Curcumin, Chronic Pain and Arthritis

Virtually all of us experience occasional joint and back pain. With luck, it goes away with time, rest and perhaps occasional ice pack. Sometimes it does not.

Each year, about 30 million of us visit a doctor complaining of joint pain. Another 40 million or so visit a doctor looking for relief from back pain. Add in 1.5 million people with rheumatiod arthritis, 6.1 million with gout, 5 million with fiberomyalgia  and 1.5 million broken bones suffered every year by people with osteoporosis  and you’ll see the magnitudee of this painful problem.

Long-term musculoskeletal pain affects your entire being. It drains your energy and contributes to chronic stress, a condition that myriad negative side effects, including obesity, metabolic disorders, heart disease and perhaps even cancer.  Chronic pain is often linked with depression. Who wouldn’t be depressed in the face of unrelenting pain.

Joint pain and back pain are most often caused by deterioration of the cartilage that cushion joints (including the space between the vertebrae, causing back pain), causing bone to rub against bone and resulting in inflammation and pain. This can be caused by an injury, but most often, it is the result of 40, 50, 60 years or more of the wear and tear on the joints.

For the most of us, our first remedy is to reach for aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. That can be a fatal mistake, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen plus a handful of prescription drugs like Celebrex, Anaprox, Feldene and Voltaren can cause serious toxicity problems that require hospitalization for as many as 200,000 Americans each year and kill over 20,000 people annually. Yet 60 million of us use them regular and doctors sill happily prescribe them. Exciting new human research confirms that curcumin is as effective as some of the most popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) arthritis drugs, including Voltaren and Celebrex, without potentially lbility and longerife-threatening side effects. A combinstion formal of BCM-95 Curcumin and a special form of the herb boswellia called BosPure was found to be more effective in pain relief and provided better mobility and longer walking times with out pain for people with knee osteoarthritis, than prescription drug celecoxib (generic form of Celebrex), the number one prescribed osteroarthritis drug. This study was just published in December of 2011 in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. NSAIDs relieve inflammation by inhibiting the activity of an inflammation-causing enzyme called  COX-2. That’s  all well and good, but they also inhibit a companion enzyme called COX-1, which protects the lining of the digestive tract and blood vessels. Therefore, without adequate COX-1, protection, you may have ulcer and leaking of the blood vessels.

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It shouldn’t surprise you that  curcumin and its formidable anti-inflammatory powers offer and effective and safe alternative to these dangerous NSAIDs . Curcumin inhibits the COX-2 enzyme but does not affect healthy levels of COX-1.

Inflammation causes pain, so if you relieve inflammtion, you relieve pain. Not only only does curcumin relieve inflammation and pain, it can actually help rebuild  worn cartilage, restoring joints to their youthful flexibility. Curcumin is also such a potent anti-oxidant  that it can actually help repair the oxidative damage caused by inflammation.

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Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham, who has conducted medical research in more than 20 countries, is sometimes called “The Indiana Jones of Natural Medicine.” He says curcumin deserves “superstar status” among healing plants.

“Medicines should heal, not hurt. They should promote life, not take it away . In part, due to disappointment with drugs, and in part due to a belief that natural remedies are safer than most pharmaceuticals, many people seek natural remedies to alleviate pain. But where do they look? Enter curcumin, a derivative of turmeric root, that literally can erase pain quickly and powerfully, without negative effects,” says Kilham. 

The research is very impressive:

Reduce inflammation: Biological indicators of inflammation were reduced by as much as 99% with curcumin, offering almost complete relief for chronic pain sufferers and providing powerful promise for prevention and treatment of other diseases caused by inflammation.

Cartilage regeneration:  Not only does curcumin help reduce the inflammation, it actually helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage (the cushions between joints) , preventing arthritis from developing or worsening, as shown by Canadian researchers. At least one study shows that curcumin can help build new cartilage cells, reversing what was once thought to be an incurable degenerative disease.

Pain relief:  An Italian study showed that people diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis were able to reduce their need for NSAIDs by 63% when they took curcumin. As a welcome side effect in this study, it was discovered that curcumin produced a 16-fold reduction in participants’ blood levels of CRP, the protein that indicates high levels of inflammation, which also predicts a high risk for heart attack.

Once again curcumin has proven to be superior to commonly used pharmaceuticals in relieving joint pain and increasing walking time among people with knee osteoarthritis. In a 2011 study published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, patients who took a 500 mg blend of BCM-95 Curcumin and BosPure boswellia twice daily had significantly better pain relief than those who took 100mg of celecoxib (generic form of Celebrex) twice a day.  The curcumin-boswellia blend equaled celecoxib in improved joint felxibility. However, Celebrex has serious negative side effects, including irregular heartbeat, depression, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, stomach and intestinal bleeding, chest pain, ulcers, severe abdominal pain, jaundice, one-sided weakness and more. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would take this drug when natural curcumin and boswellia offer better results and no side effects at all.

Rheumatoid arthritis: A landmark 2006 study from the University Of Arizonia takes the idea of inflammation a step further with the finding that curcumin might prevent rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. Another study showed that curcumin was at least as effective as one commonly prescribed  pain reliever  for rheumatoid arthritis.

The  most recent research published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in March 2012 shows that people with rheumatoid arthritis  taking 500mg of BCM-95  Curcumin twice daily had as much pain relief and improved mobility as those who received diclofenac sodium  (generic form of the drug Voltaren, a pharmaceutical commonly prescribed for people with rheumatoid arthritis) with a vastly superior safety profile. Side effects associated with Voltaren include ulcers, bleeding in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract, life threatening blood loss, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and many others. No side effects were reported in the patients who received BCM-95 Curcumin.

 CONCLUSION:  If you suffer from occasional or continuous joint pain, like most of us, you’ll discover that curcumin offers short- and long-term relief. You can find the same kind of pain relief as my sister, who has suffered from chronic back pain for decades and found relief with her first dose of curcumin.






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