Curcumin for pain and inflammation

Turmeric is the most popular spice in Indian cuisine and a major ingredient of curry powders. Turmeric has a long history of medicinal use, especially to treat inflammation. Curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric. Curcumin is one of the best investigated botanical constituents in the biomedical literature; it has been shown to act as a master switch by turning off the inflammatory cascade at the inflammatory enzyme level.

A study published in Alternative Medicine Review, used 100 participants divided into two groups. the first group was given the “best available treatment” and the second group was given the same treatment plus 200 mg of the curcumin formulation each day.

In this trial, positive results were obtained for all end-points evaluated. Thus, after eight months of continuous use of 1 g/day Meriva, the WOMAC score for OA symptoms decreased by more than 50 percent, while the treadmill test showed an overall three-fold increase in walking distance compared to the control group. The objective and subjective clinical outcomes were substantiated by interesting findings in the biochemical evaluation of inflammatory status and oxidative stress in patients in the treatment group. The significant decrease of all inflammatory markers measured suggests that the clinical improvements observed have a clear mechanistic basis that validates previous in vitro observations of curcumin on joint cells.

The evidence is starting to suggest a that curcumin could be a possible replacement for NSAIDS, which can have serious side effects in the long term.

  

Easing the symptoms of arthritis

46 million adults have been diagnosed with arthritis. 9% of these individuals claim arthritis limits their physical capabilities; 21 million people alone suffer from osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, the incidence of arthritis is on the rise, but there are things you can do to ease the symptoms.

Exercise can be a great way to deal with the aches and pains of arthritis. But it’s important to perform the right exercises under a doctor’s supervision.

Here are suggestions about exercising if you have arthritis, courtesy of the University of Washington School of Medicine:

  • If you have a physical or occupational therapist, he or she should participate in creating your exercise plan.
  • Your exercises should put minimal stress on your joints, especially when you first start out. Don’t overdo it.
  • Try a combination of both therapeutic (designed to help ease symptoms and improve joint function) and recreational (just for fun) exercises.
  • Use other methods to ease symptoms, such as using heating pads and ice packs, eating a healthy diet, taking medication as prescribed, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

(HealthDay News)

  

Natural remedy for arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative arthritis, can be painful and debilitating. It?s caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage. OA is the most common form of arthritis out of over 100 different types, and affects nearly 27 million people. With one third of people over 65 being diagnosed with OA, tradition treatments, as with western medicine in general, address only the symptoms. More and more people, in an effort to try and prevent as well as treat the disease, are turning to alternative methods.

Natural eggshell membrane (NEM) is an alternative dietary supplement that contains hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and glucosamine. NEM was investigated for its effects and safety for pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis of the knee in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. Sixty-seven study participants took 500 mg of NEM daily for eight weeks. They were evaluated at 10, 30 and 60 days for joint pain.

After 60 days, 32 percent of the NEM group had more than a 50 percent reduction in pain. Their stiffness also continued to get better, with an average 27 percent reduction compared to the placebo group. By the end of the trial natural eggshell membrane had reduced stiffness by half for the majority of the patients.

In a related study in which researchers evaluated the use of eggshell membrane extract in people who had joint and connective tissue disorders, 39 patients received 500 mg once daily for four weeks. After seven days, patients reported a 27.8% improvement in flexibility. After 30 days, the participants reported a 72.8% reduction in general pain, a 43.7% increase in flexibility, and a 75.9% reduction in pain associated with range of motion. As with the above study of eggshell membrane extract for osteoarthritis, the patients in this study tolerated the supplement well.

  

Exercise is not bad for the joints.

Exercise is beneficial for overall physical health and psychological well-being. However, there is a perception that exercise is potentially harmful to joints, in particular those of the lower extremities.

There is no good evidence supporting a harmful effect of regular exercise on normal joints, according to a review of studies.

Researchers reviewed existing studies on the relationship between regular exercise and osteoarthritis (OA) and concluded that in the absence of existing joint injury there is no increased risk of OA from exercise.
(Eurekalert.com 1/27/09)

  

Study shows improvement in joint pain and cartilage damage.

According to a new study, glucosamine sulfate combined with chondroitin sulfate reduced joint pain and cartilage damage in an animal model of osteoarthritis.

Researchers induced osteoarthritis in rats. They then gave the rodents either glucosamine alone, glucosamine plus chondroitin or a placebo starting 7 days prior to when the osteoarthritis was induced until 70 days into the study, when the rodents were sacrificed. Joint pain was evaluated daily using the rat-knee joint articular incapacitation test. Structural joint damage also was assessed.

The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin?but not glucosamine alone?significantly reduced joint pain compared to the controls. There was an increase in chondroitin content in the osteoarthritis group given the two nutrients compared to controls. The structural changes that occurred in the cartilage of rats with experimental osteoarthritis also were significantly prevented by administration of both the glucosamine and chondroitin.

The researchers concluded that glucosamine sulfate plus chondroitin sulfate provides analgesic and structural benefits in this animal model of arthritis. They noted that this was the first study to show that the biochemical alterations that occur along with structural damage in osteoarthritis are prevented by glucosamine/chondroitin administration.

Reference:

Silva FS Jr, Yoshinari NH, Castro RR, Gir?o VC, Pompeu MM, de Andrade Feitosa JP, Rocha FA. Combined glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate provides functional and structural benefit in the anterior cruciate ligament transection model. Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Sep 13. Published online ahead of print.

  

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