Dr. Michael Greger takes a look at how Curcumin, found in Tumeric has been used effectively to help patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Turmeric is what makes curry powder yellow, and curcumin is what makes turmeric yellow. The spice turmeric is dried powdered root stalks of the turmeric plant—a member of the ginger family—from which the orangey-yellow pigment curcumin can be extracted.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disorder that causes progressive destruction of the cartilage and bone of joints. The long-term prognosis of RA is poor, with as much as 80% of patients affected becoming disabled with a reduced life expectancy.
There are lots of drugs one can take, but unfortunately they’re often associated with severe side effects including blood loss, bone loss and bone marrow suppression, and toxicity to the liver and eyes.
In a double-blind study done over 30 years ago curcumin showed significant improvement in morning stiffness, walking time, and joint swelling. It also had no side effects.
In the new study, 45 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were randomized into three groups: curcumin, the standard of care drug, or both. The primary endpoint was a reduction in disease activity as well as a reduction in joint tenderness and swelling. All three groups got better, but interestingly the curcumin groups showed the highest percentage of improvement, significantly better than those in the drug group. The findings are significant and demonstrate that curcumin alone was not only safe and effective, but surprisingly more effective in alleviating pain compared to the leading drug of choice, all without any adverse side effects. In fact, curcumin appeared protective against drug side effects, given that there were more adverse reactions in the drug group than in the combined drug and curcumin group. In contrast to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), curcumin has no gastrointestinal side effects, and may even protect the lining of the stomach.[/vc_column][/vc_row]