Really, will it help me to use curcumin for rheumatoid arthritis?
Curcumin is the main active ingredient found in the spice Turmeric.
Turmeric is a spice that adds flavours and gives it the bright yellow colour.
It has been used for centuries by Ayurvedic medicine doctors to help relief inflammation common to arthritis sufferers.
Research studies show that curcumin possesses anti-inflammatory activities. Moreover, lab studies show that curcumin may actually help to stop destructive action of joint damage.
Read on to look at some of the research findings...
Curcumin has always held hope as a natural substance that can treat many major diseases in human. From extensive lab and animal studies, curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant activities.
One research paper reports that data are not plentiful when it comes to finding out the truth on the benefits of using curcumin for rheumatoid arthritis. Here's the reference to this paper:
Does turmeric relieve inflammatory conditions?
White B, Judkins DZ.
J Fam Pract. 2011 Mar;60(3):155-6. Clinical Inquiry.
The two authors reports that some of the limited scientific evidence suggests that it may be helpful in reducing the swelling in rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions.
In another paper, Hsu and Cheng reported that curcumin may be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis based on preliminary studies. They recommend better and larger designed studies to verify this benefit and get a conclusive result.
Here's the reference to this paper:
Clinical studies with curcumin.
Hsu CH, Cheng AL.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:471-80.
In another animal study, turmeric extract was shown to help prevent inflammation in rats induced with rheumatoid arthritis. The extract prepared by the researchers contains three of the most important curcuminoids found in turmeric.
Here's what they discovered. The extract was effective at preventing joint swelling if given before joint inflammation occurred. It was not effective if this extract was given after joint inflammation has set in.
Here's the reference to this animal study:
Turmeric extracts containing curcuminoids prevent experimental rheumatoid arthritis.
Funk JL, Oyarzo JN, Frye JB, et al.
J Nat Prod. 2006 Mar;69(3):351-5.
This animal study and several others clearly seem to show that curcumin does more than just act as an anti-inflammatory substance.
Indeed, other research studies show that curcuminoids can inhibit a transcription factor known as NF-KB.
This factor turns certain genes on or off. These genes control the production of proteins that cause inflammation and joint destruction.
Reducing these genes from expressing these proteins could prove to be a novel way to reduce the severity of the symptoms from rheumatism.
As more research studies are done with curcumin, it will become much clearer in the future on exactly how beneficial curcumin may turn out to be for treating various health problems such as in rheumatoid arthritis.
Since there are no clinical studies done on using curcumin for rheumatoid arthritis, an effective dose is not known.
However, it is known that dose up to 8,000 mg daily (in divided dose) does not result in much side effects. The most commonly reported side effects at high dose are nausea and diarrhea. (See Turmeric for the complete review on this herb.)
Here's what the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends. Start with around 400 mg three times daily. We then suggest slowing increasing the dose over several weeks until you see the benefits of pain relief and swelling reduction.
Thinking of taking curcumin for rheumatoid arthritis pain and swelling?
There is limited evidence that it can reduce the swelling in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
Since it does help to bring down swelling, give it a try for several months and see if you notice any benefit.
It's low cost and safe to use. If it works, great.
This way, you may be able to cut down on your rheumatoid arthritis pain medication substantially.
Always consult your family doctor to discuss using curcumin or if you intend to change any of your prescription medications.
Indeed, there are many natural remedies and herbs people use around the world for treating rheumatoid arthritis pain and inflammation.
We have created a summary outlining all the Natural Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis you may wish to try out.
Revised: April 22, 2012