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Could Eating the Spice Found in Indian Cuisine Relieve Arthritis Pain?

Did you ever think that eating Indian cuisine could potentially alleviate arthritis pain? Probably not, but studies have shown that curcumin - the primary bioactive ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric - could reduce inflammation.

The latest in this line of studies examined the effects of a patented, high bioavailability curcumin on people suffering from arthritis. The results were compared the effects of diclofenac sodium, a pharmaceutical drug commonly prescribed for joint pain. The findings were published online ahead of print on March 9, 2012, in Phytotherapy Research.

The study was conducted by researchers at Baylor University Medical Center and the Nimala Medical Centre in India. They recruited 45 individuals who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and administered one of three different interventions: 1,000 mg per day of the enhanced curcumin, 100 mg per day of diclofenac sodium or a combination of the two.

After eight weeks of supplementation, all three groups reported joint health improvements on the Disease Activity Score assessment as well as reduction in tenderness and swelling of joints. However, the group that only received curcumin showed the highest percentage of improvement, and also showed reductions in markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein.

Additionally, the curcumin group reported no adverse side effects, while the diclofenac sodium group experienced a 14% dropout rate due to adverse effects over the course of the study.

Curcumin has been used in folk remedies to ease menstrual cramping, help heal wounds, and to improve the appearance of skin. Recent studies have even suggested that it may have cancer fighting properties. All of these benefits are attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.

This study utilized a curcumin that is absorbed 7 to 10 times better than normal curcumin, so adding turmeric to your daily diet probably wouldn’t provide enough to see similar results. Only a supplement with high bioavailability would be able to provide you with enough curcumin to be effective.

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