Curcumin (Turmeric) Supresses Inflammation and Pain
Unlike steriods and NSAIDs, the anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin (turmeric) is not restricted to a single factor. Curcumin may also help underlying causes of inflammation. (2, 8)
Safe COX- and COX-2 Inhibitor
Research shows curcumin acts as a scavenger of nitric oxide and inhibits COX-2, a pro-inflammatory substance. Also a potent scavenger of superoxide, the anti-inflammatory activity and superoxide scavenging property of curcumin are proven correlated. Clinically, curcumin has worked as well as cortisone or phenylbutazone for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and post-operative inflammation. (1-5)
The arachidonic acid cascade: Curcumin inhibits pain and inflammation and supports homeostasis
Curcumin inhibits pain and inflammation and supports homeostasis by selectively inhibiting the arachidonic acid cascade through both the lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase (COX) pathways (16, 17)
Curcumin has similar anti-inflammatory action as NSAIDS, but without side effects. Unlike aspirin and other classical COX-inhibitors, curcumin selectively inhibits synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandin thromboxane without affecting prostacyclin synthesis, and curcumin thereby protects against vascular thrombosis. (16-21)
COX-inhibitors and NSAIDS have dangerous side-effects; COX-2 inhibitors are required to include black-box warnings. Curcumin is safe, even at doses up to 8,000 mg per day. (10, 11)
Curcumin also inhibits COXs better than indomethacin, a currently prescribed mixed COX inhibitor. (6, 7)
A double-blind crossover study in patients with “definite” rheumatoid arthritis compared the antirheumatic activity of curcumin (1200 mg/day) with phenylbutazone, a corticosteroids drug (300 mg/day). The curcumin therapy resulted in “significant” improvements over corticosteroids. Curcumin better relieved morning stiffness and joint swelling, and improved walking time. Best of all, curcumin was well-tolerated and produced no side-effects. (2, 8)
Curcumin Supresses Systemic Inflammation Markers
Another published study found curcumin substantially suppresses systemic inflammation markers MMP-3 by 48% to 99%, and MMP-13 by 45% to 97%. Researchers concluded curcumin could be useful for reducing cartilage degradation (resorption by MMPs) in arthritis. (2 ,9)
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