Turmeric Extract Puts Drugs For Knee Osteoarthritis To Shame

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Turmeric Extract Puts Drugs For Knee Osteoarthritis To Shame
Infographic – herbs-info.com – photos © eyewave, psdesign1 – fotolia.com

Millions of people take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. There is a need to increase awareness of available natural remedies that are possibly safer, at least as effective, easily accessible, and inexpensive. For one, despite decades of research and thousands of preclinical studies indicating the therapeutic value of turmeric, not many people are aware that the common kitchen spice can serve as a valuable alternative for a number of health conditions. [1]

Turmeric For Osteoarthritis

A recent human study published in the Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine clinically confirms the medicinal value of turmeric. Results showed that the turmeric’s curcuminoid extract can reduce inflammation in patients who suffer from knee osteoarthritis. [2]

The study was conducted by randomly dividing patients into two groups. One group was assigned to take 25 mg of diclofenac sodium three times a day for four weeks. The other group was asked to take 30 mg of the turmeric extract (curcumonoid) three times daily for the same period of time. Researchers compared the effectivity of curcuminoid extract to that of the drug diclofenac sodium in reducing the secretion of the inflammatory cycloxygenase-2 enzyme by the synovial fluid’s monocytes. [2]

An egg yolk-like liquid, synovial fluid is found within the synovial joints’ cavities. It reduces friction between the articular cartilages during movement. People who suffer from knee osteoarthritis are known to have increased secretion of the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme in their synovial fluid. [2]

Results of the study show that the turmeric’s curcuminoid extract and the NSAID drug diclofenac sodium are both capable of significantly decreasing the secretion of COX-2 enzymes. The two alternatives displayed nearly identical potency. The exact results were as follows:

In curcuminoid group the average scores were 1.84±0.37 and 1.15±0.28 respectively (p<0.001). In diclofenac group the average scores were 1.79±0.38 and 1.12±0.27 respectively (p<0.001). In curcuminoid group the decreasing score of cycloxygenase-2 secretion was 0.70±0.51 while in diclofenac group was 0.67±0.45. There was no significant difference in decreasing the score of cycloxygenase enzyme secretion between both treatment groups (p=0.89). [3]

A Safer Alternative

The study published in the Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine is not the first to confirm turmeric’s efficacy. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2010 revealed that 2,000 mg of turmeric extract works as effectively as 800 mg of ibuprofen in treating symptoms of inflammation and pain. There are hundreds more of studies that confirm the COX-2 reducing and anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric. What makes the more recent study stand out is what it reveals about the safety of choosing turmeric over pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs, which have been linked to adverse health effects, including seizure, miscarriage, and mortality. [1]

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One way to compare the relative toxicity of turmeric’s curcumin and the NSAID diclofenac sodium is by considering their Material Safety Data Sheets, which reveal detailed information on their toxicity. Results reveal that there are considerably higher chances of experiencing adverse health effects from diclofenac sodium compared to turmeric. Considering that there are 100 adverse health effects linked to the NSAID drug – and 600 beneficial effects linked to turmeric, this is not a hard choice to make in terms of risk-benefit analysis. [1]

References:

[1] GreenMedInfo. Turmeric Extract Puts Drugs For Knee Osteoarthritis To Shame. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/turmeric-extract-puts-drugs-knee-osteoarthritis-shame

[2] Acta Medica Indonesiana – The Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine. Ability of Curcuminoid Compared to Diclofenac Sodium in Reducing the Secretion of Cycloxygenase-2 Enzyme by Synovial Fluid’s Monocytes of Patients with Osteoarthritis. http://www.inaactamedica.org/archives/2012/22745140.pdf

[3] National Center for Biotechnology Information. Ability of curcuminoid compared to diclofenac sodium in reducing the secretion of cycloxygenase-2 enzyme by synovial fluid’s monocytes of patients with osteoarthritis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22745140


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