Curclear for Arthritis

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Arthritis is a medical condition characterized by swollen and painful joints. It affects children as well as adults irrespective of age. There are many types of arthritis; some common ones are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis, gout etc.

The common features of this disease include:

  • Stiffness of joints
  • Muscle ache and pain
  • Inability to use the limb
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of flexibility

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two common forms of arthritis that are commonly observed. Osteoarthritis that is caused due to wasting of bone cartilage is commonly observed in people above fifty years of age. Rheumatoid arthritis develops due to attack of own immune system against the joints.

Generally, steroids and NSAIDs are used. But, they cause severe side effects. Patients unable to tolerate the side effects of drugs search for natural remedies for arthritis. Use of Curcumin (Turmeric Extract) for arthritis alleviates symptoms such as tenderness, swelling and pain in joints.

Benefits Of Curcumin In Arthritis

1. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory agent

Inflammation is the primary symptom of arthritis. The wear and tear of the joints ignites the inflammatory cascade which leads to production of pro-inflammatory agents. These then lead to pain, swelling and stiffness.

The inflammation spreads to the fluid lubricating the joint leading to a condition called synovitis which leads to joint stiffness. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.

Curcumin uniquely inhibits the action of both pro-inflammatory enzymes- COX and LOX unlike regular medications such as celecoxib which inhibit only COX. Interestingly curcumin does not cause gastric erosion, which is a common side effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Animal study shows that Curcumin (turmeric extract) inhibits joint inflammation and degradation by preventing activation of Nuclear factor kappa B- the main protein involved in inflammation.

A review study demonstrates that curcuminoids reduces C reactive protein- an important marker of inflammation. A recent study suggests that specialized formulation of curcumin can inhibit inflammation in synovial fluid that lubricates the joint.

What does this mean?

Curcumin and curcuminoids found in turmeric work as excellent anti-inflammatory agents and help in controlling inflammation in arthritis and preventing it from spreading. It also protects joint as well as synovial fluid from inflammation and does not pose side effects like NSAIDs.

 

2. Curcumin possesses anti-arthritic activity

Turmeric is proven to be superior to ginger and indomethacin (a painkiller) in terms of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. These properties of turmeric have beneficial effects in controlling onset and preventing progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

 

3. Curcumin is an excellent antioxidant

Oxidative stress or imbalance between prooxidant and antioxidant agents in the body leads to degradation of joint tissue in arthritis.

A clinical trial was conducted where the effect of curcuminoids and piperine supplementation (1500mg +15mg /day) was assessed on the antioxidant status of patients suffering from osteoarthritis.

The study lasted for 6 weeks and an increase in level of antioxidant enzymes was observed. Researchers concluded that short term supplementation of curcuminoids alleviate oxidative stress in osteoarthritis.

What does this mean?

Research shows that curcumin reduces oxidative stress and improves antioxidant defences in arthritis

 

4. Curcumin has bone protective properties

 Inflammation in arthritis leads to degradation of cartilage and joint tissue. In conditions like osteoarthritis degradation of bone tissue is also observed.

Curcumin protects chondrocytes- a type of bone cell from inflammation. A study shows that curcumin is as effective as betamethasone in protecting bone and joint from erosion in arthritis and preventing thickening of synovial fluid that lubricates joint.

Curcuminoids slow down progression of osteoarthritis by preventing loss of bone tissue. This study showed that curcuminoids reduced the activity of osteoclasts (bone cells that absorb bone tissue) and maintained osteoblast function (cells that lay down bone tissue).

A recent study published in Molecular Medicine Reports, 2016 reports that curcumin reduces the osteoclast or bone absorption like activity of cells in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Curcumin can even prevent loss of articular cartilage (soft tissue that ensures joint flexibility) in osteoarthritis.

What does this mean?
Curcumin has bone protective properties. Clinical trials as well as studies on cells from arthritis patients show that curcumin supplementation prevents degradation and loss of bone tissue.

5. It prevents progression of arthritis

Just as in cancer, there are some cells in rheumatoid arthritis that are immune to cell death and destruction. These are called fibroblast like synoviocytes. They are found on the lining of the joints which ensure smooth movement and flexibility.

Under the inflammatory conditions of rheumatoid arthritis, these cells begin to grow and resist cell death and thereby contribute to inflammation and joint destruction. Targeting these cells would be a stronger approach towards treating arthritis.

Interesting enough, curcumin actually targets these cells, prevents them from producing inflammatory agents and destroys these cells. Curcumin increases the activity of proteins that causes apoptosis and simultaneously reduces the level of survival proteins.

What does this mean?

Research suggests that curcumin can destroy the indestructible fibroblast like synoviocytes in rheumatoid arthritis and thereby prevent progression of the disease.

 

6. Curcumin can combat infection in arthritis

Septic arthritis can be a result of fungal infection like Candida and Aspergillus as well as bacterial infection by superbug MRSA.

Also certain medicines recommended for arthritis treatment can increase risk of developing serious infections in arthritis.

Curcumin has a broad spectrum anti-microbial activity- it inhibits growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi. It also has synergistic action with antibiotics and potentiates their activity. This property could be beneficial in reducing sepsis in arthritis.

What does this mean?
Curcumin has broad spectrum anti-microbial properties and immune boosting properties that help reduce risk of infection in arthritis.

 

7. Turmeric is better than painkillers and other drugs used to treat arthritis

Research proves that curcumin at a dose of 1500mg/day is as effective as ibuprofen, a painkiller (1200mg/day) in treating knee osteoarthritis. And this comes with an added advantage that curcumin is safer for the stomach than ibuprofen.

Curcumin treatment (500 mg daily) is superior to diclofenac sodium (50mg) in terms of reducing tenderness and swelling of joints. Another study proves that curcumin employed as an adjuvant therapy with diclofenac has a superior beneficial effect on arthritis than diclofenac alone.

Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX enzyme) is an enzyme that plays an important role in inflammation. Inhibition of this enzyme can relieve symptoms of pain and inflammation. Curcuminoids are proven to be as effective as diclofenac sodium (an analgesic) in inhibiting the activity of this enzyme.

Conclusion

Turmeric’s anti – inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic properties contribute to its anti-arthritic feature. It not only attenuates pain but attempts to curb arthritis at a molecular and genetic level.

Overall Curcumin is an ideal candidate for being developed as a commercial drug for arthritis as its reduces joint pain and swelling and also does not cause side effects as other drugs prescribed for arthritis.

 

 

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