over the Use of Turmeric for Arthritis?
Although some studies have confirmed the benefits of using turmeric for joints and arthritis, much of the research has been performed on a limited number of participants. There is more than one kind of arthritis, each of which might respond differently to turmeric.
The dosage of curcumin also makes a significant difference in its ability to lower inflammation. Turmeric can help with joint pain but more isn’t always better.
Taking large amounts of turmeric may provide adverse effects in the body, such as headaches, digestive disturbances, and skin rashes. If you plan on taking a turmeric supplement (link to blog 1 Nine Reasons to Take Turmeric), it’s vital that you take the right dosage.
How Can You Take Turmeric for Arthritis?
Stirring a teaspoon of turmeric into your curries might enhance the flavour of your dish but it will not provide you with much curcumin.
The bioavailability of curcumin is low and just 10% of it actually gets into your body. The rest of it ends up in the toilet!
Foods and Drinks
If you plan on taking turmeric for arthritis, using it in foods is not the best method for you to use because of the limited absorption rate of curcumin. However, if you do plan on adding turmeric powder to your meals, we recommend that you add it to high-fat meals.
Healthy fats can increase the bioavailability of curcumin, meaning more of it gets absorbed into your bloodstream. Alternatively, add some black pepper into your dish as this is also known to boost curcumin’s bioavailability.
You can also add turmeric powder to your smoothies and shakes to increase your curcumin intake. Again, add a little pinch of black pepper or make sure there are some healthy fat sources in there too. Peanut butter or full-fat milk could be good options to add to your drinks.
Turmeric lattes (also known as Golden Milk) are another great way to increase your dietary turmeric intake. This drink combines your usual latte ingredients with turmeric powder and black pepper to provide you with more health benefits.
Tablets and Capsules
To maximize the bioavailability of curcumin and reap its health benefits as much as possible, supplements are the way to go. The best turmeric supplement forms are tablets and capsules, which are easy to swallow and provide you with a higher dosage of curcumin than turmeric powder.
Tablets and capsules are able to provide a high enough dosage to elicit strong anti-inflammatory effects on the body, which is ideal if you’re using turmeric for arthritis. And the addition of pepper enhances the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2000%.
Generally, supplements contain 500 to 1000 mg of curcumin and it’s very unlikely that you’d get a dosage this high in your curries, no matter how much you love the taste of turmeric!
Before you take any turmeric or curcumin supplements, speak to your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to do so. Turmeric can interact with other medications and may increase or decrease the effects of certain drugs. Your doctor will be able to assess your current prescriptions to see if curcumin will cause any contraindications.
When Should You Not Take Turmeric for Arthritis?
Curcumin is great for many people who have been diagnosed with arthritis. However, it is not suitable for everybody such as:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Individuals with anaemia or iron deficiencies
- People who are taking anti-coagulants, antacids, Sulfasalazine, or Metformin
If you’re looking for the best turmeric supplement to reduce your symptoms of arthritis, we have the perfect range of products here at GreenBox.
The Wunder Workshop Golden Turmeric Tea is great for those of you who enjoy a soothing hot drink and the Solgar Turmeric Root Extract Veg Capsules provide a convenient way to boost your curcumin intake and minimise inflammation. Does turmeric help with arthritis? The answer we think is yes!