The prevalence of degenerative joint disease such as arthritis is profound, with an estimated 55 million people diagnosed each year, exhibiting some form of arthritic symptoms. While there is an assortment of conventional and interventional treatments for Osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, such as exercise, weight loss, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, there are no cures. Studies have shown that turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin, may in fact be an option for those with joint pain and arthritic symptoms, helping relieve pain and improve mobility and functional movement.
What Is Turmeric
Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is one of the most popular and effective supplements that has ever existed. Traditionally used as a spice and medicinal herb, recent research indicates clear evidence that turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties and is a strong anti-oxidant.
How Does Turmeric Work
Turmeric contains compounds with anti-inflammatory and medicinal properties called curcuminoids. The most vital compound within turmeric is its active ingredient curcumin. A large body of evidence shows that in addition to curcumin, turmeric contains over one hundred unique chemical properties that contribute to its countless therapeutic and anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin is a polyphenol (micronutrients that are packed with antioxidants) and targets multiple signaling molecules at the cellular level. Curcumin has proven to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, which can help in the management of chronic inflammation, specifically affecting the joints, thus enhancing mobility, reducing pain, and optimizing quality of life.
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Does Turmeric Help Joint Pain?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 20% off all Americans report some degree of mild to moderate knee pain due to arthritic symptoms. Curcumin is a highly active molecule that modulates the inflammatory response by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines. Evidence suggests that Turmeric provides similar analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects as some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), like ibuprofen or diclofenac.
A study published in the journal Trials investigated the efficacy of curcumin in a head-to-head randomized study against diclofenac in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA). For a period of 28 days, study participants with knee osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to receive either a curcumin 500-mg capsule three times daily or a diclofenac 50-mg tablet two times daily. At day 14 and 28 patients showed similar improvement in severity of pain as compared with diclofenac. The study concluded that Curcumin has similar efficacy to diclofenac but demonstrated better tolerance among patients with knee OA, and could be an effective alternative treatment [R].
The study revealed some very interesting facts, regarding turmeric’s efficacy as a potential treatment option for knee osteoarthritis.
- Both treatments relieved arthritic symptoms, with 94% taking curcumin and 97% taking diclofenac reporting at least 50% improvement.
- Those taking curcumin saw fewer side effects, as compared to those taking diclofenac, with 28% reporting stomach issues.
- Those taking curcumin, also lost nearly 2% of their total body weight in just four weeks.
In a compelling randomized controlled trial investigating the efficacy of curcumin against ibuprofen with patients that have knee osteoarthritis published in the Journal Of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 367 collective patients with a pain score of five or higher were administered 1,500mg of turmeric or 1,200mg of Ibuprofen per day for four weeks.
Outcomes measured were joint pain, joint stiffness, and mobility scores. The results indicated that curcumin extracts were non-inferior to ibuprofen. Both groups showed significant improvement in pain, inflammation, and mobility scores when compared to baseline.
What’s The Optimal Turmeric Dose
Studies indicate that a dose of 1200-1500mg per day, will produce analgesic and produce anti-inflammatory effects, for those that experience joint related issues.
If you’re taking Turmeric for its anti-inflammatory effects and associated benefits on joint health and mobility for athletic performance, the dosage required is between 500-1,200mg per day. For recovery purposes and to benefit post-workout muscle soreness and pain, 2g of curcumin is recommended [R].
When using Turmeric as a spice on its own, the common rule of thumb is that there are 200 milligrams of curcumin in one teaspoon of fresh ground turmeric. However, to soak up those superpowers that lie within curcumin, you’ll need to spice up your dish with black pepper to improve bioavailability.
Turmeric For Joint Pain: Takeaway
Clear evidence suggests that turmeric is highly effective and can significantly reduce joint pain in people with osteoarthritis. Knee pain and arthritis affects over 55 million people, with 24 million limited in their activities, and more than 1 in 4 adults reporting severe joint pain. When you’re searching for a turmeric supplement, it’s important to consider the dose. Swolverine’s Turmeric capsules contain 750mg of turmeric with 95% active curcuminoids and 5mg of Bioperine for optimal absorption and efficacy.
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Shep, Dhaneshwar et al. “Safety and efficacy of curcumin versus diclofenac in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized open-label parallel-arm study.” Trials vol. 20,1 214. 11 Apr. 2019, doi:10.1186/s13063-019-3327-2
Curcumin and Piperine Supplementation and Recovery Following Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage: A Randomized Controlled Trial.Delecroix B, Abaïdia AE, Leduc C, Dawson B, Dupont G J Sports Sci Med. 2017 Mar; 16(1):147-153.
Review Bioavailability of curcumin: problems and promises. Anand P, Kunnumakkara AB, Newman RA, Aggarwal BB Mol Pharm. 2007 Nov-Dec; 4(6):807-18.
Daily, James W et al. “Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.” Journal of medicinal food vol. 19,8 (2016): 717-29. doi:10.1089/jmf.2016.3705
Sciberras, Joseph N et al. “The effect of turmeric (Curcumin) supplementation on cytokine and inflammatory marker responses following 2 hours of endurance cycling.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 12,1 5. 21 Jan. 2015, doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0066-3
Hewlings, Susan J, and Douglas S Kalman. “Curcumin: A Review of Its' Effects on Human Health.” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 6,10 92. 22 Oct. 2017, doi:10.3390/foods6100092